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PA Clinics May See More Patients if Roe v. Wade is Overturned

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Reproductive-rights advocates fear the addition of a sixth conservative justice to the U.S. Supreme Court puts abortion rights in jeopardy. (winterbilder/Adobe Stock)
Reproductive-rights advocates fear the addition of a sixth conservative justice to the U.S. Supreme Court puts abortion rights in jeopardy. (winterbilder/Adobe Stock)
December 8, 2020

PHILADELPHIA -- Reproductive-rights advocates say if the U.S. Supreme Court weakens or overturns Roe v. Wade, more women may seek abortion services in Pennsylvania.

Lawmakers in Ohio have said they intend to limit access to abortions as much as possible, and West Virginia still has an abortion ban on the books that predates Roe v. Wade - the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says women have the right to choose whether or not to bear a child.

Seneca Joyner, manager of community organizing at the Women's Medical Fund, said if the new conservative members of the court succeed in overturning Roe, women in such states may have no other options.

"Coming across the state border to receive care provided by people that respect your choices about your life and your family will be really important to people who live in the states that border us," Joyner said.

The Women's Medical Fund provides counseling and emergency financial assistance to women living in poverty who need access to abortion services. Brandi Collins-Calhoun, senior movement engagement associate with the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, said such funds exist in many states and are playing an increasingly critical role in maintaining access to abortion services.

"They're funding the practical support for patients," Collins-Calhoun said. "They're doing their travel, their lodging and they're also doing a lot of the direct service work."

She added at least 10 states have passed so-called trigger laws - bans on most or all abortions that will automatically go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Continuing access to abortion services in Pennsylvania also could be in jeopardy. Joyner noted the Commonwealth already has more than 1,200 pages of abortion restrictions and regulations on the books.

"So, I imagine it is actually just going to get worse; which is - I know for a fact - the intention of the law both here in Pennsylvania and in the states that border us", Joyner said.

She said maintaining access to abortion services as an issue of racial and economic justice.

Disclosure: National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Immigrant Issues, Reproductive Health, Women's Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA