Washington, D.C. — Across the country, conservative state legislatures have aggressively pursued hundreds of measures intended to block access to abortions, often creating steep financial barriers for women in the process. Today, ThinkProgress released a first-of-its-kind analysis quantifying the extreme cost burden that typical low- or middle-income women may face when obtaining an abortion.
Although the medical cost of an abortion varies widely across clinics and states, national data collected by ThinkProgress show that out-of-pocket costs for an abortion can range from $375 in the first trimester to $6,531 at 22 weeks. These figures do not take into account the additional fees women may encounter when seeking and obtaining an abortion, including fees caused by legislative barriers that create a complex web of restrictions, impose mandated waiting periods, and produce geographic barriers by reducing the number of service providers available to women when clinics are forced to close.
In Wisconsin, for example, where the courts are weighing the legality of one harsh anti-abortion measure that would force at least one of the state’s abortion clinics to close, the analysis reveals that the cost of obtaining an abortion could total up to $1,380 for a low-income single mother, when calculating both medical procedure costs and other charges related to gas, a hotel stay, child care, and lost wages from taking time off work. Meanwhile, for a middle-income childless woman living comfortably in the city, the cost of obtaining an abortion could amount to nearly $600, a significantly lower amount than what a low-income woman may face.
As outlined by ThinkProgress’ Tara Culp-Ressler and Erica Hellerstein, these mounting costs can quickly become prohibitive, putting an undue burden on low-income women already experiencing economic hardship. These costs can be so prohibitive, in fact, that some women are denied abortions after they are unable to save the money necessary for the procedure within the gestational limit. Such dire cases also present a critical legal question: How expensive does obtaining an abortion have to be before the courts must intervene and protect low-income women’s right to an abortion guaranteed under Roe v. Wade?
ThinkProgress’ analysis also contains a state-by-state map charting abortion restrictions and average costs to obtain an abortion nationwide.
Read the full investigation here: Pricing American Women Out Of Abortion, One Restriction At A Time by Tara Culp-Ressler and Erica Hellerstein
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.478.5328.