Wednesday, September 13, 2017

New Study Calculates Driving Times to Abortion Clinics from Urban Areas in the US

The Pudding (September 2017): How far is too far? An analysis of driving times to abortion clinics in the US, by Russell Goldenberg, Amber Thomas and Caitlyn Ralph

As states continue to impose restrictions on abortion clinics that force facilities to close or stop providing services for women later in pregnancy, it is becoming increasingly difficult for women to access abortion care.  A new analysis published in The Pudding quantifies how clinic closures actually impact the distance women have to travel to abortion clinics.  The study looks at driving distances from cities with populations over 500,000.  Currently there are 151 urban areas that do not have an  abortion clinic within an hour roundtrip drive.  Women living in urban areas in Texas and in South Dakota have no clinics within an 8 hour roundtrip drive.

The article provides an interactive tool that allows readers to see how long a round trip to an abortion clinic would be from different urban areas.  Because many clinics do not provide services later in pregnancy, the tool also allows readers to see the distance women must travel to obtain abortions at 8, 12, 16 and 20 weeks.  The article also looks at changes in accessibility in states that are currently considering legislation that could could force further clinic closures.  For instance, if the sole abortion clinic in North Dakota is forced to close, the length of time women would have to drive to access abortion services from Fargo, ND would increase from under an hour to 6 hours and from 5 hours to 11 hours for women living in Bismarck, ND.

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