Skip

Abortion in America
January 24, 2013 7:22 AM   Subscribe

The Geography of Abortion Access - Forty years ago Tuesday, the Supreme Court ushered in legal abortion for American women when it decided in Roe v. Wade. Today, states—particularly in the South and Midwest—are eroding that right by legislating hundreds of provisions intended to impede access with burdensome obstacles. To understand more fully the complex state of access to abortion services in America, The Daily Beast identified and confirmed the location of the country’s remaining 724 clinics and calculated the distance from every part of the country to its closest clinic. (more)
posted by Artw (26 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
[Folks, please interact with the content of the post and don't just pick up your abortion argument from where you left off in the last thread.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:41 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The "Show female population, ages 15-44" overlay provides a great deal of context.
posted by zamboni at 7:51 AM on January 24, 2013


Yea, the "Show female ..." checkbox really highlights the situation in my SD hometown and a number of other population centers from Amarillo TX to Williston ND.
posted by achrise at 8:00 AM on January 24, 2013


zamboni: "The "Show female population, ages 15-44" overlay provides a great deal of context."

What is that overlay actually showing? Obviously there are more women of those ages in areas with pink dots, but just as obviously there are not huge reaches of Montana where literally 100 percent of the female population is either prepubescent or menopausal.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:00 AM on January 24, 2013


This is really pretty interesting. Out of curiosity, does this type of manipulable data exist for other types of medical services, like say, locating a specialist doctor? Seems like that would be valuable information for patients and for doctors looking to start or expand a practice.
posted by resurrexit at 8:01 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


What is that overlay actually showing? Obviously there are more women of those ages in areas with pink dots, but just as obviously there are not huge reaches of Montana where literally 100 percent of the female population is either prepubescent or menopausal.

It's showing basically the same thing as the photo of the US from space at night, which is to say that the areas that have no clinics are also the areas that have very few people. If you live in the least densely populated part ofd the country, there are a lot of things you don't have access to. If you put a map of Ikea locations or amusement parks or public libraries up instead of one for abortion clinics, the map would look basically the same.


Can I ask what counts as a "clinic" for these purposes? Is this *anywhere* that can perform abortions, or only Planned Parenthood locations, or what? Is there a list anywhere of what sort of facilities can provide abortion services? What about obstetricians offices or hospitals or general practitioners? Which of these can provide abortions, are they counted in this list of "clinics"? What's a clinic?
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:55 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


which is to say that the areas that have no clinics are also the areas that have very few people

Well, yes and no...my hometown is a mid-sized urban area of about 200,000 people, and apparently (according to this map) there is no abortion clinic there. It looks like you have to travel about 90 miles to get to the nearest one. With the 24-hour waiting period in effect, you would either have to get a motel or drive several hours two days in a row.

Now, granted, 200,000 people aren't exactly setting the night sky ablaze with their urban glare, but still. That's a substantial number of women being put to prohibitive inconvenience.
posted by daisystomper at 9:25 AM on January 24, 2013


P.S. They do, however, have a very large and nice public library, no doubt to give ample reading and viewing material on the joy of motherhood to women who are reluctantly keeping their unborn fetuses.
posted by daisystomper at 9:28 AM on January 24, 2013


I'm sure you don't think I meant that the maps of Ikea locations, public libraries, and abortion clinics would be 100% identical.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:30 AM on January 24, 2013


It's showing basically the same thing as the photo of the US from space at night, which is to say that the areas that have no clinics are also the areas that have very few people.

Except the female-population overlay is binary - an area either has a dot or it doesn't. So what's the cutoff between "very few" and "just barely enough to merit a dot"?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:32 AM on January 24, 2013


Which of these can provide abortions, are they counted in this list of "clinics"?

While theoretically any OB-GYN could perform a first trimester abortion (an older one at least, I understand most medical schools have been ressued into no longer even teaching the proceedure anymore), the reality is that abortions are only performed at stand-alone sites, typically called "clinics". If the anti-choice extremeist find any doctor is performing abortions at all, even just an occasional "theraputic" abortion (for the woman's health, as opposed to an "elective" abortion, because she chooses to end the pregnancy), they get the full press protests. Lines of protestors waving signs, every patient, regardless of why she's there, harrassed and implored not to murder her baby, every doctor at that practice labelled a baby murderer, their privacy distroyed, their lives, homes and families threatened. Their malpractice insurance would sky-rocket, their property insurance would sky rocket (due to the possibility of getting bombed), and they would lose all other patients because of the harassment, so perforce they would either stop performing abortions or becom an abortion only facility.

