ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Following Friday’s SCOTUS decision striking down Roe v. Wade, Capital Region pregnancy centers are strapping in for the inevitable influx of people traveling far from home in search of abortion protections.
“We are working on expanding our schedules by hiring more people and getting more people trained so that we can provide services to whoever needs us,” says Chelly Hegan, president, and CEO of the Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood.
“We will be expanding hours in our a Hudson Health Center so that facility which has been open four days a week over the last couple of years will be open five days a week by the end of the year,” she further explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
Hegan says while SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade doesn’t affect New Yorkers’ abortion rights, which are codified under the 2019 Reproductive Health Act, it may have a ripple effect on availability.
“The people who are coming in from out of state will displace the people who would normally have available appointments in one area. So say, people from Ohio go to Buffalo. Those locals who cannot then get those appointments will go to Rochester and so on, further and further. That’s where I believe the Capital Region will fall under in this crisis,” Hegan predicts.
Meanwhile, anti-abortion centers like CompassCare hope to jump on the demand and redirect women to their alternative. The faith-based company says Friday’s news now have them speeding up plans to open their Albany location.
“Abortion appointments are being canceled all across the country as we speak. We’re hoping to be able to serve more women with ethical medical care and comprehensive community support. There is no shortage of abortion in New York,” says CompassCare CEO Jim Harden.
“We are absolutely ramping up and we hope to close on a location there shortly,” he says.
New York’s current laws on the books also don’t protect out-of-state patients from repercussions once they return home.
“There are laws that would criminalize women for traveling out of state for the abortion services that they need and the decisions that they make for their families,” explains NYCLU Capitol Region Director Melanie Trimble. “There is also a necessity to protect pregnancy outcomes. For instance, there are some states that would like to see women criminalized for miscarriage in certain circumstances.”
Both sides of the abortion debate say they’ll be taking their fight to lawmakers to solidify or knock down protections for patients in and out of state.
“While we have statutory rights to abortion, we would like to see constitutional rights that ensure we extend those rights legislatively so they cannot be changed in the future,” says Trimble.
“It is my hope that the debate will begin and that there will be mutual respect given to people who disagree with the political elite,” argues Harden.