Women from out of state are seeking abortions in Massachusetts at an estimated 37.5% higher rate than prior to the loss of federal abortion rights in 2022, according to a new study published in JAMA Network Open.
Interstate travel for abortion care reportedly increased since the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June 2022 overturned the federal right to abortion.
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) provides more than half of all abortions in Massachusetts, a state with few abortion restrictions.
The researchers calculated the difference between observed and expected abortion rates had the Dobbs decision not occurred for in- and out-of-state patients at PPLM.
They established baseline rates of abortion through analysis of electronic health records from patients at PPLM from January 2018 to October 2022.
The researchers also estimated changes in the percentage of out-of-state vs in- state patients receiving charitable funding for their abortions.
After Dobbs, PPLM saw an estimated 6.2% increase in the total number of abortions above the expected number.
The number of abortions among out-of-state residents rose 37.5% over what was expected.
Most patients were from neighboring states, but some came from as far as Florida and Texas, the latter of which has outlawed abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy.
The percentage of out-of-state patients receiving funding for abortions increased from 8.4% to 18.3%, and rose from 1.9% to 3.1% for in-state patients.
"As new data become available, methods like ours may promptly identify areas with changing patient needs," the study authors wrote.
The study was led by Elizabeth Janiak, ScD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Her team reported receiving no funding for the study.
The post-Dobbs sample size was only a little over 3200 women. Patient data was limited to PPLM.
Isabel Fulcher, one of the study authors, is the vice president of data science at Delfina Care, which is affiliated with PPLM.
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Cite this: Abortions for Out-of-State Patients Up in Massachusetts - Medscape - Sep 06, 2023.