More Than Half of Texas Abortion Clinics Have Closed, Forcing Women to Travel Farther for Procedures

Mar 18, 2016

More than half of Texas’ abortion clinics have closed in the past few years, thanks to the state’s controversial abortion law House Bill 2. As a result, the distance some women have to travel to get the procedure has increased fourfold. That’s according to a new study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project.

The study surveyed roughly 400 women in Texas about their experience obtaining an abortion in the wake of HB2. Researchers talked to women whose closest clinic was shuttered and women who still lived relatively close to one. What they found was that women who lost their closest clinic faced a one-way distance to a provider that was on average 70 miles from home. That’s compared to 17 miles before HB2. Liza Fuentes, a co-investigator with the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, says that’s only part of the story.

“For women for whom those burdens were too great to overcome and never made it to the clinic, they couldn’t have been included in the study because they didn’t get to the clinic. So it’s important to remember that there may be other impacts of clinic closures that we weren’t able to capture here.”

Fuentes says about 38 percent of women surveyed faced longer travel distances because of clinic closures. That means women are dealing with higher travel costs, lodging costs, childcare and other out-of-pocket expenses. The study was published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health.