Roe v. Wade has been overturned. What's next for Vance County?

·2 min read

Jul. 1—HENDERSON — The Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade last week, effectively ending access to abortion in six states and bringing into question abortion rights across the country. Two employees of Granville Vance Public Health helped explain the local situation.

"Our health care and prevention services to individuals and families should not be affected by federal policy at this time," Granville-Vance Health Director Lisa Harrison.

"It may be helpful for people to know that local health departments have never offered abortion services, so even if things in [North Carolina] change for access to women's health, we do not at this time foresee any changes to our services at GVPH."

Shauna Guthrie — a family physician, Maria Parham's new chief medical officer and GVPH medical director — said there are no local options for elective termination. The closest abortion clinics to Henderson would be Planned Parenthood Chapel Hill and North Durham Women's Health. Additionally there are two abortion clinics in Raleigh. In total, there are 14 clinics in the state that offer abortion services.

Though they don't offer abortion services, local health departments such as GVPH do offer women's health, child health, family planning, health education and promotion, among other services for pregnant women.

"It will continue to be critically important," Harrison said, "for public health departments to be a trusted source of whole-person health care and prevention services regardless of decisions made at political, policy, and funding eligibility levels."

"We are certainly navigating interesting and stressful times in the world at large, in our communities, and for ourselves and our families," Harrison said. "Public health includes mental health and well-being, and there is so much to accomplish in all areas that keep people healthy."

"Although we knew it was likely to turn out this way," Guthrie said, speaking as a family physician specifically, "this official decision is still so new that likely many people — medical providers and patients alike — are left with more questions than answers."