Las Vegas is apparently becoming the destination of choice for many women looking to get an abortion and who cannot get the procedure in their home states. Nevada clinics also report higher patient volume since a ground-breaking US Supreme Court ruling.
The trend could lead to a “tidal wave” of patients coming to the state seeking an abortion, health professionals predicted this week. It comes after the Supreme Court last month overturned the precedent-setting — but controversial — Roe vs. Wade ruling.
The new ruling in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, leaves it up to individual states whether to restrict or ban abortions. Several states are putting restrictions in place.
Nevada, as of now, is likely to continue to allow abortions. Nevada permits abortions up to the 24th week of pregnancy. Later abortions can take place if a mother’s health is at risk.
Among Nevada’s abortion providers is the A-Z Women’s Center. It has clinics in Las Vegas, Oregon and Washington State.
But more out-of-state patients seeking the procedure are choosing Las Vegas among the locations, KVVU, a Las Vegas TV station, reported. Las Vegas is also getting the most phone calls from interested patients among the clinic sites.
Affordable Flights, Hotels
Dr. Charles Browne, who reportedly owns the clinics, speculated to KVVU that Las Vegas is a preference because of its relatively affordable flights and hotel rooms. He adds that each clinic in his multi-state operation has seen more patients after last month’s Supreme Court ruling.
We’ve seen at least conservatively, 25 to realistically, 30%, a surge really, in patients that we see from outside the state,” Browne recently told KVVU.
One patient traveled from as far as Alabama. Others reside in Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah, the report said.
In addition, Dr. Adam Levy of Las Vegas’ Birth Control Care Center and director of the division of family planning at the UNLV School of Medicine Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, said patients seeking abortions are traveling to Nevada from as far as Kentucky, the Nevada Current reported.
Right now, the volume is not excessive at this point, but we are expecting a literal tidal wave of patients needing care,” Levy told a Nevada panel discussion on Monday, the Current reported.
That could lead to delays in getting appointments not just for abortions, but for other women’s health issues, he said. The delays also may mean women are carrying a fetus longer into a pregnancy, the report said.
Nevada may see a 63% jump in patients traveling to the state for abortions, US Rep. Susie Lee, D, said during this week’s panel discussion. In 2017, Nevada saw close to 9,700 abortions, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute.
We have half the country coming our way,” Levy added. “Anyone who says otherwise has their head in the sand.”
Following the Supreme Court decision, Las Vegas residents from both sides of the abortion debate came out during public rallies.
Among those attending a pro-life rally was Carolyn Schoen, 76, of Las Vegas. She wants Nevada to make it more difficult to get an abortion.
“I’m hoping that the people of Nevada will change our laws, because it seems like it’s in our constitution that we’re an abortion safe state and they don’t want to put any restrictions on it,” Schoen told the crowd, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I’m hoping it changes legally.”
But at a recent pro-choice rally, Kimberly Argueta, told KVVU that she had an abortion when she got pregnant during an abusive relationship.
“It is just scary, scary time to live in. We are women. We fought so long for our rights and to just go backwards in time, it’s just horrible,” Argueta added.
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