BEND, OR -- The Supreme Court is expected to hand down another round of decisions Thursday, although it’s unclear if abortion will be among them. A decision in the Dobbs case could overturn Roe v. Wade, but it won’t change abortion access here, where state law protects providers and patients.
Because it’s such a divisive issue, clinics are taking a hard look at security. "We’re used to, anytime abortion gets in the news a little more, we do see an increase in protest activity," says Joanna Dennis-Cook, Health Center Manager for Bend's Planned Parenthood clinic, "Obviously, this is a pretty big way for abortion to be in the news so much. So, we are seeing a more sustained level of increased protest activity." She tells KBND News, "I would say, we haven’t had any problems, other than they’ve gotten more vocal than we’re used to. So far though, we’ve been fortunate that they’ve followed the rules and stayed where they need to stay."
She says staff are receiving training reminders to stay vigilant, not to wear name tags outside and be careful of who they talk to about where they work, "Keeping up the situational awareness, like we always talk to employees about. And just reminders, of course, because we can all get complacent. It’s been pretty mellow here for a really long time."
According to Dennis-Cook, clinics all over Oregon expect to see more patients from states with more restrictive abortion laws if Roe v. Wade is overturned, "We’re just going to see a lot more pressure put on clinics surrounding those states, as they see an influx of patients." She adds, "We definitely want to ensure that we continue to be available for people who live locally, people who live in Oregon. We have definitely seen an increase of people traveling from Idaho. Specifically here in Bend, we’ve seen a significant increase over the last month or two."
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to release their decision before the end of their term. They typically try to adjourn by the end of June.