RICHMOND, Va. -- As the fallout of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade continues, abortion providers in Virginia say they're starting to see patients come from states where access has been restricted.
They said at this point, they are expecting more.
In the same year that Roe v. Wade was first decided, the Richmond Medical Center for Women opened its doors to provide abortion services and eventually expanded to Roanoke, Newport News, and Charlottesville (which was later sold to another provider).
But now, those clinics are moving forward in a post-Roe world.
"It's been sad, I've been mad. It's devastating for women," said Jill Abbey, RMCW's administrator, of last week's Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe, and added the ripple effects are already being felt.
"Yesterday in Roanoke, I think we saw five ladies from out of state. We've already seen, I know, one here at this clinic," Abbey said.
She said patients are coming from states that have restricted access to abortion since Roe was overturned or are expected to, as, in Virginia, abortions remain legal through the second trimester at this point.
The Virginia League for Planned Parenthood said they've been preparing for months and anticipate up to 26 states will ban or restrict access.
"Providers are looking at what all the ways that they can increase capacity, whether that's staffing, whether that's additional locations, hours. Really figuring out all the ways that we can make sure that there's increased access to care for those who need it," Jamie Lockhard, the executive director for Virginia Planned Parenthood, said.
They add that their partner agencies are also helping women access the procedures.
"Get women hotel rooms. Sometimes, they literally will drive somewhere to pick up a patient and bring them here and drive them back," Abbey said.
Lockhard said while they're doing all that they can to maintain access, it will impact Virginians as the state doesn't have enough capacity.
"The restrictions in other states will make it so that Virginians may have increased wait times as people need to travel to access care," Lockhard said.