The building houses one of Oklahoma’s four abortion clinics, and at least two-thirds of its scheduled patients now come from Texas. So many, in fact, that it is trying to hire more staff members and doctors to keep up. The increase is the result of a new law in Texas banning abortions after about six weeks, a very early stage of pregnancy. As soon as the measure took effect this month, Texans started traveling elsewhere, and Oklahoma, close to Dallas, has become a major destination.
“We had every line lit up for eight hours straight,” said Jennifer Reince, who works the front desk phones at the clinic, Trust Women Oklahoma City, describing the first week the measure was in force.
The effects of the new law have been profound: Texans with unwanted pregnancies have been forced to make decisions quickly, and some have opted to travel long distances for abortions. As clinics in surrounding states fill up, appointments are being scheduled for later dates, making the procedures more costly. Other women are having to carry their pregnancies to term.
Marva Sadler, senior director of clinic services at Whole Woman’s Health, which operates four clinics in Texas, said she believed that many patients were not able to arrange child care or take time off work without losing their jobs to travel to other states.
“I think a majority of women are being sentenced to being parents,” she said.