AZ abortion providers send patients across state lines as legal battle continues

Published: Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 11:21am
Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 1:09pm
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A Superior Court judge’s ruling last month effectively outlawed most abortions in Arizona. Now, some Arizona providers are now looking for ways to get their patients services in other states.

In the week-and-a-half since the ruling, Camelback Family Planning in Phoenix has had to cancel dozens of appointments for patients seeking abortions.

“It’s an awful feeling," Dr. Gabrielle Goodrick, with Camelback Family Planning, told KJZZ News. "Patients are upset. They’re confused, angry and scared about what they’re going to do. This isn’t changing their minds, they’re just going to seek care outside of the state, or with self-managed abortion.” 

Goodrick said she has already treated one 20-year-old patient who had tried to self-manage an abortion with pills she obtained from another state, but who experienced dangerously heavy bleeding after using them. Goodrick said situations like that worry her.

“Every day that the people of Arizona don’t have access to bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom is a day that is a day that these patients will suffer or die," Goodrick said. 

Goodrick said her clinic is now connecting patients with doctors in California who will prescribe abortion pills via telemedicine appointments. Patients can then pick up the medications in a town just over the state line.

“We’re hoping patients can pick up their medicines there, do them in California, and then come back and we will handle any after-care that they may need," Goodrick said.

The state’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood Arizona, also reports it is using patient navigators to connect pregnant Arizonans with clinics in other states.

Lawyers for Planned Parenthood Arizona are also appealing the recent court decision in hopes that a higher court will allow some abortions in Arizona. They are asking the appeals court to stay the superior court judge's ruling, so that providers can resume abortions in the meantime as the case works its way through court.

“In the event that that doesn’t happen, we’ll continue to live in chaos and devastation of being forced to help patients get out of state to get the care that they need,” Brittany Fonteno, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, told KJZZ News. 

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