Abortion clinic in Charlotte preparing for influx in patients from other states after Roe v. Wade overturned
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As state leaders across the United States roll back protections on abortion, the right to choose will remain in place in North Carolina under Governor Roy Cooper’s leadership.
But as nearby states like South Carolina could see restricted access soon, abortion clinics in Charlotte are now inundated with phone calls.
“We’ve seen an influx of callers seeing if they can still access care, folks are really concerned about if they can keep their appointments,” Amber Gavin, the VP of Operations for A Woman’s Choice, told WBTV.
A Woman’s Choice of Charlotte offers appointments for first and second-trimester abortion care, miscarriage management and pregnancy testing.
Gavin says they are assuring women that their appointments still stand and preparing for an influx in patients.
“We’ve been actively hiring more staff, we’ve been reaching out to doctors in other states to see if they can get their medical license in North Carolina, we’ve been applying for grants to make sure we have the room and space to accommodate patients coming from out of state,” she said.
Something that could go into effect in North Carolina is a ban on nearly all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Republican legislative leaders sent a letter to Attorney General Josh Stein on Friday requesting that his office enforce this state law after a federal judge struck it down in 2019.
According to legal analysis from Stein’s office, “In 2019, in the case of Bryant v. Woodall, a federal court in North Carolina extended the right to obtain an abortion beyond the 20-week deadline set forth in the statute, through the point of viability. The court permanently enjoined restrictions on access to abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy “to the extent that the [statute’s ban on post-20-week abortions] prohibits any pre-viability abortions. The ruling in Bryant v. Woodall was based on the teachings of Roe v. Wade and its progeny. As a result, the impact of Dobbs on Bryant v. Woodall’s ruling that currently allows for abortions after 20 weeks but before the point of viability will need to be determined. However, in North Carolina, even with Roe v. Wade overturned, abortions prior to 20 weeks, as well as abortions that are medically necessary, will remain legal unless the General Assembly changes the statutes and the Governor either signs the new provisions into law, or a gubernatorial veto is overridden.”
A spokesperson for Attorney General Stein told WBTV that “Attorney General Stein has recused himself from the Bryant case. It’s being handled by professional DOJ staff who are continuing to review the Supreme Court’s decision as it relates to ongoing litigation.”
But even if that 20-week limit was restored, Gavin says that wouldn’t change much at clinics like this one in Charlotte.
“Our clinics currently only go to 19 weeks 6 days so we would already be in adherence of that,” she said.
Another clinic in Charlotte, A Preferred Women’s Health Center, also does not offer abortions past 20 weeks.
According to 2020 data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, roughly 30,000 abortions were performed in the state that year, and roughly 25,000 were North Carolina residents.
Gavin expects the number of out-of-state residents traveling here for abortions to go up substantially.
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