Navigation of in-person abortion and support agency services for people that travel to seek care in central and southern Illinois
Awarded 2024
Traveling to abortion care, post-Dobbs
Tuyet Mai Hoang, PhD
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

The central and southern Illinois regions consist of 78 counties, most of them rural, that are reproductive care deserts (Abortion Finder, 2023; Declercq & Zephyrin, 2021; March of Dimes, 2023; Smith et al., 2022). These two regions have been the site of rising anti-abortion acts of violence since Dobbs (Jiménez, 2023) as well as an increase in “crisis pregnancy centers” that work to lessen abortion rates through discouragement, delay, and other tactics (Crisis Pregnancy Center Map, 2023; Kruesi & Willingham, 2022). Voters in both regions are highly divided on the topic of abortion (Holcomb, 2022), which can create challenges in the care coordination process, shaping the context-dependent barriers and abortion-specific experiences for people who travel here to seek care (Coast et al., 2018; Mishtal et al., 2022; Rader et al., 2022). There is an urgent need to examine these challenges to design sustainable solutions. The purpose of this project is to explore the experiences of travelers coming to two central and southern Illinois cities (i.e., Champaign and Carbondale) as well as the needs of local abortion clinics and support organizations in these cities. This research aims to bring about multilevel changes in addressing the challenges faced by residents of central and southern Illinois and people who travel to seek care in these regions for long-term sustainable system of care. Lastly, our hope is that this project will start the process of destigmatizing reproductive healthcare within the community as well as increasing resources and support for abortion providers and staff to improve quality of care.