Many out-of-state women seeking abortions likely to come to Los Angeles, study says

Denise Dador Image
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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After the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, more women are likely to come to California - and especially Los Angeles County - seeking abortions, researchers say.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe vs Wade is expected to have a major impact in California, even though abortion is legal in this state.

At rallies across Los Angeles, women say the Supreme Court ruling will impact all women, even those who live in states where abortion care is provided.

"I'm an ER nurse. So personally, I'm devastated for the patients that I care for that I already know have trouble accessing this care," said abortion rights supporter Becca Waite.

When Texas passed a law banning abortions as early as six weeks, ob-gyn assistant professor Dr. Brian Nguyen with USC's Keck School of Medicine said he started to see a steady increase in out-of-state women seeking abortions.

"There is a group of us who have convened to plan for the influx that we're gonna see in California," he said.

"Anywhere between 8,000 to 16,000 people will come to California for abortion care every year," said Cathren Cohen, a legal scholar with the UCLA Center on Reproductive Health, Law and Policy.

A study from the UCLA Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy finds potentially more than half of those, up to 9,400, will come to Los Angeles County.

Abortion pills, already used in more than half of recent abortions, are becoming even more sought-after following the Supreme Court ruling. Cohen expects to see them at the center of many legal battles.

"Unfortunately, I think we'll also see a reaction to that by anti-choice states trying to prohibit abortion pills from being used," she said.

With the overturn of Roe vs. Wade, researchers project an increase of more than 150,000 live births including 17,000 more preterm births and a rise in maternal mortality nationwide.

"If individuals cannot access abortion easily trying to find another provider will take time and every single week that goes on, in which an individual is waiting for an abortion, the abortion becomes a little bit more risky."

It's important to note that in 40% of California counties, women don't have reasonable access to abortion services. Experts predict a majority of these women, many of whom are poor and uninsured, may now be joining an influx of others seeking care.