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Planned Parenthood Prepares for Abortion Bans, Capacity Increases

Contraceptive Technology Update asked Danika Severino Wynn, CNM, vice president of abortion access at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, how the organization is handling the biggest threat to abortion rights in five decades. The following transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

CTU: How is Planned Parenthood preparing for the expected increase in capacity in California, Illinois, New York, and other states where abortions will remain legal?

Wynn: Access to safe, legal abortion is at risk as never before across the country. Overturning Roe means 36 million women — nearly half of the women of reproductive age in the United States — and more people who can become pregnant, could soon lose abortion access. However, banning abortion does not stop people from getting abortions — it forces people to travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to access abortion out of state or seek care outside of the healthcare system entirely.

Wherever we can, Planned Parenthood health centers are working to secure and expand abortion access by bolstering health center operations in regions that are likely to be critical access points for people seeking abortion. This includes offering abortion pills via virtual or telehealth visits, training more providers, extending hours, and more. We also are increasing investments in patient navigation efforts, allowing us to help patients find an abortion provider outside their state as well as help with financial resources if they’re available. Patient navigators provide support to patients seeking abortion throughout their entire journey.

An unprecedented crisis fosters unprecedented collaboration. Our affiliates are partnering with local organizations — such as abortion funds, independent providers, and other reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations — pooling resources, and setting up new health centers and logistics centers in key locations to continue meeting the unique needs of the communities they serve.

CTU: Will Planned Parenthood continue to offer contraceptive and reproductive health services in some or all of the states that ban abortion? How will decisions be made about these sites once the Supreme Court issues its ruling?

Wynn: Every person deserves access to healthcare, and that includes the full range of the sexual and reproductive healthcare they desire. Planned Parenthood health centers remain committed to providing patients with high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive healthcare services, including birth control methods, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, cancer screenings, gender-affirming care, emergency contraception, and many more services essential to helping people stay safe and healthy. For many, Planned Parenthood health centers remain their only source for essential, comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare, and we will do everything we can to serve the people who need it.

Our health centers across the country will continue to provide judgment-free, supportive care to every patient. Each patient is the expert on their own life, and we trust patients to make their own decisions about their health, their families, and their futures.