171,300 patients traveled out of state for abortions in 2023

June 16, 2024

More than 170,000 people have traveled out of state to receive abortion care since January of last year, according to new data from the Guttmacher Institute, a figure underlined by the increasing difficulty to access care in some states.

Out-of-state care accounted for more than 15 percent of the estimated 1 million clinician-provided abortion procedures between 2023 and March of this year, according to the data. That figure has more than doubled since 2020.

“Traveling for abortion care requires individuals to overcome huge financial and logistical barriers, and our findings show just how far people will travel to obtain the care they want and deserve,” Guttmacher data scientist Isaac Maddow-Zimet said in a statement.

“Despite the amazing resiliency of abortion patients and providers, we can’t lose sight of the fact that this is neither normal nor acceptable,” he continued. “A person should not have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to receive basic health care.”

Fourteen states have near-complete bans on abortion, a rapid change sparked by the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision in 2022, which overturned a prior federal standard mandating access to abortion procedures.

States that border those with recent near-total bans, such as Kansas and New Mexico, saw a majority of abortions in their state be from out-of-state patients. Texas’s abortion ban is one of the most restrictive in the country.

Florida has also served as a state with relatively easy access to abortion care when compared to its neighbors until earlier this year. The state implemented a strict six-week abortion ban in May.

“The state of residence data makes it clear that this policy change will be devastating not only for Floridians, but also for the thousands of others who would have traveled there after being denied care in their home states,” Guttmacher Vice President Kelly Baden said of Florida’s ban. “Once again, we see that a state’s abortion policies affect thousands of people beyond that state’s borders.”

The new bans could also have political ramifications. Florida is among the states with an abortion rights measure on the ballot this November, and Democrats have hoped to use the referendums to increase turnout.

Two-thirds of the approximately 1 million abortions were via medication, the institute also found. That method was under threat via a federal lawsuit until last week, when the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government does have the authority to limit restrictions on certain abortion medication.