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Factors Hindering Access to Abortion Services

Stanley K. Henshaw
Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 27, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 1995), pp. 54-59+87
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2135905
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2135905
Page Count: 7
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Factors Hindering Access to Abortion Services
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Abstract

Although abortion services are readily available in large urban areas to those able to pay, a 1993 survey of U.S. abortion providers shows that access to service is still problematic for many women because of barriers related to distance, gestation limits, costs and harassment. Among women who have nonhospital abortions, an estimated 24% travel at least 50 miles from their home to the abortion facility. Although 98% of providers will perform abortions at eight weeks after the last menstrual period, only 48% will perform abortions at 13 weeks and 13% at 21 weeks. Half of nonhospital abortion providers estimate that more than four days elapse on average between their patients' first telephone contact and the date of the procedure; one in seven say that more than one week elapses. Most women are able to obtain abortion services in one visit to a clinic. The average woman having a first-trimester nonhospital abortion with local anesthesia paid $296 for the procedure in 1993, up from $251 in 1989. On average, nonhospital facilities charged $604 at 16 weeks of gestation and $1,067 at 20 weeks. Eighty-six percent of nonhospital facilities providing 400 or more abortions in 1992 were the targets of antiabortion harassment. Picketing at facilities and the homes of staff members, vandalism and chemical attacks increased significantly between 1988 and 1992, but the incidence of bomb threats decreased.

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