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Many women in Florida are unable to access abortions after 6 weeks. What alternatives are available to them?

Abortion Rights Protestors (Via Munank Sharma/Shutterstock)

When Florida recently passed a law banning abortions after six weeks, clinics in nearby Southern and mid-Atlantic states quickly responded, expecting women to seek services there instead.

Healthcare providers in North Carolina, located three states to the north, are actively expanding their services and aiming to reduce appointment wait times.

“We’re already booking appointments,” said Katherine Farris, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. “We have patients scheduled who couldn’t get appointments in the final days of April in Florida.”

This reaction is part of a national trend in the United States: Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, prompting over 20 states to implement laws restricting or banning abortions, states with more lenient laws have moved to accommodate women seeking to terminate pregnancies.

Following the court’s decision in June 2022, some states under Democratic control have made it easier for out-of-state women to access abortions.

Parenthood Healthcare Center (Via Tim Johnson/Shutter Images)

Several states have enacted laws protecting local healthcare providers from facing scrutiny for providing abortions to women from states with bans.

These measures have included allowing providers to offer abortion pills, the most common method, via telehealth. Officials in states like California, New Mexico, and Oregon have allocated state funds to enhance access to abortion services.

In 2023, Florida reported over 84,000 abortions, slightly more than in 2022. By April 1 of this year, the state had reported around 14,700 abortions, potentially leaving many women considering travel out of state.

“Patients will travel when they’re desperate to get an abortion,” said Mara Buchbinder, a professor of social medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “That’s well-documented.”

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