The Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the right to an abortion last year sparked a frenzy of activity in blue states, which have long been strongholds of reproductive rights.
Democratic legislators gleefully hailed the support for abortion care in their states, from New York to California, and presented plans to handle the anticipated rise in out-of-state patients.
Many of these initiatives have not started one year after the Dobbs ruling. Leading liberal states like New York and California also had some rises in the number of abortions, but Florida greatly outpaced them in terms of the number of abortions due to its proximity to states with strong abortion laws.
The number of abortions increased most after Dobbs in the Republican-controlled state, where Governor Ron DeSantis’ six-week abortion ban is still being challenged in court.
However, abortion doctors in those coastal blue states anticipate that major expenditures in reproductive health care undertaken in response to the verdict will have a greater impact in the years to come.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” said Jessica Pinckney, CEO of ACCESS Reproductive Justice, a group in California that assists people with the additional costs of abortion, such as travel and hotel. “I do feel like we’re strongly on the right path,” she said in an interview. “It took decades to dismantle Roe, and building the highest quality access here in the state will take some time.”
States with the biggest increases in the total number of abortions performed by doctors in the nine months following Dobbs, compared to the two months before the decision was made, according to data obtained by the Society of Family Planning, a nonprofit organization that promotes access to abortion, were rated.
The state figure is incomplete, and the nonprofit’s experts warn that it occasionally includes their own estimations. It is also unclear how much of the surge was brought on by patients from outside the state.
Florida came in first, with 12,460 more abortions performed in the months after the ruling than in the two preceding months. New York ranked 13th with 2,320 abortions while California came in fifth with 4,260 more. Contrary to the two months prior to the announcement of the decision in Dobbs, Florida witnessed a 26 percent increase in abortions, California saw a 4 percent increase, and New York saw a 0.6 percent increase.
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While Florida, with its majority Republican state legislature and Republican governor, did nothing to promote abortion care, California and New York made significant financial contributions.
Due to its proximity to states that have restrictions, North Carolina also experienced a rise similar to that of Florida. While the Democratic governor of North Carolina has utilized his executive authority to strengthen clinic safety procedures, the majority Republican legislature is reluctant to enacting the same pro-abortion regulations as those in bluer states.
In the past year, California’s state government invested $200 million in reproductive health care. The budget included $20 million to increase services in Los Angeles and turn it into a hub for people seeking abortions who are traveling from out-of-state. A portion of that money will be used to construct two new facilities, one of which will offer abortions throughout all three trimesters and which is scheduled to operate the following year.
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