People in rural Mountain West are accustomed to traveling long distances for services, but the distances are even longer for many seeking abortions.
“Even people used to driving several hours to a dentist appointment are now talking hundreds of miles away,” says Katrina Quinport, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco.
Kimport works at Advancing new standards in reproductive health UCSF interviewed hundreds of women who had considered and had abortions. She said these long trips can mean spending more money on places to stay and more time away from work.
She added that people tend to want an abortion as soon as possible after making that decision, but that late-booked flights tend to be the most expensive.
“They want to shorten the time between deciding they want an abortion and being able to maintain it, and travel extends that time,” she said.
“But even people who don’t need to travel many states are considering extending that time because where they go, their local clinics are now seeing out-of-state influx. Patience.”
In the Mountain West, the states of Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Arizona are currently in a legal battle to enforce an abortion ban following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade in June. . While some of Idaho’s abortion restrictions are already in force, others are questionable. Department of Justice sues situation.
But as abortion providers close their stores, those seeking procedures may head to neighboring states such as Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.
However, travel costs will be a challenge for many. research from According to a 2014 Guttmacher Institute study, 75% of those seeking abortions are low-income. Most of those surveyed had children, had to pay for childcare, and lost working hours to travel long distances.
Although there are services to help with travel expenses for abortions, Kimport said they don’t think they’re enough to meet the demand.
Beyond the financial aspect, she said, increased travel comes with an emotional strain. She is often forced to travel to unfamiliar cities without the support of her family and friends. It also increases stigma.
“The idea of having to travel suggests something to be ashamed of because it’s not available in your community or state of origin,” she said.
Kimport wrote about the cost of abortion travel: conversation.
This article was produced in partnership with the Mountain West News Bureau, Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio Station, Idaho, KUNR, Nevada, Rocky Mountain West O’Connor Center, Montana, KUNC, Colorado, and KUNM, New Mexico. Created by , with support from affiliate stations across the region. A portion of the Mountain West News Bureau funds are public broadcasting association.