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.


Anti-choice states aren’t satisfied. Now they want to punish traveling for abortions

A husband who doesn’t want his wife to get an abortion could sue the friend who offered to drive her, according to this legislation’s own architect

Moira Donegan
Tue 12 Sep 2023

How free can any woman be in a country where her right to control her body and family depends on the jurisdiction where she happens to live? Republicans are looking to find out. Over the past few weeks, as Republican officials in anti-choice states seek to make their abortion bans enforceable and compel women into childbirth, a new front has opened up in the abortion wars: roads. The anti-choice movement, through a series of inventive legal theories and cynical legislative maneuvers, is now attacking women’s right to travel.

In a court filing last month, the Alabama attorney general, Steve Marshall, wrote that he believed his office had a right to prosecute those who help women travel across state lines in search of an abortion. The filing comes in a lawsuit from two women’s health clinics and an abortion fund, which sued Marshall after he publicly stated his intention to criminally investigate organizations like theirs, which provide financial and logistical help to pregnant patients seeking to leave the state. In his response, Marshall unequivocally stated that Alabama, which bans all abortions with no rape or incest exemption, views any effort to help women cross state lines as a “criminal conspiracy”.


The unconstitutional plan to stop women from traveling out of state for an abortion, explained

The age of travel bans is now upon us.

By Ian Millhiser 

Sep 12, 2023

More than a year ago, anti-abortion activists appeared eager to prohibit anyone seeking an abortion in a state where it is banned from traveling to another state where it is legal. Indeed, many lawmakers appeared so eager to enact such travel bans that Justice Brett Kavanaugh, of all people, attempted to cut off these laws before they could be enacted.

“May a State bar a resident of that State from traveling to another State to obtain an abortion?” Kavanaugh asked in his concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022), the decision overruling Roe v. Wade. “In my view, the answer is no,” Kavanaugh replied to his own question, “based on the constitutional right to interstate travel.” The Constitution has long been understood to allow US citizens to travel among the states.


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. 


Out-of-state abortion care is becoming the norm in the Southeast, but resources for travel are drying up

While the demand for travel assistance for abortion care has grown, some abortion funds report that donations have slowed down

by Eliana Perozo
August 16th, 2023

On May 20, 18-year-old Alyssa Roberts drove to a CVS store in Mobile, Alabama, and bought a pregnancy test. Roberts, who asked to use a pseudonym for her last name to protect her identity, kept her best friend on the phone while she anxiously took the test and waited. A few minutes later, she discovered she was pregnant.

Roberts gave herself a week to think through her options, but it only took her two days to realize she wasn’t ready for a baby. That’s when she started looking for an abortion clinic.


The doctors bringing abortion care from SF General to Wichita

JULY 27, 2023

A 19-year-old girl walks up to the clinic’s front desk, a couple of her friends trailing behind. Everyone is yawning after the eight-hour overnight drive from eastern Arkansas to Wichita, Kansas. After a wait, the woman is ushered into a private room and greeted by Dr. Jennifer Kerns, an abortion provider, who relays the encounter.

Kerns, too, arrived that morning after an eight-hour journey of her own, via several flights from San Francisco to Kansas.


Can I Get an Abortion While Traveling Abroad?

From Canada to Australia, here are the countries that assist foreign visitors with unwanted pregnancies.

By Olivia Young
Published on 7/20/2023

When I was 25 and traveling in New Zealand, another American confided in me that she might be pregnant and didn't want to be. New Zealand's abortion laws were restrictive at that time, especially for a tourist with no local medical network. She would’ve had to fly 7,000-plus miles back to the states to terminate the pregnancy in her home country had the test come back positive. It didn't.

Seven years on, with abortion now criminalized in 14 states, discovering an unwanted pregnancy while abroad could be the best-case scenario for an American. While Roe v. Wade's polarizing demise made the Land Of The Free one of the least abortion-friendly countries in the Global North, the general shift to telehealth amid COVID made abortions easier than ever to get outside the US. Since 2020, New Zealand has deemed it legal to prescribe abortion pills over the phone.


Overturning Roe created a frightening reality. Impact on Idaho is visible in Oregon | Opinion

Alison Edelman, Maria Rodriguez
Sun, July 9, 2023

It was a terrifying moment when a patient from Idaho began leaking fluid during her pregnancy. She was diagnosed with a pregnancy complication in which the amniotic sac surrounding the baby breaks. Once the sac breaks, the risk of developing a serious infection is high. She was told it was very unlikely her baby would survive.

But because she was in Idaho, the patient was not able to receive the recommended care, an abortion. A new law in Idaho bans health care professionals from ending someone’s pregnancy unless the fetus no longer has a detectable heartbeat or the patient experiences a medical emergency. But under Idaho’s extremist laws, determining what is a medical emergency has become a legal minefield for doctors. The patient, who soon developed a life-threatening infection, was rushed to Oregon.


A 45-year-old got pregnant in a state with a ban on abortions. She flew across the country to get one

By Christina Zdanowicz, CNN
Sun July 9, 2023

When 45-year-old Victoria realized she was five weeks late and the lines showed as positive on two pregnancy tests, the New Orleans resident dreamed up a plan to get an abortion.

Traveling out of state was the only abortion option for Victoria, who asked CNN to withhold her last name out of fear of backlash against her and her family. Louisiana is one of several states that have essentially banned all abortions.