In divided US, women crisscross country for abortion care


Washington (AFP) – A year after the US Supreme Court abolished nationwide access to abortion care, many American women are settling into a new reality: arranging costly trips to terminate their pregnancies in states where the procedure is still allowed.

Comprehensive national abortion statistics are hard to come by in the United States because data is split between medical facilities and organizations that provide abortion pills by mail. But a recent study indicates a sharp rise in abortions in states that neighbor those which have moved to ban the procedure following the landmark court decision last summer.


USA – Even the meaning of the word ‘abortion’ is up for debate

September 26, 2023
Selena Simmons-Duffin (4-Minute Listen with Transcript)

For all that abortion is talked about in hospitals, courts, legislatures and the media, it turns out the public doesn't really agree on what the word means, a new survey finds.

The study by the Guttmacher Institute, a group that supports abortion rights, questioned people about a series of situations showing various circumstances in a pregnancy. Researchers asked: Is this an abortion? Yes, no or maybe?


No, It’s Not True that People in Abortion Ban States Have ‘No Options’

Too many people do not know that abortion resources do exist—even if they live in states where abortion is banned, or can’t afford to pay for the travel or medical care.


People are getting abortions. A new Guttmacher report suggests there were thousands more abortions in the states where abortion remained legal in the first half of 2023, than there were nationwide during a comparable period in 2020.

This makes stories like the TIME profile of a 13-year-old rape survivor who was not able to obtain an abortion even more heartbreaking. The teen—whom TIME referred to as Ashley (a pseudonym)—was failed by broken systems at several points. Her experience shows the stark reality of how people with money and privilege get access to the healthcare they need while those without means—especially young people and people of color—do not.


Abortion bans fuel a rise in high-risk patients heading to Illinois hospitals

By Kristen Schorsch, WBEZ Chicago
SEPTEMBER 14, 2023

When she was around 22 weeks pregnant, the patient found out that the son she was carrying didn’t have kidneys and his lungs wouldn’t develop. If he survived the birth, he would struggle to breathe and die within hours.

The patient had a crushing decision to make: continue the pregnancy — which could be a risk to her health and her ability to have children in the future — or have an abortion.


Fatal abortion in sub-Saharan Africa: ‘She dilated my cervix with a cassava root and the fetus fell out’

A study by Doctors Without Borders and others warns of the proliferation of complications suffered by women following a terminated pregnancy in conflict-affected regions

SEP 11, 2023

“I arrived at a hospital in Bangui and a 25-year-old woman had just died in my colleagues’ arms from complications following an abortion,” says Estelle Pasquier, a researcher with Doctors Without Borders (MSF). “This can happen several times a month, but it is a preventable death with the right measures. The doctors there have their hands tied by legal and social impediments, but the vast majority consider that the healthcare in these circumstances is a right for all women because they see the damage wreaked on a daily basis when that right is ignored.” What Pasquier is describing prompted a pioneering study, of which she is co-author, on the complications suffered by women after abortion in particularly volatile regions of sub-Saharan Africa, a corner of the world where 70% of deaths related in some way to maternity occur.


Abortions have increased significantly in states that border those with bans, new analysis finds

By Deidre McPhillips, CNN
Thu September 7, 2023

Abortions have increased substantially in most states where they remain legal post-Dobbs, according to a new analysis. The increases have been particularly significant in states bordering others with bans, suggesting widespread travel for care.

The Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization focused on sexual and reproductive health that supports abortion rights, launched a new dashboard Thursday that estimates the number of abortions provided in the United States each month. The estimates are based on a regular survey of a core set of providers and broadened to the state level using a model that also factors in historical trends. The latest findings compare the number of abortions provided in the first half of 2023 to a comparable period in 2020.


New State Abortion Data Indicate Widespread Travel for Care

Monthly Abortion Provision Study Findings Validate Efforts to Strengthen Abortion Protections

Isaac Maddow-Zimet, Kelly Baden, Rachel K. Jones, Isabel DoCampo, Jesse Philbin – Guttmacher Institute
September 7, 2023

In a post-Roe landscape, each state’s abortion policy reaches far beyond that state’s borders—in significant part because many people seeking abortion are proving highly motivated to travel to get the care they need in the face of abortion bans. Since June 2022, even as many states have banned abortion, many others have enacted measures to protect and expand abortion access. These measures have included repealing burdensome restrictions, dedicating funding for clinic and support infrastructure, enacting shield laws and enshrining abortion rights in their constitutions. Such policies are vitally important, given the increased demand for abortion in these states. 

Estimates of the number of abortions provided within the formal US health care system from Guttmacher’s new Monthly Abortion Provision Study validate these efforts to shore up access in states that support abortion rights and highlight the need for more such protections. The study has documented substantial increases in abortions in many states bordering those where abortion has been banned, indicating that significant numbers of residents of states with abortion bans are traveling to neighboring states for abortion care. These findings indicate that all aspects of the abortion infrastructure—including facilities, funds and support networks—require sustained support to serve increased patient caseloads. 


Abortion: Women more at risk of death in fragile and conflict-affected settings

5 September 2023
Médecins Sans Frontières

Complications following unsafe abortions are up to seven times more severe in fragile or conflict-affected settings: these are the findings of one of the very first studies on the subject, carried out in two referral hospitals in Bangui in the Central African Republic and Jigawa State in northern Nigeria. Behind the statistics, real stories of real women – and a universal vulnerability.

“I was distraught. I had drunk the traditional medicine. Before that, someone had shown me how to insert a piece of iron into my vagina... It was a piece of iron like this [she shows the interviewer the size],” says Rasha*, a 32-year-old woman admitted to Bangui referral hospital with potentially life-threatening abortion-related complications.


Nigeria – How preventing unwanted pregnancies can reduce abortion, deaths — Experts

by Sade Oguntola 
August 31, 2023

INDUCED abortion is illegal in Nigeria, except when performed to save a woman’s life. Both the penal code, which is generally applied in the country’s northern states, and the criminal code, which generally applies in the southern states, allow this exception and the regions specify similar criminal penalties for noncompliance.

Yet, pregnancy terminations are quite common and because they are often performed clandestinely or by unskilled providers, they are sometimes unsafe. A recent survey indicated that unintended pregnancy and abortion are experienced by women worldwide.


Nigeria – Abortion: Public Health Expert Decries High Death Rate

By Olubunmi Osoteku, Ikeja
On Aug 26, 2023

Some Public health experts, including scholars and researchers, have decried the high rate of death resulting from unsafe abortion, especially among adolescents, in Nigeria and urged government to increase investment in Sexual and Reproductive Health (SHR).

The experts, who agreed that the lives of women and girls, aged 15-49, lost daily to abortion is worth more than the amount of funding required to provide the needed facilities and services to keep them alive, argued that comprehensive sexuality education should be provided for adolescents.