Since the implementation of Senate Bill 20, Dr. Robin Wallace has to travel to Virginia to provide abortion care for patients who are more than 12 weeks pregnant.
One of the first patients she saw after the implementation of the bill was someone who lives less than 20 minutes away from her in the Triangle. She said they both made the two and a half hour drive to Virginia in order for the patient to receive care.
S.B. 20, which went into effect on July 1, bans most abortions in North Carolina after 12 weeks of pregnancy and requires patients to attend an in-person appointment at least 72 hours before receiving an abortion.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, the number of abortions in the state decreased 31 percent between June and July this year.
Wallace said that since S.B. 20 has been in effect, she sees more patients coming in to receive abortion care earlier in pregnancy.
“My personal take on that is there is a greater sense of urgency than ever before because there is this very sobering check on what we have access to legally,” she said.
Calla Hales is the executive director of A Preferred Women’s Health Center, an abortion clinic with locations in Charlotte and Raleigh. She said her clinics have had to increase capacity and staff as well as make changes to the practical flow of clinic procedures.
Before July 1, counseling was required for abortion patients at least 72 hours before their procedure, but that counseling could be done over the phone, Hales said.
Now, individuals seeking abortion care must visit the clinic for an in-person consultation and return another day for their abortion procedure. The law also requires that medical professionals perform an ultrasound at least four hours before an abortion is performed.