In some states, the strain is concentrated in specific clinics near states with bans. Most Illinois clinics have not yet seen increased wait times. But Dr. Erin King, the executive director for the Hope Clinic for Women near the Missouri border, said wait times there grew to around three weeks — from one or two days — immediately after Roe was overturned. And the clinic has been forced to turn away patients.
“Long term, we can’t all be working 12- or 13-hour days every week,” she said. “We’re all really tired. We’re trying to add new staff, and we’re trying to be mindful that this is a long haul — years, at least.”
The Planned Parenthood affiliate that operates abortion clinics in Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota expects a 25 percent increase in patients once more bans go into effect, but so far wait times for abortions are the same as they were before Roe was overturned: around three weeks.
In states like these, wait times have always been longer than elsewhere in the country, because many doctors work part-time, and some fly in from other states. When the doctor at the Planned Parenthood in Lincoln, Neb., retired in June, the clinic had to pause services temporarily while it found and credentialed new providers, just as travel from other states increased.
“This is a problem that predates Dobbs,” said Emily Bisek, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman for the region, referring to the Supreme Court case that resulted in the overturning of Roe. “It is historically difficult to hire physicians in red states like Nebraska, and with the uncertainty about what’s going to happen, we think it may be harder.”
Adrienne Mansanares, the chief executive of the Planned Parenthood affiliate in New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado, said her organization had planned for the surge, yet it was still struggling to meet demand in New Mexico, and she worried about the future in Colorado if more states imposed bans.