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Planned Parenthood of Northern New England reports recent uptick in out-of-state abortion patients

At the rally protesting the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in Manchester, some in attendance grew emotional at times. Others chanted, "We will not sit down quietly." (Gaby Lozada/NHPR)
At the rally protesting the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in Manchester, some in attendance grew emotional at times. Others chanted, "We will not sit down quietly." (Gaby Lozada/NHPR)

Staff at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England are reporting a spike in appointments for contraceptives and an uptick in out-of-state abortion patients following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and end the constitutional right to abortion.

Since Roe fell on Friday, a handful of patients from states like South Dakota and Louisiana, where the procedure is now illegal, have scheduled abortions in northern New England.

Abortions remain legal in New Hampshire up to 24 weeks, and past that in a few circumstances.

Dr. Andrea Pelletier is an abortion provider and the medical director at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, which has clinics in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

“The majority of our patients are local patients,” she said, “but it's definitely an uptick.”

But in this new post-Roe America, Pelletier is expecting that uptick to become a longer term trend. She expects these patients will be seeking abortions later in pregnancy than the typical New England patient due to access barriers, which has her looking to hire more providers who can perform abortions later in gestational age.

“We’re trying to hire the right people with the right skills to do some of the procedures that we may have had to refer out [to other clinics] before,” she said.

As of Tuesday evening, the reproductive health provider had also booked 117 appointments for long term reversible contraceptives, like IUDs and even a few vasectomies.

Kayla Montgomery, vice president of public affairs at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, said that's a significant increase from their normal volume, but not wholly unprecedented.

“We were expecting this,” she said. “This is an uptick that we saw right after Trump got elected.”

The rush on a variety of contraceptives is happening across the country, including in pharmacies, and on Amazon, where the online retailer set a limit on purchases of Plan B pills this week.

The decision to overturn Roe v. Wade did not directly impact the right to contraception. But a concurring opinion from conservative Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the court should revisit other previously decided landmark cases, like those related to contraception and same-sex marriage.

This story is a production of New England News Collaborative. It was originally published by New Hampshire Public Radio. 

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