During the 12 months following the Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization ruling on June 24, 2022, California experienced a substantial increase in abortions. According to the WeCount report, the cumulative number of abortions administered by healthcare professionals surged by 8,810, ranking it as the fourth-highest increase in the country, following Illinois, Florida, and North Carolina.
“In some states, new abortion restrictions have been litigated in court, resulting in week-by-week changes to the legal status of abortion, creating confusion and abortion care churn,” the Society of Family Planning wrote in the report. “At the same time, some states have passed protective legislation that has potentially increased access – for residents and people coming from banned states – and protected providers.”
During the period from April 2022 through June of this year, the study revealed a decrease of approximately 7,900 abortions in states that have prohibited abortion and a reduction of 1,600 abortions in states that restrict the procedure after six weeks.
However, these declines have been balanced by an increase of approximately 8,000 abortions in states neighboring those with bans. In the 33 states where abortion is still legally permitted, the Society of Family Planning documented approximately 117,000 additional abortions, marking a 14% rise compared to the period before the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
A portion of California’s surge in reported abortion numbers may be attributed to expanded accessibility to abortion medication prescribed via telehealth consultations with healthcare providers. The study indicated that in April 2022, 690 patients obtained the procedure through this method. By June 2023, this number had nearly doubled to 1,190.
An alternative calculation of abortion figures by the Guttmacher Institute, based on a smaller provider sample and a shorter timeframe, similarly reported a nationwide increase in the abortion rate. The largest overseas provider, Aid Access, experienced an average monthly increase of approximately 5,000 more requests for pills in the 11 months following the Dobbs decision compared to the period preceding the decision.
In addition, Planned Parenthood Northern California, which oversees 17 clinics, began expanding months before the Dobbs decision. This was driven by both the anticipation of Roe v. Wade being overturned and an understanding that there had been pent-up demand for abortions during the pandemic, according to Dr. Sara Kennedy, the organization’s Chief Operating and Medical Officer.
Unfortunately, Governor Newsom’s plan to turn California into an abortion sanctuary is coming to fruition. The good news is that pro-life leaders are taking a stand, such as the Thomas More Society which is fighting a lawsuit by Attorney General Rob Bonta that aims to dismantle the life-saving Abortion Pill Rescue Network.
As long as abortions are still occurring in California, the pro-life movement cannot stop fighting for innocent children in the womb. The unfortunate news of increased abortions simply means that pro-lifers need to double down.