More than a dozen patients from states where abortions have been banned or greatly restricted have traveled to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont to receive abortion services in the past few weeks, according to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

Patients from Georgia, Michigan, Louisiana, Ohio, South Dakota and Texas have booked appointments at Planned Parenthood locations in the three states since the June 24 U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. In addition, patients from New York and Massachusetts also are increasingly seeking abortions in northern New England because timely appointments are becoming harder to get in their home states.

“In just three weeks, we have seen the harm caused by the (Supreme Court’s) Dobbs decision with people traveling as far away as Texas to get the care they need,” Nicole Clegg, senior vice president of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, said in a statement. “Patients shouldn’t have to travel hundreds of miles for an abortion, but for millions of Americans that’s now their reality. Here in Maine, we will continue to do all we can to meet this need and provide care that is supported and respectful.” 

The organization had predicted the influx of patients to Maine and prepared to handle more calls for appointments in the wake of the ruling. Clegg said during a telephone interview that the organization has so far been able to meet demand.

“We haven’t hit a threshold where we haven’t been able to accommodate folks, but people might have to wait a week longer to get an appointment,” Clegg said.

There were 2,021 abortions in Maine in 2019, the latest year state statistics were available, with about half of the abortions nonsurgical, medication abortions.


Twenty-six states already have banned abortion or are expected to ban or greatly restrict abortion rights in the post-Roe environment, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a national nonprofit that focuses on sexual and reproductive health and rights policy issues.

Maine Family Planning, an Augusta-based abortion provider, also is experiencing an increase in out-of-state patients seeking abortions. It has seen about a half-dozen people from other states come to its clinics, said Mareisa Weil, vice president of development and community engagement for Maine Family Planning.

“It’s tragic and infuriating that this is the new normal,” Weil said.

Weil said that “MFP is working with other clinics and abortion funds throughout the Northeast and the country to enhance our collaboration and figure out the best ways to support each other and get patients the care that they need and deserve.”

Planned Parenthood’s Portland clinic is open for abortion services six days per week, and clinics in Topsham, Sanford and Biddeford are open three to four days per week.

Clegg said they are working to expand hours by increasing the number of abortion providers and staff, but it may take months to do so.


She said a law approved in Maine in 2019 that allows nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurse midwives to provide abortion care has helped the state have the ability to expand access.

People seeking abortion care in Maine can apply for financial assistance from three funds designed to help cover some or all abortion costs and some travel expenses – SAFE (Safe Abortions for Everyone), Planned Parenthood’s Laura Fund, and the National Network of Abortion Funds.


In another apparent byproduct of the Roe decision, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England reported it has experienced a 60 percent increase since June 24 in women who have made appointments to get long-acting reversible contraception, such as IUDs and implants.

Clegg said Mainers are scared they may lose access to the contraception because of the Supreme Court ruling, which dissenting justices warned could threaten other privacy-related rights. Some patients also are choosing more reliable and longer-lasting methods to prevent pregnancies, she said.

Earlier this month, Gov. Janet Mills joined other governors seeking to shield women who cross state lines to seek legal abortions – and the medical professionals who provide them – from lawsuits or even criminal prosecution in their home states. Mills signed an executive order that bans state agencies from cooperating with another state’s investigation into a person, organization or health care provider for receiving or performing abortions in Maine.

And last week President Biden signed an executive order instructing the departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to push back on efforts to limit the ability of women to access federally approved abortion medication or to travel across state lines to access clinical abortion services. His executive order also directs agencies to work to educate medical providers and insurers about how and when they are required to share privileged patient information with authorities – an effort to protect women who seek or obtain abortion services.

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