Experiences Accessing Abortion Care in Alabama among Women Traveling for Services

Academic Article


  • Background: In Alabama, more than one-half of reproductive-aged women live in counties without an abortion provider. State regulations require in-person counseling (or confirmed receipt of materials sent by certified mail) followed by a 48-hour waiting period. We explored the impact of this service and policy environment on experiences accessing abortion care for women traveling long distances to clinics. Methods: We conducted in-depth interviews with 25 women who traveled more than 30 miles to an Alabama clinic providing abortion care between July and September 2014. Women were interviewed by telephone at least 1 day after their consultation, procedure, or follow-up visit. We used content analysis methods to code and analyze interview transcripts. Findings: Almost all women found a clinic by searching online or talking to others in their social networks who had abortions. These strategies did not always direct women to the closest clinic, and some described searches that yielded inaccurate information. The majority of women did not believe an in-person consultation visit was necessary and found it to be burdensome because of the extra travel required and long waits at the clinic. Two-thirds of the women were unable to schedule their abortion 48 hours later owing to work schedules or because appointments were offered only once a week, and four women were delayed until their second trimester even though they sought services earlier in pregnancy. Conclusions: It is often difficult for women in communities without an abortion provider to find and access timely abortion care. Efforts are needed to make abortion more accessible and prevent further restrictions on services.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • White K; deMartelly V; Grossman D; Turan JM
  • Start Page

  • 298
  • End Page

  • 304
  • Volume

  • 26
  • Issue

  • 3