Washington abortion numbers: Patients traveling from Idaho surge

Jun 28, 2023, 10:02 AM | Updated: 10:33 am

abortion traveling idaho...

FILE - Thousands of protesters march around the Arizona Capitol after the Supreme Court decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision Friday, June 24, 2022, in Phoenix. Gov. Katie Hobbs on Friday, June 23, 2023 signed a sweeping executive order to protect anyone involved with a legally obtained abortion from prosecution. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

A little over a year after the Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization ruling, new numbers show that out-of-state abortions in Washington in 2023 have risen by 36% from last year.

According to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), a big part of the jump is the restrictions on abortions in other states, particularly Idaho. According to Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, the number of abortion patients traveling from neighboring Idaho has risen by 56%.

From the governor’s office: Gov. Inslee signs bills protecting gender-affirming care, abortion rights

Dr. Mollie Nisen, a Washington State family physician and abortion provider, said that these patients are making long trips for a relatively simple procedure.

“People coming from as far as a seven-hour plane ride to get a five-minute procedure is what we’re looking at right now,” Nisen said.

Most of the clinics that have seen an increase are located in eastern and central Washington. One Planned Parenthood clinic in Sunnyside saw just one abortion patient between January and May of 2022. In that same period of 2023, they had 23.

Similarly, the clinic in Kennewick went from having two patients in that period to 91.

Dr. Sarah Prager, a professor and clinician at the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said that those traveling from out of state are more likely to be further along in their pregnancies, causing an increase in procedures done for later-stage abortions.

“We have seen an increase in the gestational ages at which patients need abortion procedures,” said Dr. Prager, who is also the director of the Family Planning Division and Family Planning Fellowship. “This is usually due to increased barriers in getting care, especially if coming from another state.”

More from Olympia: Washington working residents to start paying into long-term care tax

At UW Medicine, doctors reported “a tenfold increase in the number of people requesting sterilization procedures,” according to Cantwell’s office, as well as an uptick in patients looking to have contraceptive measures like IUDs removed and replaced.

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Washington abortion numbers: Patients traveling from Idaho surge