While abortions are still legal in Pennsylvania up to 24 weeks, access is still limited.
As Crispin Havener explains, there are no abortion clinics in our viewing area.
While places like Planned Parenthood have locations throughout the area they don’t perform abortions inside the clinics here. In fact, Planned Parenthood has had to temporarily shut down locations like this one here in Johnstown over staffing shortages.
While Friday’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade has no immediate impact on abortions in Pennsylvania…the future is still uncertain.
“We do anticipate an influx of patients due to the supreme court ruling.”
Right now though getting a procedure done locally is not a simple process.
“There are heavy, heavy restrictions and qualifications in Pennsylvania to open and sustain an abortion clinic.
Sara Dixon of Planned Parenthood says there are only 13 free-standing abortion clinics in the state which perform surgery, none of which are in our viewing area.
“Right now Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania has one abortion clinic which is in downtown Pittsburgh. The rest of our clinics are family planning clinics.”
And those Family Planning Clinics are having their own problems. Locations in Johnstown and Somerset have been temporarily closed.
“The clinic closures are due to staffing issues. We are training new clinicians who are willing to travel and to learn telehealth to optimize the number of patients we can see.”
Those Telehealth services can include getting medication used to terminate early-stage pregnancies sent by mail to a woman’s home which the FDA has allowed since late last year
But with the future of abortion access in doubt here and already banned elsewhere, the demand for services is only expected to grow.
“We have seen a lot of people needing to travel for abortion services due to state restrictions not just in Pennsylvania but also in surrounding states.”
How long the Johnstown and Somerset locations will be temporarily closed remains to be seen.