Surge in abortion demand, including from out of state post-Roe, concerns health care experts

After the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade - abortion remains legal in Michigan. It's now banned in some nearby states.

But some Michigan doctors are worried they won't be able to keep up with demand.

"When the Supreme Court decision first came out on Friday our call center volume doubled," said Ashlea Phenicie.

Days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade case, ending nearly 50 years of constitutional protections for abortion,  many women seeking the medical procedure are looking to Michigan where it is still currently legal.

"We have also seen a 50 percent increase in request for abortion appointments over the week before," said Phenicie, Planned Parenthood of Michigan. "Some of these are from Michigan, but we do think there are quite a few out-of-state patients turning to Michigan for care."

As numbers increase, doctors and abortion advocates are working to accommodate the surge.

"We have expanded staff capacity we are hiring additional people we also hired abortion navigators - these people help our patients make appointments and figure out travel arrangements and connect with any financial assistance that they may qualify for," said Phenicee.

"I’m talking to my colleagues about who can take extra shifts and is there a way to triage patients in patient or outpatient care. We are thinking about all the possibilities to meet people’s needs," said Dr. Lisa Harris.

As doctors work to accommodate as many women as possible seeking abortions, they know resources are limited and it may be challenging for some women to receive care.

"But I think the sad reality is that we may not be able to," said Harris, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Michigan. "And that part is going to be very hard to know that we have the skills, and the willingness to help people, but we may just not have the clinical care space or operating room capacity. And we will have to turn people away and that will be heartbreaking for all involved."