GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – North Carolina is one of few southern states people are turning to for abortion care.
It comes after a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, which protected a woman’s right to choose for nearly 50 years.
“We’re going to continue providing care until the very last day we can,” said Amber Gavin, the vice president of advocacy and operations at A Woman’s Choice Abortion Clinic in Greensboro. “There are already so many barriers to accessing care.”
Staff at the clinic are already answering calls from thousands of miles away. Gavin said from as close as the state line in Virginia and South Carolina to as far away as Georgia, Alabama and Texas.
Some lawmakers in those states plan to tighten restrictions on abortions, leaving patients to look elsewhere. Gavin said her staff is prepared to handle the influx of new patients.
“They are really frustrated, and they’re sad that there are going to be clinic closures,” she said. “Abortion care has already been incredibly hard for folks of color, Black folks, Indigenous folks, young people, poor people to access.”
Gavin believes that lawmakers limiting access will cost patients more.
“Folks who are coming to us have to find childcare, time off from work, travel, lodging and then also the cost of the procedure,” she said.
That’s why strangers are stepping up by either donating time to drive patients or money to cover the costs.
“I know it’s a really confusing time for people,” Gavin said. “I know that we’re hearing a lot of different things in a lot of states, but abortion is still very much legal here in North Carolina…people can get the abortion care if that’s what they want.”
Gavin said she is cautiously optimistic access to abortion will remain in the state.
There are protections in place at the clinics.
“There are anti-abortion protestors that do intimidate, harass our patients and our staff as they are heading to the clinic,” Gavin said. “We take this very seriously. We obviously do have safety precautions and measures in place.”
A representative from Planned Parenthood said they expect appointments to increase and are preparing for any rush.
The executive director of Your Choices Randolph said there’s been a 20-30% increase in their services after the ruling.