Blue Mountain Clinic, which provides abortion access in Missoula, expects to receive an influx in out-of-state patients as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Friday decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Executive Director Nicole Smith said the Missoula clinic is prepared with adequate providers and resources to serve the uptick in patients.
“This is something we’ve been preparing for for a while,” she said.
A 1999 decision known as Armstrong continues to protect legal abortion access in Montana, while abortion access is expected to be almost completely restricted in neighboring states soon.
Smith said Blue Mountain Clinic, which provides surgical and medication abortions, has seen steady numbers of patients over the past few years. Blue Mountain Clinic started providing abortions in 1977.
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Since Roe was overturned, Smith also anticipates an increase in demand for contraceptive care from in-state patients.
“We’re ready to do that as well,” Smith said.
She stressed Blue Mountain Clinic is poised to continue meeting the community’s demand for abortions and other forms of medical treatment.
“Abortion is health care,” she stated. “…People should understand abortion is safe.”
In Montana, she said, people should continue to treat abortion access as they did prior to Roe decision.
“We’re still open and providing health care,” she reiterated.
“This is a joint effort across every state in this country,” she said, although Blue Mountain Clinic is only providing medication abortion care to patients with a Montana address.
It’s also a joint effort with the other abortion providers in the state, which include All Families Healthcare in Whitefish and Planned Parenthood of Montana, which operates in Missoula, Helena, Great Falls and Billings.
The future of Montanans’ abortion access remains murky, as legal challenges work their way through the state Supreme Court, but Smith remained optimistic.
“Montanans are standing together and we are going to work together to provide abortion access,” said Smith.
She urged local supporters to take action to support efforts like Blue Mountain’s.
“We would love financial support,” she said.
She suggested donating to the statewide Susan Wicklund abortion fund and encouraged donors to also call their elected officials and declare their backing of abortion access.
“In Montana, we support our neighbors,” she said.
Smith said it also helps to talk to friends and neighbors about support for abortion access.
“We will not be shamed and silenced,” she said.
So far, Smith reported no protest activity at Blue Mountain Clinic.
“I’m grateful for that,” she added.