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Planned Parenthood Northern California stays the course after Roe v. Wade decision

Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood sign.

Abortion providers nationwide are adjusting to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade two weeks ago.

Gilda Gonzales is the chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Northern California. She said the nonprofit’s health clinics in Chico and Redding will do business as usual.

“We are staying the course. We are staying strong,” Gonzales told North State Public Radio on June 24, which is the day the ruling came down. “We are not having any disruptions in our already planned services and offerings in these two locations.”

However, the ruling could end up putting strain on Northern Californian clinics, Gonzales said.

“I’ve been telling and clarifying for Californians who think, well, you know, we’re fine, right? And, so, yes, for now. But if we begin to see a surge of patients, it may begin to impact our ability to provide Californians timely services.”

Gonzales pointed to Senate Bill 8 in Texas as an example. In September 2021, SB 8 completely banned abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, making it the first state to successfully impose a ban on abortion since Roe v. Wade. After its implementation, waves of Texans traveled to seek out-of-state abortions.

Neighboring states in Texas saw a nearly 800% increase in abortion patients, according to the Planned Parenthood Federation of North America. Oklahoma alone saw 25 times more patients with Texas zip codes than they did in 2020, the nonprofit reported.

“The surrounding states really were pushed to the brink,” Gonzales said.

Californian providers also felt the effects of SB 8. CalMatters reported in May that Planned Parenthood clinics across the state have treated at least 80 out-of-state patients per month since the Texas law went into effect. Overturning Roe v. Wade could mean even more out-of-state patients in California in the coming month, as the ruling opens the door to “trigger laws,” which are laws that immediately ban abortion in states like Oklahoma and Missouri.

The North State already faces challenges improving reproductive healthcare access, Gonzales said, including having a lack of qualified clinicians.

“That has been year over year prior to all of the circumstances that we're facing now,” Gonzales said.

Despite the hardships an influx of new patients could present, Gonzales said Planned Parenthood will continue serving local communities first.

Jamie is NSPR’s wildfire reporter and Report For America corps member. She covers all things fire, but her main focus is wildfire recovery in the North State. Before NSPR, Jamie was at UCLA, where she dabbled in college radio and briefly worked as podcast editor at the Daily Bruin.