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As surrounding states restrict access, more women travel to Colorado for abortions

Long before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, patients have been traveling from Wyoming to Planned Parenthood in Greeley for reproductive healthcare.
Odaliz Gaytan
/
KUNC
Long before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, patients have been traveling from Wyoming to Planned Parenthood in Greeley for reproductive healthcare.

Colorado is experiencing a significant increase in women traveling here for abortion services following the tightening of restrictions in nearby states and the Supreme Court’s ruling from this past summer.

In the first nine months of this 2022, 2,477 people crossed state lines for abortion care in Colorado, according to preliminary data from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. This far surpasses the 1,560 out-of-state patients who came here last year.

The increase started in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions on abortion clinics in other states. Then, in 2021, Texas passed a restrictive abortion law, as did Oklahoma the following spring. The U.S. Supreme Court eliminated the constitutional right to abortion in June through its decision on Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“So definitely Dobbs, largest impact as far as the number of states that have restricted or eliminated access to abortion,” Kate Coleman-Minahan, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado’s College of Nursing, said. “But we've been seeing an increase in out-of-state people coming from out-of-state because of several different periods of abortion restrictions from different states.”

Abortion is legal in Colorado at any point in pregnancy. Earlier this year, state lawmakers voted to reaffirm that right. With the midterm elections looming, President Biden said last week that protecting abortion through legislation will be his top priority next year if Democrats retain control of congress.

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As KUNC's Senior Editor and Reporter, my job is to find out what’s important to northern Colorado residents and why. I seek to create a deeper sense of urgency and understanding around these issues through in-depth, character driven daily reporting and series work.
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