Whether your center is located in a state where abortion is restricted or not, it is important to be prepared to speak with clients about the risks associated with traveling across state lines for abortion services. In this article, I will list a few important considerations to keep in mind when having this conversation with clients.
Logistical Challenges: Traveling out of state for an abortion procedure can be difficult, especially for those who live in rural areas or who have limited financial resources. This may involve booking and paying for multiple forms of transportation and lodging on top of securing an appointment at a facility. Depending on state laws and the type of procedure, this may involve more than one appointment.
Expenses: The cost for an abortion procedure can be significant, and traveling for the procedure can add to expenses. In addition to the cost of the procedure, women should consider the additional expenses of medication, comfort measures, lodging, travel and meals for both herself and her support person.
Time Constraints: Depending on the state and the stage of the pregnancy, there may be waiting periods or other restrictions that could make it difficult to schedule the procedure in a timely manner. It's also important to factor in how many days off may be needed from work or school and well as for travel and recovery.
Legal Restrictions: Some states have laws that place significant restrictions on access to abortion, such as mandatory waiting periods, viability scans, consultations, parental consent requirements, or bans on certain types of procedures. It's also pertinent to add that some states have laws that are in flux since the overturning of Roe vs Wade.
Potential for Complications: Though rare, significant complications can occur during an abortion procedure that could require emergency hospital care. Lesser complications such as retained fetal parts or continued pregnancy would require timely care to ensure the health and safety of the woman. If complications are discover after returning to her home, this releases the abortion provider from any responsibility and places it solely on the likely ill-informed patient.
Access to Aftercare: Following an abortion procedure, individuals may need access to aftercare, such as counseling, medication or in rare cases, surgery. In some cases, this may not be easily obtained in the state where the patient lives, which could complicate the recovery process and add to expenses. Not to mention that women who live in states where abortion is illegal may be apprehensive about telling medical professionals that she has underwent and abortion.
Privacy Concerns: Traveling out of state for an abortion procedure may raise privacy concerns, as individuals may not want to disclose their reason for being away. It's also important to consider that if a complication were to arise, the individual may need to disclose information about the procedure to their medical or healthcare professional in order to receive the best possible care.
For staff in states where abortion is heavily restricted, it is important that you be prepared for these conversations over the phone and have resources at the ready that be texted to clients who decline an appointment.