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New data shows abortion migration trend from southern to northern states

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New data reveals a trend in abortion statistics: as mostly southern states enacted laws severely restricting abortion, women traveled across multiple state lines, primarily to northern states, to have them.

Traveling across state lines to have an abortion increased after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, according to a new Guttmacher Institute’s latest Monthly Abortion Provision Study and its new US Abortion Provision Dashboard.

In 2023, 171,300 women traveled to have abortions, up from 73,100 in 2019, according to the data.

Most went to the next closest or neighboring state where abortion is legal. The majority left southern states after over a dozen state legislatures banned or restricted abortions.

The most left Texas, approximately 35,500, with roughly 14,000 going to neighboring New Mexico. Overall, Texas women traveled to 17 states to have abortions after Texas’ abortion laws went into effect in August 2022.

The state receiving the most women traveling to have an abortion was Illinois. Approximately 37,300 women from 16 states traveled to Illinois to have an abortion, according to the data. Roughly half of them, 16,000 traveled to Illinois from southern states, according to an analysis of the data by The New York Times.

In the first half of 2023, abortions increased by an estimated 69%in Illinois, The New York Times reported. To meet the demand, the Illinois legislature and governor prioritized allocating millions of dollars of taxpayer money to fund abortion-related grants to support abortion providers statewide.

By contrast, roughly 32,000 babies were born in states that implemented abortion restrictions, a 2.3% increase, over the same time period, The Center Square reported.

Nationwide, in 2023, the first full year after Roe was overturned, an estimated 1,037,190 clinician-provided abortions occurred in states without a total abortion ban, according to Guttmacher data. The data shows that the number of abortions fluctuated every month last year, from the highest of nearly 95,000 last March to the lowest of nearly 82,000 last November.

The Guttmacher study “estimates the number of clinician-provided abortions” in each state that doesn’t have a total abortion ban from January 2023 through March 2024.

It also collects data about in-person procedural and medication abortions and medication abortions provided via telehealth and virtual providers. The data includes “telehealth abortions provided under shield laws to patients in states where abortion is not banned but telehealth provision of abortion is banned.” It also counts as an abortion as either having had a procedure or receiving medication.

The top five states where the most abortions occurred last year were California (179,610), New York (130,000), Illinois (90,540), Florida (85,220) andnew Jersey (58,380), according to an analysis of the Guttmacher data by The New York Times.

Florida’s number is expected to drop after its six-week abortion ban went into effect May 1.

So far, 16 states have legalized abortion on demand: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Four states and the District of Columbia legalized abortion throughout an entire pregnancy: Colorado, New Jersey, Oregon and Vermont, The Center Square reported.

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