New Study Finds Women Who Travel for Abortions face Compounding Barriers

 

A recent study published by the Guttmacher Institute did a series of interviews with women in two states who traveled across state lines (or over 100 miles within their state) to receive abortion care. Our clinic is proud to have participated in the study.

Read the full report HERE.

 

The researchers found 15 barriers which fell into five groupings:

Travel-related logistical issues

  • Making arrangements after appointment was scheduled (e.g., for transportation, accommodations, child care and work schedule changes)
  • Involving unwanted persons in abortion decision or travel arrangements
  • Requiring multiple means of transport to get to appointment

System navigation issues

  • Hoop-jumping (logistics involved in securing an appointment)
  • Lack of information, resources or referrals, including lack of transparency
  • Need to make multiple visits to the procedure clinic
  • Encountering crisis pregnancy centers that delayed abortion care

Limited clinic options

  • Limited or no options near home
  • Clinic closures in home state
  • Unavailable appointment times at other clinics (e.g., because of overbooking or excessive demand)

Financial issues

  • Need to raise money for procedure and related costs (e.g., travel, logistics)
  • Lack of insurance coverage
  • Difference in procedure costs between clinics

State or clinic restrictions

  • Gestational limits (state- or clinic-imposed)
  • Waiting periods (state-imposed)

The lack of physical access to abortion care creates a multitude of other barriers for women seeking abortion. The study finds that these barriers become compounded; they were unable to measure the specific barrier without looking at all the additional barriers that come from having to travel to get care. Women experience negative consequences from these barriers including delays in receiving care, negative mental health impacts, and for some, the thought of self-induction, or DIY abortion. While the results are disheartening, we know women are resilient and resourceful and we will continue to work for safe and accessible care for our patients.