Such obstacles to infanticide have grown more common since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, doctors and researchers say, causing delays that can prevent abortions.
About half of U.S. states now have laws that ban or restrict access to abortion. Because of that, many clinics don’t offer the procedure, which has increased demand for appointments at the remaining providers.
At various points since The Dobbs decision, waits in several states stretched for two or three weeks, and some clinics had no available appointments, according to results of a periodic survey spearheaded by Middlebury College economics professor Caitlin Myers and recently provided to The Associated Press. Doctors and researchers say even as wait times have lessened, people still encounter other challenges, like planning and paying for travel, taking time off work and finding child care.
“All of those things can contribute to delays,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman, an OB-GYN at the University of California, San Francisco.
People may miss the window for medication abortions, which are not generally offered past 10 to 11 weeks gestation. A dwindling number of clinics provide abortions as people move through the second trimester, which begins at 13 or 14 weeks. Costs for the procedure change, too, from up to $800 in the first trimester to $2,000 or more in the second trimester.
At least 66 clinics in 15 states stopped providing abortions in the 100 days after Roe was overturned, according to an analysis last year by the Guttmacher Institute.
The necessity for people to travel out of state to kill their child is at the root of the delays.
Clinics run by Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which operates in Colorado, New Mexico and southern Nevada, saw out-of-state patients more than double after Roe. And Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region’s health center in Fairview Heights, Illinois, saw a 715% increase in patients from outside of Illinois or Missouri in the year after Roe.
“We know that abortion bans have caused a ripple effect and increased wait times even in states where access is protected,” McNicholas said.
The ongoing Myers Abortion Appointment Availability Survey called more than 700 facilities across the United States. Its latest survey, conducted in September, found that 11 states had median appointment wait times of more than five business days and four states had waits of at least eight business days, not counting weekends or holidays. The longest wait was in Iowa: 12 business days.
A year earlier, the survey found Iowa had a median wait of 13 business days, and six other states had waits between 12 and 15 business days.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains told the AP that wait times peaked at 28 days shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court decision, though it later fell. Before June 2022, waits in the region’s Planned Parenthood clinics averaged 17 days, reflecting restrictions in Texas that were put into place in 2021.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press