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The Accessibility of Abortion Services in the United States
Stanley K. Henshaw
Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 23, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1991), pp. 246-252+263
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2135775
Page Count: 8
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Abortion services are provided in hospitals, doctors' offices and various types of clinics, but about two-thirds of procedures are performed in specialized abortion clinics. While this system appears to work well for most women, some women seeking abortion face obstacles related to distance, cost, harassment and special medical conditions. Nine percent of nonhospital abortion patients must travel more than 100 miles and 18 percent travel 50 to 100 miles for services. The average woman having a first-trimester non-hospital abortion paid $251 in 1989. Fees were higher in facilities with small abortion caseloads. An abortion at 10 weeks' gestation in a hospital cost an average of $1,757. Charges for abortions at 16 weeks averaged $509 in abortion clinics, compared with $1,539 in hospitals for curettage and $2,246 for instillation procedures. Some women face other barriers: Only 43 percent of all abortion facilities offer services past 12 weeks, and 27-37 percent of non-hospital facilities say they do not treat patients who test positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. Women who need special services such as an administration of Rh immunoglobulin, general anesthesia or HIV testing usually pay extra for these services. In addition, 85 percent of nonhospital facilities that serve 400 or more abortion patients a year reported some form of antiabortion harassment in 1988, most commonly picketing; there was virtually no change in this proportion between 1985 and 1988.
Family Planning Perspectives © 1991 Guttmacher Institute