Nebraska is down to two clinics providing abortion appointments in the state

March 14, 2024, 5 a.m. ·

An exterior picture of a building with a sign that reads "Planned Parenthood of the Heartland."
Once abortion services resume at the Omaha Planned Parenthood location in April, it will be one of two clinics in the state providing abortion services. (Photo by Elizabeth Rembert, Nebraska Public Media News)

The Planned Parenthood clinic in Omaha has been under construction since January. The center remains open to family planning patients, but all abortion appointments have been temporarily moved to the Lincoln location.

That leaves just two clinics currently providing abortion services in Nebraska: the CARE abortion clinic in Bellevue and Lincoln’s Planned Parenthood facility. Just the Planned Parenthood center is performing surgical procedures, while the CARE clinic offers abortion pill appointments.

That’s likely a new normal for the state, as all Planned Parenthood abortion appointments will be moved back to Omaha’s facility once the first phase of construction is complete in April.

Andi Curry Grubb, Planned Parenthood’s executive director in Nebraska, said offering abortion services at only one location will help with staffing issues and allow the Omaha clinic to provide appointments 3-4 days a week, up from two days a week.

“The goal is to provide as much care to as many people as we possibly can under the restrictions imposed on us,” she said. “We want to get as much consistency in Omaha as possible, and having the staff all in one location as opposed to split between the two locations is how we can help that consistency.”

Planned Parenthood in Nebraska has been relying on a network of part-time, largely out-of-state contractors to provide abortion appointments since its only Nebraska-based physician retired in 2022.

“The overturning of Roe created a lot of challenges in recruiting physicians,” Curry Grubb said. “The uncertainty means that we’ve never been able to fill our full-time physician position. We’re dealing with travel and we’re managing schedules across multiple states.”

In the meantime, Curry Grubb said Planned Parenthood staff have been able to meet the demand for abortion appointments at its Lincoln location.

“We’re working closely with every single patient to make sure we’re supporting them as best we can,” she said. “Whether that’s getting them to Lincoln or, in some cases, somewhere else that may be a little bit closer.”

Construction at the Omaha Planned Parenthood is expected to be completed in July. The project will renovate abortion procedure rooms and increase family planning exam rooms from four to twelve. Curry Grubb said the new space will help the organization meet a growing demand for family planning services.

After the Omaha location is back to being fully operational, Lincoln’s Planned Parenthood will continue offering family planning, STD testing, mental health and other services.

Curry Grubb said the organization could eventually revisit and change its decision to offer abortion appointments only at the Omaha clinic, depending on the legal environment.

“This is all really an immediate response to the context that we have to live in right now,” she said. “Our goal is to ensure the right to abortion in Nebraska’s constitution, which will give us the certainty to recruit staff and provide care in the long-term.”