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What impact could the Florida abortion ruling have in Virginia?

Virginia is expecting an influx of people seeking abortions now that Florida will implement a six-week ban starting May 1st.

The new six-week ban on abortion in Florida will change the dynamics of abortion across the South. Advocates on both sides agree this means more people will come to Virginia to seek services that are not available in other states.

"As states like North Carolina, and West Virginia and Tennessee pass and implement laws regarding abortion, Virginia, because of our relaxed laws, are going to see, most likely, an increase in abortions," says Todd Gathje with the Family Foundation.

But can Virginia handle the need? Jamie Lockhart at Planned Parenthood says the scale is important to consider.

"Florida is currently serving 90,000 patients a year, and Virginia is serving about a third of that," Lockhart says. "So, people are going to have to travel hundreds and hundreds of miles to access care. But there is a limit."

And the discussion is not over yet here in Virginia. The governor is currently considering legislation that would protect abortion providers from being prosecuted or extradited to other states that don't protect abortion rights. He has until early next week to make a decision on those bills.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.