Missoula Clinic Sees Patient Increase after Practice Vandalized - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Missoula Clinic Sees Patient Increase after Practice Vandalized in Kalispell

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MISSOULA - A family healthcare clinic sees a big increase in the number of patients, after a practice offering abortions in Kalispell was vandalized and shut down.

Last month, a Kalispell man, who's the son of a prominent pro-life advocate, broke into All Families Healthcare and destroyed equipment.

Employees at Blue Mountain Clinic said more and more patients who would normally visit All Families are now forced to travel to Missoula for their care. And struggling to find abortion care is a problem they say is growing across the country.

Director of Development, Outreach and Communications at Blue Mountain Clinic, Lynsey Bourke, said she was shocked when All Families Healthcare was vandalized.

"But, at the same time, anti-choice violence has become something almost to be expected for people working in our field," she said.

Employees at All Families said there's been an increase in violent acts against the practice because its physicians offer abortions.

"Right after it happened, there were of course some concerns for our own safety at the clinic."

But, Bourke said Blue Mountain Clinic is one of the safest clinics in the country in terms of building structure.

"The building was built specifically to withstand different attacks, like bombs, or other kind of fire threats," she said.

Bourke said a second clinic offering abortions in Livingston also recently closed, adding to the number of patients forced to find abortion care outside their hometowns. She says healthcare practices offering abortions are few and far between across the country.

"What this really means for women is that they're going to have to travel up to, you know, sometimes 6-12 hours to access care."

Bourke said this impacts low-income women the most. And if abortion care doesn't become more readily available, she says there will be an increase in so-called "back-alley" or unsafe abortion methods.

"And it's something we feel really strongly needs to be mainstreamed into any kind of medical healthcare."

Bourke said fortunately, there attitudes towards abortion are slowly changing.

"I still think that they have the compassion and understanding of why some women must, and why some women do," Bourke said.

Online fundraising efforts for All Families Healthcare has brought in more than $73,000. For now, the practice remains closed.

Zachary Klundt, 24, remains behind bars after pleading not guilty to charges for vandalizing the Kalispell practice, although he was not charged with a hate crime.

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