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SoCal Planned Parenthoods report more patients coming from conservative states

Regional Planned Parenthood officials said they are already seeing an increase in people coming to Southern California from conservative states seeking abortions and reproductive care.

Dr. Toni Marengo, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest said she was hit hard with sadness and anger Friday morning as her fears of federal abortion rights being stripped were confirmed.

"Half of our country has lost access to reproductive autonomy and access to abortion," Marengo said.

She said in the nearly two months since the Supreme Court draft opinion was leaked, patients have already started to travel from to SoCal clinics from conservative states.

"I've been seeing an uptick myself when I'm providing abortion care," Marengo said. "Patients disclosing: 'Oh, I came from Texas,' for example."

Palm Springs councilmember Christy Holstege is a planned parenthood board member and former patient there. She's spent a decade working in reproductive justice.

"It's truly heartbreaking and shocking to see us move backwards," Holstege said. "I know that lives are on the line and women are going to die because of this decision – people are going to die because of this decision."

Planned Parenthood has two locations in the Coachella Valley: Rancho Mirage and La Quinta, and 19 clinics across Riverside, San Diego and Imperial counties - all of which will continue to offer legal and safe abortions.

Officials said limiting access in other states will only stop safe abortions there – as desperate people will find ways around the federal ban.

"People will do what they can to not be pregnant, they will take matters into their own hands," Marengo said. "People are savvy, and there are methods to self manage your own abortion, and that makes abortion less safe."

Holstege said California is now a safe haven – and is in the fight for abortion rights for the long haul.

"We know we're going to see those people come to California for health care," she said. "We are going to be here and we will not go back. We will never go back."

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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