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US: Minnesota abortion clinic braces for tide of out-of-staters


DULUTH: On the top floor of a modest two-story brick building near the shores of Lake Superior, north executive MinnesotaThe abortion clinic’s only abortion clinic moves from room to room, examining patients, taking calls from appointment seekers, and handling billing inquiries from those struggling in paying.
In the waiting room at the WE Health Clinic in Duluth, patients from Wisconsin and Texas sit among the Minnesotans – the leading edge of the expected increase in the following out-of-state patients Supreme Courtabolish federal abortion rights.
“It’s been really busy,” Laurie Casey, the executive director, said. “We’re trying to be as flexible as possible, especially with people coming from the state. A lot of our patients – even if they’re from Minnesota – take one to three hours each way to get in. here. So we try to be as accommodating as possible.”
Even before Roe’s lawsuit against Wade was reversed, WE Health Clinic was the closest provider of abortion services to some people in northern Wisconsin, northern Minnesota, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Today, clinic staff are acutely aware of their state’s condition as an island for legal abortion in the Upper Midwest. Abortion is currently illegal or treated as such in Wisconsin and South Dakota. North Dakota is expected to sue by the end of July, and the Republican governor of Iowa is asking state courts to severely limit the process.
The clinic raised the patient limit from 16 to 20 on a weekday when abortions are usually performed. Its staff tries to schedule abortions on other days as needed, and may spend an extra half or full day each week on abortion services.
“We haven’t surpassed our ability to serve patients yet. And we’re working on effectiveness so we’ll be ready if we end up with a large number of patients,” Dr. Judith said. Johnsonone in three doctors who provide clinic abortions.
Johnson said mounting pressure began months before the Supreme Court’s decision, with requests from people in Texas and Oklahoma that have introduced very restrictive abortion bans.
The extra patient load at WE Medical Clinics includes those who have struggled to get appointments quickly at several clinics in the Minneapolis area, home to five of the state’s seven abortion clinics , by decision of the Supreme Court. Saturday clinic in Rochester.
“The number of patients we serve has increased, and the places they go are getting further and further away,” Johnson said.
And the clinic can’t help everyone who calls.
Cassidy Thompson, a patient educator and coordinator of the clinic’s volunteer patient escort program, recounted a call from an Oklahoma woman who was “crying to me on the phone, saying: ‘Can’t you help me? There’s no other clinic that can accept me right now.” “The patient had hoped a teleconference would allow her to stay in Oklahoma and still be in the clinic. drug abortion.
However, state law requires patients to have a mailing address in Minnesota and to be in Minnesota when speaking with a doctor.
“My whole professional purpose is to provide health care to people who have abortions. And to tell someone we can’t legally help them with anything,” Thompson said. they’re stuck with forced pregnancy… purely a power shift,” Thompson said. “If it was a Minnesota resident, we could have given them an abortion, no problem.”
Most Minnesota patients at the clinic qualify for low-income assistance to help with the cost of the abortion, but it doesn’t cover the full cost of the procedure. Casey estimates that the clinic lost more than $60,000 last year serving medically assisted patients, a shortfall that the clinic must cover through fundraising.
“A lot of doctors’ offices question the amount of medical support patients can see, but we don’t because we really want to give it to those who need it most,” says Paulina. Briggslaboratory supervisor and a patient educator at the clinic.
But out-of-state patients are not eligible for Minnesota’s medical assistance program. The clinic also does not help out-of-province patients with travel expenses; Casey said. All of these contribute to financial stress for those traveling through state lines for abortion care.
“It’s really sad to think about those people,” Briggs said. “Where they live will determine the type of care they will get. And those who need it most will have the hardest time accessing it.”
Briggs said the phone “goes crazy” with calls from people – including nurses, physician assistants and lawyers – wanting to volunteer, help or donate to the clinic, which also offers a range of services. non-abortion services such as birth control and breast. and cervical cancer screening.
“The big challenge right now is just financial stability, making sure we have the financial resources to keep the clinic running,” Casey said. “It’s really sad when I started here in 1981, we didn’t have that many restrictive laws. And now we’ve gone backwards.”





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