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Abortion rates are on the rise in most states

Abortion rates are on the rise in most states

The number of legal abortions likely rose in the United States in the first six months of the year compared to 2020, according to an analysis of new estimates. States with more permissive abortion laws welcomed patients than those with bans, and access to abortion pills through telemedicine continued to expand.

A new study from the Guttmacher Institute provides the latest data on legal abortions since the ruling Dobbs The Supreme Court has upended abortion access across the country, allowing more than a dozen states to ban or restrict the procedure.

Press charts

Estimated change in the number of abortions

Data show that thousands of women crossed state lines to obtain an abortion, despite restrictions in their state. It also points to an increase in the number of abortions among women living in states where abortion is legal.

“There are two forces at work,” said Caitlin Myers, an economist at Middlebury College, who reviewed the Guttmacher report.

On the one hand, there are people trapped in states where abortion is prohibited, and on the other hand, there are people living in large parts of the country where access to abortion is limited.

Caitlin Myers is an economist at Middlebury College

In total, an estimated 511,000 pregnancy terminations occurred in areas where abortion was legal in the first six months of 2023, according to a review of Guttmacher data, compared with about 465,000 abortions nationally during a six-month period in 2020.

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Abortions have increased in almost every state where the procedure is still legal, but the change has been most pronounced in states bordering those that ban abortion altogether. Many of these states have relaxed their abortion laws, and providers have opened new clinics to serve patients from elsewhere. In Illinois, for example, where abortion is legal, the number of abortions is estimated to have increased by 69% in 2023 compared to the same period in 2020, from 26,000 to about 45,000.

Other states with restrictive neighbors — including Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and South Carolina — also saw increases in the estimated number of abortions.

On the other hand, Arizona, Georgia, and Indiana sought to restrict abortion, and all three states saw their estimates drop. Arizona and Georgia set limits on the length of time abortions are allowed, and most recently, Indiana issued blanket bans.

” Cost “

The researchers stressed that the increase in the number of abortions so far in 2023 does not mean that state bans have not affected the possibility of abortion.

“Travel has a cost,” said Isaac Madhu Zimit, a data scientist at the Guttmacher Institute and lead researcher on the institute’s report.

Just because someone was denied an abortion does not mean the experience was easy. We know that some cannot leave their state.

Isaac Madu Zimet, lead researcher on the Guttmacher Institute report

There is no estimate yet of the number of women who have refused or been unable to have an abortion. The increases seen in most states may also hide the number of abortions the ban has prevented.

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“Abortions began to increase before the law came into effect DobbsM. said, and it would have continued to increase more sharply than was observed had it not been for the banI Myers, of Middlebury College.

The Guttmacher Institute report is based on a survey of traditional abortion clinics and virtual and telehealth providers. The Institute for Abortion Right does not contact all clinics in every state, but relies on a sample to estimate the number of abortions.

The report does not consider abortions that occur outside the formal health care system, such as pills mailed to countries where abortion is prohibited from other countries or countries where abortion is prohibited. Other data indicates that thousands of people, especially those living in states where abortion is prohibited, have ordered abortion pills online abroad.

Note is called evolution

The most populous states, such as California, Florida, Illinois, and New York, saw the highest number of abortions. Because the researchers relied on a statistical model, they reported some degree of uncertainty in their calculations, and the uncertainty was greater in states with larger numbers of abortion providers. No data were collected in the 14 states where abortion bans were in effect at the beginning of the year.

“Legislators feel like we passed tough rules here and our neighbors in Colorado or Illinois are allowing these companies to set up shop on our borders,” said Katie Daniel, director of state policy for Susan B. Anthony Pro Life America.

The researchers note that additional work will be needed to better assess the impact of restrictions on abortion as well as to increase access to abortion pills through telehealth and clandestine networks.

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The situation is expected to evolve later this year as new restrictions come into effect. Guttmacher’s researchers collected data on abortion before legislatures passed bans and restrictions in Indiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

This article was first published in The New York Times.