Differences in Financial and Social Burdens Experienced by Patients Traveling for Abortion Care

Amy N. Addante, Rachel Paul, Megan Dorsey, Colleen McNicholas, Tessa Madden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: We compared perceived stress between women traveling 50 or fewer miles and more than 50 miles for abortion care. Secondary objectives were to compare individual-level stigma and hardship scores in patients by distance traveled to the clinic. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of patients presenting for care at an independent abortion clinic in southern Illinois. Participants completed a self-administered, tablet computer-based survey asking about their experiences seeking abortion, including the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and Individual Level Abortion Stigma (ILAS) scale. We created a composite score to characterize patient hardship regarding abortion care (range, 0–4). We examined responses stratified by the patients’ self-reported one-way distance traveled to the clinic (group 1, ≤50 miles; group 2, >50 miles). Results: A total of 308 women completed the survey. There was no significant difference in mean PSS scores (p = .71) or median ILAS scores (p = .40) between groups. A majority of the cohort reported moderate or high stress (68.2%). The median hardship score was significantly higher in the greater than 50 mile group (median, 1 [interquartile range, 0–2] vs. 2 [interquartile range 1–3]; p < .001). Patients who traveled more than 50 miles reported difficulties related to missing work (58.3%), delays in obtaining an abortion owing to financial costs (35.7%), lodging (13.9%), and transportation (11.3%). Conclusions: There was no difference in PSS or ILAS scores by distance traveled among patients seeking an abortion; however, patients who traveled more than 50 miles had a higher hardship score, suggesting greater difficulty accessing abortion. The most common difficulties encountered included missing time from work and financial costs associated with the abortion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-431
Number of pages6
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


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