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Healthcare organizations react to the overturning of Roe V. Wade

Planned Parenthood of Tennessee said they will help patients find locations out-of-state to get abortions.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Protests broke out nationwide on Friday and Saturday, following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade. Pro-abortion rights activists lifted signs, demanded action and chanted for a 'ban off their bodies.'

Meanwhile, anti-abortion activists rejoiced in the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. Some took to the streets in a counter-protest.

That controversy has a ripple effect beyond just the general public. In fact, healthcare providers say it will greatly impact their services, especially those who provide abortion treatment.

Planned Parenthood in Tennessee said they are particularly affected by the SCOTUS decision.

"As a person who's had an abortion and who provides abortions, you know, it makes me feel very sad and devastated," said Ashley Coffield, the CEO of PP in Tennessee.

Planned Parenthood has been through the wringer in East Tennessee. In January of 2021, a man fired a shotgun into the front glass door of the local Planned Parenthood clinic. 

Then on the morning of New Year's Eve in 2021, the medical clinic was set on fire by an arsonist. The clinic was deemed a 'total loss,' and required Planned parenthood to rebuild.

Now, the organization is facing a mandatory halt in some services.

"We are going to continue to provide sexual and reproductive health care," Coffield said. "We are going to continue to help patients access abortion, even though we can't provide it here at home."

The organization plans to redirect patients to other Planned Parenthood facilities out-of-state. Coffield said in Friday's press conference that they plan to help their patients get to these out-of-state clinics financially; however, they did not say how they plan to do so. 

"We are just trying to go ahead and let patients know the tough reality. Then we will work with them and make the logistical and financial arrangements to get them somewhere else so they can get the care they need as quickly as possible," Coffield said.

Coffield also said they are not going to give up fighting for abortion rights in the state.

"We are also going to continue to fight like hell to get this right back in Tennessee," she said.

Other reproductive health clinics are reacting differently to the ruling. Anti-abortion or pro-life pregnancy centers are grateful that abortion procedures will be outlawed in the state.

One of those clinics is the Knoxville-based Hope Resource Center.

According to their website, it serves as a cost-free healthcare center for women. they offer medical care for reproductive health concerns, education, and provide connection to community resources. they also do pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, STD testing, and wellness exams.

"As far as our services go, we do not perform or refer for abortion," said Executive Director of Hope Resource Center, Andrew Wood.

He said the organization is rejoicing at the ruling.

"This is an opportunity that we have prayed for too long for a very long time that abortion, or at the very least, that Roe v Wade would be overturned and that it would go back to the states for the states to debate," Wood said.

He believes that once abortion centers close in the state, more women will seek help at resource centers.

"We certainly anticipate an uptick in patient numbers," Wood said. "But we are we're ready and well prepared to serve those that are in need in our community."

On July 24, the state of Tennessee will outlaw abortions in nearly all cases. 

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