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Bend’s Planned Parenthood sees 1,000% increase in Idaho patients since near-total ban took effect

(Update: Adding video, comments from Planned Parenthood, Oregon Right To Life)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend's Planned Parenthood location reports that it has seen a 1,000% increase in patients crossing the state line from Idaho since that state banned most abortions in August of 2022.

Joanna Dennis-Cook, Health Center Manager for Bend's Planned Parenthood, said, "About 1 in 3 people are crossing state lines to access abortion services. The vast majority of that has all been people from Idaho and Eastern Oregon."

Since August of last year, Planned Parenthood in Bend has seen an increase of more than 1,000% in patients from Idaho receiving abortion-related care, from 31 patient visits from Idaho in 2022 to 392 visits so far in 2023.

The figure from Planned Parenthood comes two days after The Associated Press reported that an Idaho mom and her 18-year-old son are facing charges after prosecutors say they took the son's 16-year-old girlfriend out of state, to Bend, to get an abortion without her parents consent or knowledge.

The teenage girl told authorities she traveled to Bend's Planned Parenthood, about 550 miles from Pocatello, with her boyfriend and his mom in May to get the abortion.

Dennis-Cook said, "With our current capacity, we have been able to increase some staff and been able to accommodate everyone who needs our services at our current location."

The Executive Director of Oregon Right To Life, Lois Anderson, says she thinks Idaho already has adequate abortion access, though the state only allows abortions in incest and rape cases and if the pregnancy is detrimental to a woman's health.

"Rather than Planned Parenthood in Bend reaching out and protecting this girl, they committed an abortion and sent her back" Anderson told NewsChannel 21.

She continued, "Let's be honest, Planned Parenthood is a business. So they're seeing an increase in patients, they're also seeing an increase in profit."

Planned Parenthood only has two locations east of the Cascades, a location in Bend and another abortion clinic just 3 miles over the state border, in Ontario.

Dennis-Cook explained, "If people have complications or they need more support and more services, they don't need to travel quite as far if they need to be seen again."

ORTL's Anderson added, "I think Planned Parenthood should stop doing abortions altogether. If they want to provide health care, then provide health care for women -- but an abortion is not health care."

Planned Parenthood says even with the recent influx of Idaho residents, they're still able to see all of their Bend patients. In addition to an uptick in abortion services, they say Bend's location has seen more birth control and preventative care visits in the past year.

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Blake Mayfield

Blake Mayfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.


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