TAMPA, FLA. — The Chief Medical Officer for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida said patients have called their locations concerned and worried about the future of abortions in Florida.
Dr. Robyn Schickler, CMO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, said after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, Planned Parenthood received numerous calls.
"Our call volume shot up and it was mostly patients that had abortion appointments that were asking about whether they could still come, whether this meant they needed to go elsewhere, but also patients asking if it meant anything about birth control," said Dr. Robyn Schickler.
Florida currently allows abortions up to 24 weeks. A new law bans abortions beyond 15 weeks except to save the life or prevent harm to the mother or in cases of fatal fetal abnormality. Reproductive health providers have asked a state court in Florida to block the new law restricting abortions past 15 weeks.
Dr. Schickler said she continues to monitor court proceedings. As of right now, Planned Parenthood is performing abortions, but the clinic is prepared to make operational changes if the law takes effect on Friday.
"The vast majority which is 90% or so are in first trimester which is less than 12 weeks or 3 months, less than 3 months and about 4% of our abortion patients are past the 15-week mark," said Dr. Schickler.
She said most abortions happen early, but they still see a number of patients who are more than 15 weeks pregnant.
"The people that are past 15 weeks, past Friday, unless something different happens that we're expecting. We are planning on sending them out of state. They will not be able to get care in Florida in their own community," she said.
Dr. Schickler reassured patients that Planned Parenthood will be there to assist patients no matter the outcome of the ruling.
On Monday in court, attorneys for the state brought in witnesses who defended the concept of life at conception.
"The conclusion that life begins at the instant of sperm-egg fusion is scientifically incontrovertible," said Dr. Maureen Condic, a neuroscientist.
A judge is expected to make a ruling on Thursday but warned a written order may not be issued until 24 hours later.