In the wake of Idaho’s passage of a new, first-of-its-kind law that bans some interstate travel to receive abortion care, new data sheds light on just how crucial out-of-state travel has been and will continue to be in this post-Roe America.
The Society of Family Planning, a non-profit that helps support abortion and contraception research, shared the results of its #WeCount national research project with FiveThirtyEight in a piece published Tuesday.
The data collected by #WeCount shows several things we suspected to be true in the weeks and months since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling: that the number of abortions in the U.S. has decreased overall, that the number of telehealth appointments to get abortion pills increased and that the number of abortions in states where the procedures is legal spiked substantially in the six months after the Dobbs ruling, as women and pregnant people were likely forced to travel out of state to access the procedure in the face of increasingly restrictive bans in red states.
Between July and December 2022, more than 66,500 people reported being unable to receive an abortion in their home state. Broken down, nearly 44,000 of those unable to get abortion care in their state of residence couldn’t get access because their home state had banned the procedure, and another 22,680 were blocked by their home states reducing access to abortion, like Arizona, Ohio, Indiana and several others.
FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of the data from #WeCount found that about 35,330 of those who couldn’t get an abortion in their home state ended up traveling to another state to receive care. Additionally:
the data also shows 31,180 people were seemingly unable to get a legal abortion at all. We don’t know whether those people remained pregnant, or got an abortion some other way.
The data is not comprehensive and may shift as only 77 percent of the country’s providers shared data with #WeCount. The findings also don’t take into account the substantial uptick in people ordering abortion pills online, either from international organizations or medical and activist groups in the U.S. that ship abortion medication to people in places where it is illegal.
Additionally, the group found that the uptick in abortions provided in states where abortion is still legal did not make up for declines in other states.
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