Before the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Texan women were already suffering greatly, forced to travel out of state to get an abortion since abortion became illegal there in September 2021. Now, two of Texas’s bordering states have also made abortion illegal with laws triggered with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn what was supposedly “settled law.”
With Abortion Illegal in Kansas and Oklahoma, how long do Women Have to Travel for an Abortion?
To understand the burden of travel time for Texans, We used Google Maps API to calculate travel time from each Texas Zip code, to the the closest out of state abortion clinics in New Mexico and Louisiana (where as of publishing, are the two Texas border states where abortion is still legal).
Above you can see these travel times visualized as a heatmap. The darker the red, the longer the travel time to the closest out of state abortion clinic. Dark red portions show travel times of longer than 7 hours.
If Louisiana Makes Abortion Illegal Permanently, things get a WHOLE lot worse.
On July,29 2022 Louisiana’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court must grant Attorney General Jeff Landry’s request for a “suspensive appeal,” which means the lower court’s order blocking the law must be suspended while Landry appeals. This makes abortion effectively illegal in LA for the time being.
For now, and likely in the future as well (if the efforts to block the ban fail), travel times to get a legal abortion for Texan women will skyrocket. Below is a heatmap visualization of the minimum travel times to get to the closest, legal, out of state abortion clinic.
Dark red is 9+ hours of travel time.
Travel Time and Cost
Given the average MPG for Americans is around 25 miles per gallon, a ten hour drive would (avg 700 miles), would require 28 gallons of gas. As of today, gas in Texas averages 4.21/gallon.
For much of the eastern part of the state, the gas travel cost alone would average $117 just to get to an out of state abortion clinic.
Additionally, because a 10 hr drive cant be done in a day, almost all travelers in the eastern half of the state would likely also need to pay for at least one night of accommodations.
Even with the cheapest possible overnight stays, the average cost for an out of state abortion, just to travel is likely now north of $200, and two days of travel for most of eastern Texas.
Most zip codes in Texas were able to be researched. Zip codes without data are blank. Travel time estimations were made using the Google’s Distance Matrix API. Location for travel times was taken using the Zip code only. This means zip code travel times are measured from the central point in the Texas county to the center point of the out of state destination county.