ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years in a decision by its conservative majority to overturn Roe v. Wade.
We’re learning more about how the decision is affecting our region, in Upstate New York.
“It’s shocking and I feel like we’re living in a theocracy,” said Michelle Casey, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York. “Having it be real, knowing people with abortions scheduled at 11 a.m. in Ohio that are past six weeks, aren’t going to get one.”
Here in New York State, abortion is still legal.
Casey has been anticipating demand for patients out-of-state, ever since a draft opinion on Roe V Wade was leaked.
“We expect more of the influx to be in clinics in Western New York, but we do expect influx here in the Rochester area,” said Casey. “Most patients we’ll get will be from Ohio, but we’re already seeing people from Texas here, driving here.”
Casey said she wants to help these patients, but it could be challenging. Their facility has already been struggling to meet local demand — with staffing shortages, and failed proposals to expand.
Today, their call center was flooded after the news. Mostly from locals, worried they may be competing for appointments in the coming days.
“They’re calling for appointments, worried if I call next week are there going to be appointments available,” said Casey.
Casey said any work to recruit new staff or expand, is faced with mixed feedback from the public.
For example, a few days ago, the Henrietta Town Board turned down on a proposal for a Jefferson Road location. The vote drew out dozens of divided residents.
“Should’ve been a no-brainer, there’s ten points you’re supposed to meet, we met all those ten points,” Casey said. “The whole conversation was focused around abortion and Christianity.”
In a follow-up interview with News 8 on Friday, Supervisor Schultz explained those in opposition argued a medical facility didn’t fit in what’s deemed a commercial B-1 zone.
Even throughout the town, several clinics are in the same type of building zones like Urgent Care Centers or the University of Rochester Orthopedic Center inside their mall; which is also a retail B-1 zone.
Supervisor Schultz explained the clinic could still move into what’s deemed a B-2 zone to construct a facility with fewer restrictions in the way of receiving a permit.
To give you an idea of the local demand, Casey says they service between 35-40,000 people a year, for all types of visits. Around 7,000 of those are abortion patients.
Casey said not everyone has the privilege to travel here, due to transportation issues, an abusive relationship, or they can’t afford to leave work.
For them, they’ll have a few options: they can self-manage their own abortion, which isn’t as safe or recommended, or they carry out the full pregnancy.