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Minnesota abortion clinics prepare for more patients now that Roe v. Wade is overturned

How MN abortion providers are preparing for possible influx
How MN abortion providers are preparing for possible influx 02:54

MINNEAPOLIS -- When Whole Woman's Health opened in Bloomington in February, the group highlighted its proximity to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

That was before Roe v. Wade drastically changed where there is access to abortion in America. Now the clinic says it plans to expand its services in Minnesota, where abortion is still legal because of a state Supreme Court ruling from 27 years ago.

"We have been increasing our staff and our physicians and our appointment availability in Minnesota," said Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman's Health, which operates clinics in Texas, Indiana, Virginia and Maryland, and offers telehealth in Illinois and New Mexico.

There are seven clinics in Minnesota providing abortion, in addition to telehealth services, in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Brooklyn Park, Bloomington, Robbinsdale and Duluth. Planned Parenthood is the largest provider.

WE Health Clinic in Duluth is the only one north of the Twin Cities. It sees 12 to 14 patients per week seeking abortions and hopes to increase the number of days when it will offer the procedure.

Laurie Casey, executive director of the clinic, said that since the decision from the Supreme Court came down Friday, people have called from out of state inquiring about access now that abortion is illegal in their states.

"I do think right now only providing abortions one day a week will be insufficient, especially if we start seeing patients traveling to our clinic from out of state," Casey said.

Planned Parenthood North Central States, which is the largest abortion provider in the state, still predicts a 25% increase of patients seeking abortions in Minnesota from out of state. The group added more appointments and expanded access to medication abortion by mail in the spring to prepare for the highest court's undoing of Roe, said Emily Bisek, vice president of communications.


Planned Parenthood estimates residents of neighboring states will drive to Minnesota for access, but it's hard to measure where other people will travel from nationwide. The impact to Minnesota will become more clear in the coming weeks, she said.

"The first domino has fallen with a huge thud, but the rest will be 'tick, tick, tick,'" Bisek said of more efforts in other states to ban or seriously restrict abortion.

Anyone seeking an abortion in Minnesota, whether they live here or not, is subject to a 24-hour waiting period and a required disclosure of certain information included the Woman's Right to Know Act, a law that pro-abortion rights groups cast as restrictive but groups opposing abortion support. There's also a parental notification law that requires parents or guardians to know before an abortion is performed.

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life told WCCO last week that all of those measures are "protections help support and empower pregnant women in Minnesota."

Minnesota is one of the few states in the region where there is access. South Dakota's trigger ban law is now in effect. Roe's reversal reinstated a 173-year-old ban in Wisconsin.

North Dakota's attorney general is reviewing the state's trigger ban there.

Meanwhile, Iowa has a GOP-controlled legislature poised to restrict the procedure, after the state Supreme Court also ruled that the state constitution doesn't guarantee a right to an abortion, according to The Des Moines Register.

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