Abortions have temporarily resumed in Arizona, but clinics face high demand and staffing shortages
It’s been nearly a month since an Arizona court temporarily blocked enforcement of the state’s near-total abortion ban. But patients seeking abortions are still facing hurdles while some providers struggle to get back up and running.
After the U.S. Supreme Court this summer overturned Roe v. Wade, an Arizona judge said the state's Civil War-era ban on most abortions could go back into effect. But Planned Parenthood Arizona and others are appealing that ruling. And the Arizona Court of Appeals in early October said abortions up to 15 weeks' gestation would be temporarily allowed in the state while court challenges continue.
Planned Parenthood, the state’s largest abortion provider, last week resumed abortions at three of its Arizona clinics. But Planned Parenthood Arizona medical director Dr. Jill Gibson told KJZZ News that filling staff vacancies has been a major challenge.
“This is a hostile environment for providers, doctors, nurses, support staff," Gibson said. "Until we change that component, we won’t be able to staff up our clinics to accommodate patients.”
Gibson said with a potential abortion ban still looming, Arizona abortion clinics can’t guarantee job security for doctors and nurses.
“There are some providers who feel that it is very important to them that they are able to offer that service, so they have left the state for states that are more friendly toward abortion rights so they can continue to practice and offer this service to patients,” Gibson said.
Planned Parenthood Arizona reports demand has been very high since it resumed services. Its patients are now waiting at least a week for an initial consultation appointment then another one or two weeks for the procedure. Gibson said she saw more than 20 patients on Wednesday alone.