Changes in interstate travel for abortion post-Dobbs: Evaluating state of residence data to quantify patient flow into access states and travel distances from abortion ban states
Awarded 2023
Leveraging existing resources to document the impact of Dobbs
Mikaela Smith, PhD
The Ohio State University

The Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization upended the abortion ecosystem in the US by allowing states to restrict, or entirely ban, abortion care. In this study, we will examine the impacts that this change had on interstate travel for abortion. We will leverage data from #WeCount on abortion utilization by state and patient state of residence, and data from the Post-Dobbs State Abortion Restrictions and Protections database on post-Dobbs state policies. This study has three goals: 1) to assess the quality and usability of the #WeCount patient state data and determine the generalizability of subsequent findings; 2) in states that maintained abortion access, to estimate changes in the proportion of out-of-state patients and their state of origin pre- and post-Dobbs; and 3) in states that banned clinician provision of abortion, we will estimate the changes in distances patients traveled for abortion care pre- and post-Dobbs. We will apply an equity framework to this project by contextualizing our findings in prior research showing the ways in which barriers to abortion care, and impacts of being denied abortion care, are inequitably distributed such that those experiencing the detrimental consequences of structural racism, classism, and sexism are multiplicatively harmed by these laws. In doing so, we will contribute to a growing body of literature describing how the necessity of traveling further distances and across state lines can greatly inhibit access to necessary abortion care.