Women who live within five miles of an abortion clinic are much more likely to have the procedure, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco looked at county-level abortion data in the United States from 2015.
They compared each county’s abortion rate to the distance to the nearest abortion clinic and noted the population of women over 15 in each.
One abortion took place for every 47 women who lived within five miles of an abortion clinic that year.
Comparatively, an abortion occurred for 249 women who lived more than 120 miles from a clinic, a five-fold difference.
Research shows the staggering factor that distance and ease of travel can have on whether a person has an abortion or not, and that laws that close abortion clinics are effective in preventing women from having the procedure.
San Francisco-based researchers have found a clear correlation between a woman’s likelihood of having an abortion and how far she resides from an abortion clinic
Aggregate data from counties reporting abortion data, separated by distance to nearest abortion clinic
For the study, published in JAMA Network Open, the team collected data in the 48 contiguous states during 2015 from all counties that report the number of abortions.
The population of women in counties who reported the number of abortions is approximately the same as those who do not, and there are equal shares of married women, women with a high school diploma, and women with a high school diploma. foreign-born women, which means the data is likely to be similar.
Nearly eight million women in the counties that are part of the study live within five miles of an abortion clinic.
During the study period, 167,520 abortions were recorded among these women, or one for every 47 women.
For the 13.3 million women in the study who lived five to 15 miles from a clinic, 83 of them had an abortion.
One abortion has occurred for every 129 women who live 15 to 30 miles from a clinic, and one for every 157 women who live 30 to 60 miles from a clinic.
Women who live farthest from these clinics, 120 miles or more, were the least likely to have an abortion, with one abortion occurring for every 249 women.
The researchers also published their findings on the abortion rate per 1,000 women living in each county, reporting higher abortion rates in some major cities, such as New York, Seattle, and Myrtle Beach, Carolina. from South.
Counties with high abortion rates are concentrated around New York City, Seattle, and Myrtle Beach
The data show a clear correlation between accessing an abortion clinic and performing abortions.
“The declines in the median abortion rate by category of travel distance are clinically significant and have significant consequences for people’s lives,” the researchers wrote.
‘[The study] estimates the unmet need for abortion services associated with long travel distances from facilities.
“As states continue to enact laws restricting access to abortion, the distance to care is likely to increase for more American women.”
They also note a potential reverse causation, abortion clinics are more likely to exist in communities that have a higher demand for abortion.
Some communities with negative opinions about abortion are less likely to use the clinics, even if they are nearby.
Abortion is a hot issue in the United States, and federal funding for Planned Parenthood has become a key battleground. Pictured: A woman participates in a pro-life protest outside a Planned Parenthood office in St. Louis, Missouri
Abortions have been the center of a fierce debate before and since Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court case that ruled that women in America have a constitutional right to abortion.
A Gallup poll earlier this year found that 19% of Americans support an outright ban on abortion, and 32% only want it legalized in certain scenarios – like rape or incest.
Republican state-level lawmakers across the country have lobbied to regulate abortion clinics, with some setting regulations so difficult to follow that clinics often close.
A 2016 report found that 25% of American abortion clinics had closed in the previous five years.
Planned Parenthood, a U.S. nonprofit focused on women’s reproductive health, including abortion, which receives federal funding, has been a specific target of Republicans in recent years.
Former President Donald Trump, for example, removed Title X status from the nonprofit, revoking some funding because it performs abortions.
Many abortion advocates also fear that a conservative Supreme Court could overthrow Roe v. Wade.