MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Alabama has passed the strictest abortion law in the country and experts say it will have an impact in Memphis.
Katy Leopard, the assistant director at Choices, the Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, has been watching what’s happening in Alabama as the state plans to ban most abortions if a new law goes into effect in six months.
Choices has been getting calls ever since it passed, she said.
"Patients who are confused are asking, 'Are you still open?' We're in Tennessee, but it's still confusing. People are not sure," Leopard said.
She says they already see patients from Alabama and now they're prepared for more.
"If those clinics close, they certainly will," she said.
In fact, Leopard says they already have patients from 21 states. Many of those states only have a handful of abortion providers, like Mississippi, which only has one.
So far in 2019, Choices has seen 8 percent more patients than 2018.
"It's because abortion has been made so difficult for women to access, so they're having to travel. And that's if you have the resources to do that," she said.
She says the schedule at Choices is so packed that it's hard to fit everyone in; most abortion patients wait two weeks for an appointment. If Alabama moves forward with the ban, it could be even longer.
Leopard says they're in a national network with the three providers in Alabama. She's hoping they get an injunction until the ban ultimately reaches the Supreme Court to decide.
Planned Parenthood is the other provider in Memphis. A spokesperson said they are open and committed to providing health care to anyone who needs it. The spokesperson called the Alabama law and others around the country unconstitutional and hoped the ban would be prevented from going into effect via the legal process.