The reality is that in this anti-choice environment, if you perform any abortions, you are pretty restricted to reproductive health only. (Planned parenthood offers other services, such as well-woman exams, pre-natal care, STD testing and BC, but independant clinics usually don't.) You also pretty much have to own your own stand alone building. No-one wants to take the risk of renting to you and other businesses aren't going to want to share a building with you.
posted by pbrim at 9:35 AM on January 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Bad news is the nearest clinic for a woman in Ely County, Nevada is over 200 miles away. The good news is that the nearest man to impregnate you is too.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:43 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The reality is that in this anti-choice environment, if you perform any abortions, you are pretty restricted to reproductive health only.

This isn't entirely accurate. Abortions are performed at all sorts of facilities. And there's an increasing movement in family medicine to incorporate comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortions, into general family practice.

This map is visually interesting. But it fails to convey the reality, which is that if you're poor, or without a car, a clinic that's 50 miles away may as well be 1000 miles away.
posted by cowboy_sally at 9:57 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sure you don't think I meant that the maps of Ikea locations, public libraries, and abortion clinics would be 100% identical.

No, of course not. My point was more that while this map does roughly correspond to population density, there are some unexpected and not insignificant mismatches between several areas' populations and their abortion services availability. I think it's more interesting to take a closer look at the map for these details than to look at the big-picture view of the country, which is pretty much what we already knew.
posted by daisystomper at 9:58 AM on January 24, 2013


It is interesting to note the states that have no or very few clinics are north and south dakota, nebraska, kansas, wyoming, utah, nevada. These states also are the ones that have a dot but no cline when the female population overlay is applied. The south and texas actually have a decent number of clinics, except for the panhandle.

No surprise, colorado has a bunch of clinics, even in the mountains where the population is sparse. The takeaway from this chart shouldn't be that most populated centers have abortion clinics, it should be that places that respect abortion rights have clinics situated to serve the population, and states that don't only have clinics in high density areas where the risk taken in opening and working in an abortion clinic is outweighed by the need for one.
posted by ianhattwick at 10:01 AM on January 24, 2013




Asking because I do not know: can people in, say, northwestern North Dakota go to Canada for abortion services?
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:29 AM on January 24, 2013


The south and texas actually have a decent number of clinics, except for the panhandle.

Look at the restrictions as you move the cursor across those states. These affect women disproportionately in those areas. The lone clinic in Mississippi is under siege by these laws. One of the (formerly) four late-term abortion clinics in the nation, shuttered since the killing of Dr. Tiller in 2009, is now struggling to reopen with the new restrictions accommodated.

The rules change as the weeks increase and sometimes delay can effectively deny access. On that, the count of weeks, begins at the date of the last period--even if you know for a certainty conception occurred two weeks later.
posted by Anitanola at 10:33 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the filters for restrictions is "Told fetus feels pain."

I cannot come up with a more eloquent response than "What a fucked up thing to say to someone."
posted by sio42 at 10:52 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]




I'm sure you don't think I meant that the maps of Ikea locations, public libraries, and abortion clinics would be 100% identical.

I'm sure you didn't mean to characterize necessary medical services as Ikea stores and amusement parks.
posted by gladly at 11:35 AM on January 24, 2013


Emjaybee, that is truly revolting. Calling a woman's body a crime scene is gross.
posted by agregoli at 11:55 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sure you didn't mean to characterize necessary medical services as Ikea stores and amusement parks.

Only insofar as they all tend to built near where lots of people live. I was once vacationing at a lake in the woods, and needed to take an ambulance to the nearest hospital, which was over a two hour drive away. This was not because of some ulterior anti-hospital motive, but because the lake was out in the woods and had very few permanent residents.

To ignore this fact of population density in this discussion is dishonest.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:24 PM on January 24, 2013


According to the Guttmacher Institute's "Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States" from August 2011, 69% of women seeking an abortion have incomes lower than 200% of the federal poverty level; 42% of women are at 100% or less. Adding a car trip of 50 or more miles, and possibly an overnight hotel stay, to the $500 or so dollars for the procedure puts abortion almost completely out of reach for the majority of women who may want one. This is not an accident.

cf. The recent adventures in gerrymandering.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:45 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


> Can I ask what counts as a "clinic" for these purposes?

It says above the map that they "focused on clinics and doctor’s offices whose primary businesses are abortion services."
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:47 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]




« Older Pseudoscorpions In Flight   |   Soon, you too can become a flash drive. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post