Mothers seeking later-term abortions appear to be traveling across state lines more often to end their unborn babies’ lives, according to a new AP investigation.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control indicates that at least 276,000 women traveled to another state for an abortion between 2012 and 2017, about a .5 percent increase from the previous five years, the report found.
Though the report does not break down the number by gestation or other factors, it appears that some of those women may have been seeking abortions later in their pregnancies.
A number of them traveled to states where abortions are legal past 20 weeks, such as Georgia and Kansas, and to states where they are legal past viability, including New Mexico. At least 13 states saw more out-of-state women coming for abortions in that time period, according to the report.
One woman, an Alabama nurse, traveled to Georgia to abort her unborn baby after five months of pregnancy. She told the AP that her unborn son, Sebastian, only had half a heart and she did not want him to suffer. Strong evidence indicates that unborn babies can feel intense pain by five months, if not sooner.
“I felt the only way to guarantee that he would not have any suffering was to go through with the abortion,” she said
Her home state of Alabama prohibits abortions after 20 weeks. So, three years ago, she traveled about 180 miles to Atlanta, Georgia to have her son aborted in what was a likely extremely painful later-term abortion death.
Late-term abortions also may have been a factor in the increase in New Mexico.
The number of out-of-state women who obtained abortions in New Mexico during that time period more than doubled from 11% to 25%, the AP reports. The publication suggests this is because Albuquerque, New Mexico, hosts one of the only abortion clinics in the country that will perform close to third trimester abortions without conditions.
Meanwhile, women largely traveled to Kansas and Illinois to abort their babies. Missouri women accounted for almost half the amount of abortions obtained in Kansas during that period.
The number of abortions performed on out-of-state women in Illinois more than doubled to 16.5% of all reported U.S. abortions in 2017, a massive move which the AP suggests resulted from the fact that Missouri is one of that has only one abortion provider.
Advocates suggest different reasons for the increase in out-of-state abortions, including pro-life laws, a decrease in unplanned pregnancies, the closure of abortion facilities, an increased knowledge of fetal development and more pregnancy resources; but all these factors indicate that pro-life advocates are making a difference for life.
The purpose of pro-life advocates’ work is not just to close abortion clinics or restrict abortions. The goal is to save lives.
“I have been insistent in telling my pro-life colleagues that’s all well and good if the last abortion clinic shuts down, but it’s no victory if women end up driving 10 minutes across the river to Granite City or to Fairview Heights,” Sam Lee, director of Campaign Life Missouri, told the AP.
Cole Muzio, executive director of the Family Policy Alliance of Georgia, said they are seeing hearts and minds changed for life.
“We are seeing this trend toward life and a realization of what science tells us about when life begins,” Muzio said. “Just because something is legal does not mean that it is good.”
The good news is that abortion numbers are down – and have been going down for years. The latest Centers for Disease Control report shows abortions at an all-time low since 1973, the year when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade.
The report recorded 638,169 abortions in 2015, a 2-percent drop from 2014. The abortion rate also declined to 11.8 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age. That is a 26-percent decline since 2006, Newsmax reports.
Among teenagers, the rate declined even more drastically – a full 54 percent since 2006, according to the CDC. In comparison to live births, the CDC reported 188 abortions per 1,000 live births, a 19-percent drop from 2006.