map of Texas clinics before and after law

New Study Shows How Texas Law Has Increased Abortion Travel Distances and Costs

The Texas Policy Evaluation Project, which has been measuring the impact of Texas’s 2014 anti-choice TRAP law, is out with another study quantifying the many ways women were burdened when half the abortion clinics in their state suddenly closed. 

Building on its previous research illustrating how the law has decreased the legal abortion rate, increased wait times at clinics, and may have pushed tens of thousands of women to attempt self-induced abortions, this latest analysis shows the impact in terms of longer travel distances, higher out-of-pocket costs, overnight stays, and decreased access to medication abortion.

The study compared the experiences of abortion patients whose nearest clinic had been forced to shut down due to the law to those of women whose access remained unchanged. The nearly 40 percent of women who’d lost their local clinic had to travel four times farther: an average of 85 miles, compared with 22 miles among those whose nearest clinic remained open. In addition:

Thirty-two percent of women whose nearest clinic closed reported spending more than $100 in out-of-pocket expenses beyond the cost of the abortion (i.e., lost wages, child care, transportation, or overnight costs) as opposed to 20 percent of women whose nearest clinic did not close. More than three times the number of women whose nearest clinic had closed reported needing to stay overnight (16 percent compared to 5 percent among those whose nearest clinic did not close). Thirty-seven percent of women whose nearest clinic closed did not get the medication abortion they wanted—instead scheduling a surgical procedure—as opposed to 22 percent of women whose nearest clinic did not close. Women themselves noted the burdens to obtaining care, with 36 percent of women whose nearest clinic closed reporting that obtaining an abortion was difficult, in comparison to 18 percent in the nearest-clinic-open group.

Hopefully the Supreme Court will recognize that having to travel farther, pay more, and do a more invasive procedure — for no justifiable reason whatsoever — is an entirely undue burden, one that could very well be insurmountable for some low-income women.

Header image credit: The New York Times

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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