WSU Abortion Access Research Featured in The Seattle Times

MAP of United States showing high risk areas

Newly released data from the Washington State Department of Health and reported by The Seattle Times shows the number of abortions provided in Washington state rose 23% last year. More than 20,000 abortions were performed in the state in 2022. That is nearly 3,800 more than in 2021 and shows a reversal of long-term decline in the number of abortions performed in the state.

Analysis by The Seattle Times found that an influx of patients from outside Washington contributed to the increase. More than 1,400 people residing outside the state sought abortion care in Washington in 2022, a 46% increase over the previous year. Abortions among residents grew 22%.

The article also highlights research by Dawn Kopp, MD, MPH, the vice chair for OBGYN at Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. Kopp is the senior author on a study in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology that found 41.8% of U.S. women of reproductive age have to drive 30 minutes or more to reach an abortion care facility. While her research aligns with the new data showing more people are traveling to Washington for abortions, she points out that access is not only limited by state law.

“Access does not simply rely on states’ abortion laws, but rather is a product of geographic access, legislative access, and health care professional availability,” Kopp told The Seattle Times. “Even within a state where abortion is not restricted (such as Washington state), the time it takes for a person to travel to an abortion facility can vary widely.”

Kopp’s research has been cited by media around the world since it was published over the summer. You can read more about her findings in WSU Insider.

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