Abortion: Influx of Patients Begins in “Sanctuary” States

Abortion : Influx of patients begins in “sanctuary”states

The overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision could have serious consequences for the health of American women.< /p>

Now that abortion is banned or severely restricted in a dozen states, Michigan, where abortion is still permitted, is already seeing patients from neighboring states flocking to pregnancy termination clinics.

Renee Chelian frowns, visibly worried. She asks her assistant if they will have enough medical supplies for the patients from Ohio, who are already starting to flock to her clinic.

It's in a shopping center in the suburbs of Detroit, near a T-Mobile, that is the clinic Northland Family Planning. From the outside, the building doesn't look like much. But inside, we discover a small museum that traces the contemporary history of abortion in the United States.

It's from the days of Bush Sr., Renee said, pointing a pin at a wall full of memorabilia. Black and white photos of her, election signs, feminist slogans: these memories trace the course of her activist life – a vocation that began in spite of herself.

Renee Chelian owns three abortion clinics in the Detroit area. She has been active in the pro-choice movement for decades.

I had an illegal abortion when I was 15, she says. It was 1966 and the procedure was still illegal in Michigan. René explains that she was blindfolded and got into a car. When the blindfold was removed, the teenager found herself in an abandoned warehouse, surrounded by other women there for the same reason.

Renee kept this secret for 20 years . When she opened her first abortion clinic, she wanted the place to be clean and beautiful. Quite the opposite of his experience.

“To think that we are going back to this breaks my heart.

— Renee Chelian, owner of Northland Family Planning Clinics

For the activist, the Supreme Court setback was a real slap in the face. But she has no time to be angry, she repeats. Always with a warm smile, but a firm tone.

As soon as the decision fell, Renee promised herself to try to save Michigan, where an injunction currently protects the right to abortion. This Midwestern state has quickly become a destination for those who need an abortion but live in a state where it is prohibited.

Renee openly supports the Democrats. However, she regrets that the party has “waited too long” to protect the right to abortion.

My friend in Texas had to close all her clinics, my friend in North Dakota has 30 days to close hers, she laments. It makes me sick to think that half of the United States will be abortion deserts and the other half will have to take over the entire country.

To cope to this increase in demand, the three Northland Family Planning clinics – which perform approximately 9,000 abortions a year – will have to adjust. Renee will be hiring new doctors and is even considering opening a new clinic.

“It's going to take a few weeks to really grasp the magnitude of it all.

— Renee Chelian, owner of Northland Family Planning Clinics

Dr. Lisa Harris also saw an immediate influx of new patients.

A few hours after the Supreme Court's decision, I already had colleagues in other states asking me if I could manage one of their patients, says the gynecologist at the University of Michigan Hospital. /p>

“Can we handle all the patients in Ohio, Indiana, maybe even Wisconsin? and Missouri? Probably not.

— Dr. Lisa Harris, gynecologist and professor at the University of Michigan

Saddened by the Supreme Court's decision, Dr. Harris knows that marginalized patients are those who will suffer the most.

Originally from Ottawa, gynecologist Lisa Harris moved to the United States to study medicine. She specializes in obstetrics and gynecology.

Women of color, and especially black women, will suffer the greatest impact, she explains. For those who cannot afford to travel to another state, the only solution will be to give birth or try to abort yourself.

Pro-choice organizations have already announced fundraising campaigns to help women who need abortions get to a sanctuary state.

Northland Family Planning will also offer support financial, but Renee Chelian is the first to admit that not all women will be able to access it. Some of our customers don't have ID, they don't have a credit card to order an Uber, she illustrates

The influx of patients who need an abortion could go beyond the borders of the United States. In Ontario and Manitoba, organizations expect to see an increase in American patients – especially since the Trudeau government has already opened its arms to them.

In Windsor, Canadians are already mobilizing to help these women. The artistic director of the Waawiiyaatanong Feminist Theater in Windsor is one of them.

Patricia Fell did not wait to offer direct assistance to American women who could cross the border to obtain an abortion.

In her backyard, a tiny log house . One room, with a loft, and a queen bed. Small, but just big enough to accommodate a family.

The cabin will still need to be fitted out to accommodate its first occupants, but it should be able to be functional both in winter than summer.

We wondered what we would need if we were in the same situation. And accommodation costs are probably a barrier for many women, says Patricia Fell.

“We want to do everything we can to make sure they have a choice. »

—  Patricia Fell, Artistic Director of the Waawiiyaatanong Feminist Theater

I do not believe that Canada has the hospital capacity to meet the needs, nuance however Renee Chelian, who thanks Canadian women for their generosity.

For Renee, like many pro-choice activists, sanctuary states are not a long-term solution. The only solution, she says, is to reinstate Roe against Wade.

I've been fighting for 50 years, this is the fight of my life, and I hate to think I'm going to die without abortion rights guaranteed across the United States- United, deplores the one who promises to continue to fight for her daughters and granddaughters.

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