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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — On the eve of the anniversary of the historic United States Supreme Court decision Roe vs Wade, the Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP) four-state region – Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and western Missouri – faces continued attacks on access to care, severely restricting a patient’s reproductive freedom. 

Statement from Emily Wales, interim CEO and president, PPGP: 

“While January 22 marks the 49th anniversary of the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling, it also serves as a solemn reminder of the fight for choice that still lies ahead. In 1973, Roe recognized the right to safe, legal abortion, but that right has consistently been chipped away – especially here in the Great Plains. Despite harsh, medically unnecessary restrictions, our doors remain open and we continue to provide compassionate care regardless of a person’s zip code, economic status or identity. PPGP and its dedicated providers, staff and supporters remain hopeful Roe is upheld to see another anniversary, because patients depend on critical access to abortion care.” 

In the wake of Texas’ six-week abortion ban, PPGP continues to see a dramatic influx in patients seeking care at health centers in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas – often traveling hours one-way for health care that was previously accessible in their home state. 

Recently, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case on a Mississippi abortion ban, and it seems likely a majority of justices are prepared to overturn Roe. Should that happen, by this summer, half of all states including Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri could attempt to enforce “trigger bans” immediately outlawing almost all abortion care. Thirty-six million women — nearly half of the women of reproductive age (18-49) in the United States and more people who can become pregnant, could lose abortion access.

In a post-Roe future, Kansas would be one of the only states that patients across the Midwest can turn to for safe, legal abortion care. However, an amendment to change the Kansas state constitution is on the August primary ballot. Should it pass, the state will likely introduce a near-total ban, leaving PPGP’s four-state region without access.

Ultimately, abortion bans force individuals to carry pregnancies against their will and disproportionately harm Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, people in rural communities, LGBTQ+ people, and people struggling to make ends meet.  

Although the future of Roe and abortion access is uncertain, PPGP health centers have expanded to include twelve locations. All clinics remain open, and patients’ needs are met with expert care and compassion.