“There’s a lot of shock and disbelief from patients, reacting like, ‘What do you mean I’ve got to go out of state?’ ‘That’s crazy, I can’t afford to take off work, I can’t leave my kids that long, how am I supposed to do that?’” Gallegos said.
Patients are angry, Voellinger said. “I’ve had two staff people tell me they got off the phone with a patient who was like, ‘Well, what am I supposed to do? Kill myself?’
“People are exasperated and don’t know what to do,” she added.
In the clinics, the shift has been stark. Right up until the six-week ban took effect, appointments had been booked solid, the waiting rooms full of Texans and Oklahomans. Abortion appointments were booked two to three weeks out.
That has changed since last week. But in the days after the six-week ban took effect, the Tulsa Women’s Clinic performed abortions for eight patients, and then 10 the next day. That represented about half the people who came in for abortions, Gallegos said. The rest thought they were within six weeks of pregnancy, but learned at the clinic they were too far along. On the third day after the ban, 20 patients – two-thirds of the people who had booked an appointment – were able to get the abortions they had sought.