Texas women travel to New Mexico for abortions

A New Mexico clinic has seen a 165% increase in patients since Texas Senate Bill 8 took effect last September.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Abortions are nearly outlawed in Texas, but that’s not stopping Texas women from getting the procedure. They are simply leaving the state.

KHOU 11 News traveled to New Mexico, where clinics say they have an influx of women from Texas seeking an abortion. At their request, we are withholding the identities of the women we spoke to.

“It’s an attraction for me because I believe in Jesus Christ. And I believe in life and I believe in death. But there’s a fine line between what’s doable and what’s not,” said a grandmother from Texas.

A grandmother from Texas went to New Mexico where women are now traveling to get an abortion.

“I hope what we are doing is right,” said the grandmother.

Her granddaughter was on the exam table.

“Scared, but I know it will be worth it in the end because I have a life ahead of me,” said her granddaughter, Ashley.

“I would have loved to have taken that grandfather and raised him. But I can not. I am physically unable. So I want people to understand, abortion is not taken lightly,” said the grandmother.

It took four months for ‘Ashley’ to get here.

“I had to get a babysitter to watch my son. Give up work, save money for this. It just puts a whole pause on my life,” Ashley said.

She is 19 years old and lives in Dallas.

“I had another child to worry about. I just want to live my life, make sure my son is okay before I think about having any more,” Ashley said.

Her mother was waiting with her.

“She knew what she wanted to do and whether I believe it or not, it’s not my choice. Do whatever you want. It’s your life,” Ashley’s mother said.

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They were in the process of getting an abortion in Texas when the Supreme Court ruling took it away.

“We have literally called every state. This is the only state that has done so. You have to shift gears and be okay, now you not only have to pay for a procedure, but you also have to pay for gas, which is high. You should take time off work,’ said Ashley’s mother.

At the UNM Center for Reproductive Health, since Texas Senate Bill 8 went into effect last September, their abortion care has escalated.

“We saw a 165% increase in patients,” said University of New Mexico Clinical Vice Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Lisa Hofler.

Dr. Hofler said before SB8, their wait times for appointments were 24 to 48 hours. After the Supreme Court decision, they plan 5 to 6 weeks out.

“Abortion is really time-sensitive care, isn’t it? As any delay pushes someone further into the pregnancy,” said Dr. Hofler.

“I feel nervous. But like, I just want to hang out with him,” Kate said.

Wrapped in a blanket across the hall, ‘Kate’ is also awaiting her miscarriage. She is six weeks pregnant.

“When I call the clinics in Albuquerque, they’re like, well, we don’t have availability until the end of August,” Kate said.

She lucked into a cancellation and left San Antonio right away.

“I called my mom and said, ‘We just have to fly.’ So I had to buy plane tickets for him and me. And then I had to book the hotel,” said Kate.

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Caring for women like Kate and Ashley is why Dr. Hofler says they are expanding to accommodate the new demand for abortions, but hopes this new reality won’t last.

“People shouldn’t have to travel for this care, should they? This is essential health care and people should be able to get it at home,” said Dr. Hofler.

“I don’t want God to punish me at the end of the day. And I don’t think he will, because he knows I’m not fit in life to take care of another child right now,” Ashley said.

The desire to cross the state borders did not change their minds.

“I think it was unnecessary. It’s ridiculous. It’s a lot,” said Kate.

“Because I know it’s hard for her and it’s hard for her mother. And it’s hard for me to say goodbye to something that is part of us because we had no choice,” said Ashley’s grandmother.

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