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Distance of greater than 50 miles to abortion services could be insurmountable barrier to entry


On the finish of June, the U.S. Supreme Courtroom is predicted to challenge a ruling that can overturn Roe v. Wade, the Courtroom’s 1973 landmark choice which dominated that the Structure protects a pregnant particular person’s liberty to decide on to have an abortion.

The choice will create a patchwork of abortion legal guidelines within the US, with 26 states seemingly or sure to ban abortion. Advocacy teams and companies like Microsoft and Amazon are already gearing as much as assist Individuals journey to entry abortion providers. 

Nevertheless, a brand new evaluation from UC Berkeley College of Public Well being printed at the moment in JAMA Open reveals that journey distance to abortion services could also be an insurmountable barrier to abortion entry in the US.

At present, although most individuals looking for abortion need to journey lower than 25 miles one approach to attain a supplier, many need to journey 50 or extra miles. 

“Earlier analysis has estimated that the common journey distance to succeed in an abortion supplier will improve considerably (56 to 156 miles on common) if Roe v. Wade is overturned, with the best impacts in states the place abortion entry is already restricted,” says research lead creator Elizabeth Pleasants, MPH, a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley College of Public Well being. “The reversal or weakening of Roe v. Wade could have implications for well timed abortion entry and abortion charges throughout the nation.”

The evaluation used information from the Google Advertisements Abortion Entry Examine—a potential cohort research carried out to know limitations to abortion care amongst at present pregnant individuals within the US looking for abortion info and providers by way of Google—discovered that nearly half of these contemplating abortion had obtained one on the four-week follow-up (48%), whereas 32% have been nonetheless looking for an abortion, and 20% had determined to proceed their being pregnant. 

“Given these findings and the identified challenges posed to abortion entry by lengthy journey distances to succeed in a supplier, we sought to discover the impacts of distance to an abortion-providing facility on abortion attainment on this pattern,” mentioned Pleasants.

On this cohort of people in search of abortion providers on-line, dwelling 50 miles or extra from an abortion facility was related to nonetheless being pregnant 4 weeks later, indicating that extreme journey contraindicated the profitable procurement of abortion providers.

“Whereas previous research have explored the significance of journey distance as a barrier to abortion entry, none have checked out individual-level information for individuals dwelling throughout to U.S.,” mentioned Pleasants. “Moreover, none have explored the impacts of journey distance on individuals contemplating abortion previous to them reaching an abortion-providing facility. This research offers novel insights into the impacts of journey distance on entry to desired abortion providers amongst this hard-to-reach inhabitants of people dwelling in states throughout the U.S. contemplating abortion.” 

The authors hope that their work will result in “progressive approaches to abortion care, equivalent to making telehealth abortion extensively out there and integrating abortion into major care provision, which can assist cut back the impacts of distance on entry.”


Coauthors embrace Elizabeth A. Pleasants of UC Berkeley College of Public Well being, Alice F. Cartwright of the College of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Ushma D. Upadhyay of UCSF. 

Learn the complete paper JAMA Community Open.

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