How Far Did U.S. Women Travel for Abortion Services in 2008? A Baseline Study

Rachel K. Jones, Guttmacher Institute
Jenna Jerman, Guttmacher Institute

Some women must travel substantial distances in order to access abortion services and this can present a barrier to care. Using data from a national sample of 8,349 abortion patients this study assesses how far abortion patients traveled to a provider and which groups were more likely to travel further. In 2008, women traveled a median distance of 15 miles for abortion care services. Sixty-seven percent of patients traveled less than 25 miles, and six percent traveled more than 100. Our hypothesis that women who with more economic resources would travel further was only partially supported, though we did find that living in state with a 24-hour waiting period and second trimester patients were more likely to travel further. Since 2008 a number of states have introduced restrictive legislation that may make it necessary for women to travel even further and may prevent more vulnerable groups from accessing services altogether.

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Presented in Session 124: Abortion: Trends, Determinants, Differentials and Data Quality