Author: Daisy Caballero (KGW)
PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — In response to Idaho’s near-total abortion ban, Governor Kate Brown held a press conference on Thursday at a Planned Parenthood in Southeast Portland.
Governor Brown was accompanied by Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette President Anne Udall, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, Oregon Representative Andrea Valderrama and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon Executive Director An Do.
Udall said that Planned Parenthood has seen an influx of Idaho patients who are now being forced to turn elsewhere.
“With the help of the Oregon legislature we are truly leading the country in terms of ensuring that people have access to the full complement of reproductive health services,” said Gov. Brown. “We passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act a few years ago and it ensures that everyone regardless of their ZIP code, regardless of their income and regardless of their immigration status have access to the full complement of reproductive health services.”
Governor Brown said that Oregon was the first state to set aside funds to help those living out of state access abortion services. It’s $15 million, which includes help with travel expenses.
“We are here,” said Udall. “We will remain open and we will not let anyone down. Care no matter what. We will not let anyone down.”
Udall said that the Planned Parenthood in Bend has seen an increase in out-of-state patients — nearly all of them from red states, including Idaho.
“We’ve been planning for over a year,” said Udall.
She said that one of their recent patients forked out $1,200 for a taxi in order to travel from Boise to Bend, adding that they expect to see this happen more and more.
“The story is an important one because it illustrates one, what people will do to get care and two, we’re going to see this pattern,” said Udall.
Planned Parenthood has hired more staff, including clinicians, and has strengthened a telehealth program as they expect higher demand.
The ban doesn’t only impact those living in Idaho, the speakers underlined at Thursday’s press conference. Udall said that those living across the border in Eastern Oregon have also lost access to their closest clinic and will have to travel further to reach the nearest operational clinic, which is in Bend.