ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Abortions are nearly banned in Texas, but that’s not stopping Texas women from having the procedure. They are simply leaving the state.
KHOU 11 News traveled to New Mexico, where clinics say they're having an influx of Texas women seeking an abortion. At their request, we are hiding the identities of the women we spoke to.
“It’s a pull for me because I believe in Jesus Christ. And I believe in life and I believe in death. But there’s a thin line between what is feasible and what’s not feasible," one Texas grandmother said.
A Texas grandmother went to New Mexico where women are now traveling to obtain an abortion.
"I hope what we’re doing is right," the grandmother said.
On the exam table was her granddaughter.
“Scared, but I know it’s going to be worth it in the end because I have a life ahead of me," her granddaughter, Ashley, said.
“I would’ve loved to have taken that grandbaby and raised him or her. But I can’t. I’m not physically able to. So I just want people to understand, abortion is not lightly taken," the grandmother said.
It’s taken four months for 'Ashley' to get here.
“I had to get a babysitter to watch my son. Take off work, save up money for this. It just puts a whole pause on my life," Ashley said.
She is 19 and lives in Dallas.
“I had already another kid to worry about. I just want to live my life, make sure my son is okay before I think about having any more," Ashley said.
Her mom was waiting with her.
“She knew what she wanted to do and whether I believe in it or don’t, it’s not my choice. Do whatever you want. It’s your life," Ashley's mom said.
They were in the process of getting the abortion in Texas when the Supreme Court decision took that away.
“We literally called every state. This is the only state that did it. You have to switch gears and be like ok, now you have to not just pay for a procedure, but you have to pay for gas, which is high. You have to take time off work," Ashley's mom said.
“We saw an increase of 165% in patients," Clinical Vice Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of New Mexico Dr. Lisa Hofler said.
Dr. Hofler said before SB8, their wait times for appointments were 24 to 48 hours. After the Supreme Court decision, they’re scheduling 5 to 6 weeks out.
“Abortion is really time sensitive care, right? Like every delay pushes someone farther into their pregnancy," Dr. Hofler said.
“I feel nervous. But like, I just want to get over with," Kate said.
Wrapped in a blanket across the hall, 'Kate' is also waiting for her abortion. She’s six weeks pregnant.
“When I call clinics in Albuquerque, they were like, well, we don't have availability to the end of August," Kate said.
She got lucky with a cancellation and flew out from San Antonio immediately.
“I called my mom, and I was like, 'we just need to fly.' So then I had to buy plane tickets for her and for me. And then I had to book hotel," Kate said.
Caring for women like Kate and Ashley is why Dr. Hofler says they’re expanding to accommodate the new demand for abortion, but hopes this new reality doesn’t last.
“People shouldn't have to travel for this care, right? This is essential health care, and people should be able to get it at home," Dr. Hofler said.
“I don’t want God to punish me at the end of the day. And I don’t think he will because he knows I’m just not right in life to take care of another kid right now," Ashley said.
Having to cross state lines didn’t change their minds.
“I think it was unnecessary. It is ridiculous. It's a lot," Kate said.
“Because I know it’s hard for her, and it’s hard for her mother. And it’s hard for me saying goodbye to something that’s part of us, because we had no option," Ashley's grandmother said.