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Health, Science & Environment

OSU study: Overturning Roe v. Wade would increase travel time for abortion care

A sign is displayed at Planned Parenthood of Utah Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Salt Lake City.
Rick Bowmer
Associated Press
A sign is displayed at Planned Parenthood of Utah Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Salt Lake City.

A pair of Ohio State studies show increased hurdles for women seeking abortion care, should the Supreme Court overturn or weaken Roe v. Wade.

One recent study found that an average of 8% of U.S. patients travel outside the state where they live for abortion care.

But in states with restrictive abortion laws, percentages were much higher — 74% in Wyoming, for example.

"And so the bottom line being that some of these restrictive policies like we see in Ohio, maybe forcing people out of state for care," Ohio State research scientist Mikaela Smith, who led the study.

Ohio Policy Evaluation Network

Another study published last week found that the distance Ohio women travel to abortion care could triple in a post-Roe scenario.

As of February of this year, the centers of all Ohio counties were, at most, 99 miles away from an abortion facility.

Some Ohio women could have to drive more than 300 miles to an abortion provider in a "worst-case" scenario where all neighboring states cease to offer abortion care following a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe.

"For those with privileges and resources to spend more to travel, they'll always be able to get an abortion," Smith said.

"But for those without the means, without the connections, I think that's the kind of those are the folks that were most concerned about in terms of them being able to access this necessary health care," she said.

Both studies were conducted as part of the Ohio Policy Evaluation Network (OPEN).

Health, Science & Environment AbortionOhio State
Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.