More people are traveling outside of their state to receive an abortion after more than 20 states enacted pro-life legislation amid the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, new data from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute found.
The percentage of women traveling interstate to receive an abortion nearly doubled in the first six months of 2023 compared with 2020, according to estimates in the report. It estimates that the number of out-of-state abortions jumped from about 9% of all abortions to about 17% of all abortions. The total number of women receiving out-of-state abortions more than doubled from fewer than 41,000 to more than 90,000.
According to the report, the states with the highest uptick in out-of-state abortion seekers are bordering states that enacted new restrictions on abortion. This includes Florida, which has fewer restrictions than its neighbors Georgia and Alabama; New Mexico, which has fewer restrictions than neighbors Arizona, Texas, and Oklahoma; and Kansas, which has fewer restrictions than all of its neighbors, apart from Colorado.
“We knew that more people have been traveling across state lines for abortion since the end of Roe, but these findings are stunning nonetheless and powerfully illustrate just how disruptive the overturning of Roe has been for tens of thousands of abortion patients,” Guttmacher Institute Data Scientist Isaac Maddow-Zimet said in a statement.
“Where people are traveling to get care is an important piece of the puzzle in untangling the post-Dobbs abortion landscape,” Maddow-Zimet, who led the project to produce the report, added. “We hope that this data can prove useful to providers, advocates, and policymakers who have been working tirelessly to improve access to abortion in the face of unprecedented challenges.”
Tessa Longbons, a senior research associate at the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, told CNA that the report’s findings are “tragic, but unsurprising.”
“After the Dobbs decision, we’ve seen pro-abortion states become even more extreme in their marketing of abortion to women in pro-life states,” Longbons said. “Women deserve to know that there is a network of nearly 3,000 pregnancy centers across the country providing millions of dollars’ worth of services and resources for pregnant women in need. Rather than pushing abortion on demand, states should offer women and their babies real support and comprehensive care.”
The Guttmacher Institute produced these estimates from data samples they received from organizations that perform abortions.
Despite the increase in out-of-state abortions, pro-life activists have noted that a recent increase in live births nationally shows that pro-life laws are having a positive effect in saving preborn children from abortions.
“Despite the efforts of pro-abortion states, the Institute of Labor Economics recently estimated that states with pro-life laws will welcome approximately 32,000 more babies annually,” Longbons said.