A new analysis has shown that Texans have obtained abortions in 11 states that do not share a border with Texas since the state cruelly outlawed abortions after six weeks gestation. Jezebel has previously covered how Texans are fleeing the state for abortion care, but the analysis from the Guttmacher Institute published Tuesday found that Texas residents have gone as far as Washington state, Ohio, and Maryland for care.
Guttmacher researchers surveyed 120 clinics in 28 states and Washington, D.C. At least one clinic in Alabama, Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Ohio, Tennessee and Washington have provided abortion care to a Texas resident. These states are hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from the Texas border and represent a significant travel barrier. Clinics also told researchers that they’re expecting to see an increase of calls from potential Texas patients despite the higher cost with an out of state procedure.
A clinic in Tennessee told researchers that in 2020 it saw three Texas patients, but in the months since S.B. 8 has been law, that numbers has already doubled.
Clinics in states bordering Texas — New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana — described a “domino effect” to researchers as providers see patients in those bordering states in turn going to border states as the patient load increases. Abortion fund Fund Texas Choice tweeted Wednesday that 99.1% of the fund’s clients have traveled out of state for care due to S.B. 8. FTC confirmed to Jezebel that percentage accounts for more than 200 patients since Sept. 1.
Clinics in state surrounding Texas are taking on the heavy load of providing care to the second largest state because, according to a new study in Contraception, one in three people don’t even discover they’re pregnant after after the six-week mark. And this load is something they’re capable of taking on without help. The total number of abortions performed in new Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana is only 41 percent of the total number of abortions performed annually in Texas.
Jessica Pinckney, executive director of ACCESS Reproductive Justice in California, told Jezebel that the reality of S.B. 8 is a logistical problem across the entire care network. “It’s unfortunate, but this really does bring to light the many logistical circumstances that come alone with getting an abortion. I always say it’s not just showing up at a clinic for some pills or a procedure,” Pinckney said. “It’s getting child care, it’s getting time off work, it’s getting a ride, it’s getting a place to stay overnight. There’s a lot of logistics that go into coordinating anyone’s abortion and that’s certainly only heightened by the enactment of S.B. 8.”