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Influx of people seeking abortion access in Florida

Posted at 7:10 PM, Jan 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-24 19:10:50-05

With limited access to abortion care, local advocacy groups say that they're seeing a large influx of people traveling to Florida for help.

"These last six months has just been an absolutely devastating time for women and pregnant people," said Christina Noce, the Vice President of communications at Planned Parenthood.

Before the overturning of Roe V. Wade in 2022, Noce said the Tallahassee center would see around 35 patients a day. Now, they're seeing up to 80, with most of them traveling from other states with stricter abortion bans.

"What we have going on right now is we have this influx of out of state patients, where they cannot get any abortion care in their state so they're coming to Florida, and then we also have Florida patients who still need care," said Noce.

In the last six months, Noce said the Tallahassee and Jacksonville centers have seen four times the number of patients from states like Georgia, Mississippi and Texas traveling to Florida to have abortion access.

Planned Parenthood isn't the only local center seeing an influx of people seeking care. Denis Harle is a board member for a women's pregnancy center here in Tallahassee; a pro-life pregnancy resource center providing material and emotional support to unexpected pregnant women.

Harle said the center saw 2,200 new clients last year, many of which were traveling from states with stricter abortion bans. She said around 69% of them chose life instead of abortion after finding support at the center.

"We are seeing over and over again that it's just one conversation that can take a woman facing unplanned pregnancy from a feeling of loneliness, despair and hopelessness to a place of hope," said Harle.

Alyx Carrasquel is a network building coordinator for Florida Access Network; the only statewide fund that helps people who are seeking abortion care afford it. They also have a volunteer program to help house, feed and drive pregnant people to appoints and a support group for those who have had abortions.

Carrasquel said FAN experienced a 200% increase in clients reaching out for help in the last year. "Because of the stigma around abortion in general, a lot of people need not only the financial, but they really need that emotional support from safe, trusted people," said Carrasquel.

Although she hopes moms will choose life, Harle is happy to be a resource for any expecting mother. "It really doesn't matter what choice someone makes. A women's pregnancy center is still there to support moms and support women no matter what," said Harle.