GRANITE CITY, ILL. – Missouri’s recent abortion legislation has already begun to affect the Hope Clinic in Granite City, the clinic’s deputy director, Alison Dreith, says.
Situated just across the river from St. Louis, the Hope Clinic is an independent clinic that provides abortions to people at between 6 and 24 weeks of pregnancy, in addition to other reproductive health services such as contraception, ultrasounds and testing for sexually transmitted infections.
As the possibility of Planned Parenthood’s not having its license renewed to perform abortions looms, on top of the new 8-week abortion ban set to go into effect in August, Dreith said the Hope Clinic was already having to take on an increased patient load.
“Last year, we provided about 3,000 abortions, and that has already increased significantly in the first five months of our data,” she said. She added that, on top of increased numbers, there was confusion and anxiety among patients.
“A number of patients have been calling to say, ‘I heard what’s happening with Planned Parenthood, or I’m hearing about these abortion bans in the country. Can I still have my procedure?’” she said.
Patients who come into the clinic are more distressed as well, she said.
“Nurses and doctors can really tell when a patient is going through something, and I think over the past week or two, especially since the news of the Missouri ban passed, you can just feel that increased anxiety on our patients,” she said.
Dreith also added that the clinic had had to add employees to keep up with the flow of patients, as the staff had been “working longer hours, more days, and they’re really scrambling to continue to deal with the increased workload that we’re already experiencing.”
She said that if Missouri became the first state with no abortion clinics, Hope Clinic wouldn’t be able by itself to handle the overflow of patients. But, she noted, there are many options for Missouri patients, citing more than twenty abortion providers in Illinois, as well as Kansas’ recent state Supreme Court decision, which protects access to abortion.
“And so there are a lot of options as well for Missouri patients, but we will continue to do everything in our power, should folks decide that Hope is the best option for them,” she said.
For now, the Hope Clinic is taking it day by day, and Dreith said that everyone at the clinic was doing their best to “meet our patients’ needs so that they can continue to expect the safe and compassionate care we’ve provided for 45 years.”