In a 5-4 decision on June 24, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark legal decision that guaranteed access to abortion in every state. The reversal of the nearly 50-year-old decision now leaves the matter of abortion's legality to the states, 13 of which have "trigger bans" that automatically restrict or criminalize abortion, and 13 others that are likely to attempt to ban abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Oregon is one of four states that have codified the right to abortion throughout pregnancy, though 12 others permit abortion to the point of fetal viability. As a sanctuary for people seeking to terminate a pregnancy, the region is likely to see an influx of people seeking abortions from out of state.
- Renée Alexander
- Lindsey Narkchareon, Ariel Vee, and Gina Vee, from left to right, protested the reversal of Roe v. Wade Friday in downtown Bend.
"While the right to an abortion is safeguarded in state statute, Oregonians will be directly affected by the end of Roe vs. Wade," Planned Parenthood Colubia Willamette pointed out in a press release. "A study by The Guttmacher Institute indicates that Oregon health centers could experience a 234% increase in out-of-state patients from states like Idaho, where abortion will be immediately outlawed. An analysis in The New York Times indicates that "Eastern Oregonians could see a 35% reduction in abortion access, forced to drive hundreds of miles to the nearest provider in Bend."
Bend's Planned Parenthood Clinic told the Source last month it had already seen patients from Texas after that state enacted a ban on abortions six weeks after conception, and is expecting an influx of out-of-state patients as more states criminalize or restrict abortion. The decision also reduces care for a large part of Eastern Oregon that relied on Boise's Planned Parenthood clinic for care, though on June 24, Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette announced a new clinic would be built in Ontario to increase access. People protested the reversal of Roe v. Wade across the country, including in downtown Bend.
"I woke up this morning absolutely heartbroken by the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. I wanted to come out and support my community and let them know that this is not one of my values. I certainly hope this isn't one of the values in Bend, even though women and people with uteruses in Oregon are protected at this moment," said Lindsey Narkchareon, 24, who initially took Friday off work to do something fun but was compelled to protest instead.
- A map showing the legal status of abortion by state.
Protestors started gathering downtown as early as 2 pm, and a larger organized protest formed outside of the Deschutes County Courthouse by 5 pm.
"I believe that the Supreme Court's decision was completely flawed, and very extreme. It goes against prior precedent, and it relies on this concept that if something is not mentioned in the Constitution, then there's no right to it. This is all because abortion wasn't mentioned in the Constitution? Neither were campaign contributions," said Ariel Vee, 35, who also protested in downtown Bend.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek lamented the loss of reproductive rights and emphasized the passage of the Reproductive Health Equity Act that codified abortion into Oregon law.
Her Republican opponent, Christine Drazan, celebrated the Supremes Court's decision.
"Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, Oregon will continue to have among the most extreme abortion laws in the country and around the world. As governor, I will stand up for life by vetoing legislation designed to push Oregon further outside the mainstream," Drazan said in a statement.