How Many Abortion Seekers Are Traveling to California

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and some states, mainly in the South, banned abortions altogether, many Americans began crossing state lines to get one.

In 2023, the first full year after Roe was reversed, the number of patients traveling out of state for an abortion or to get abortion pills was double the figure from 2019, according to new data from the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights. The institute said that nearly one-fifth of all recorded abortions involved interstate travel.

The New York Times recently captured that trend in a fascinating set of maps.

“We’re having people travel hundreds or thousands of miles for a procedure that typically takes less than 10 minutes and can be done in a doctor’s office setting,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, the founder of Whole Woman’s Health, which runs clinics in Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico and Virginia. “Nobody does that for any other medical procedure.”

California has positioned itself as a safe haven for abortion seekers.

In the past two years, state legislators in Sacramento have passed several laws fortifying access to abortion. The state Constitution was amended to guarantee the right to abortion and contraception. California, along with Oregon and Washington, officially declared that abortion patients and providers would be protected from the legal reach of other states.

Just last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill temporarily allowing Arizona abortion providers to travel to California to provide abortions to their Arizona patients. The move was in response to a possible reinstatement of a 160-year-old near-total ban on abortions in Arizona, through what Newsom called “oppressive and dangerous attacks on women.” (The Arizona Legislature ultimately blocked the ban from going back into effect.)

“California stands ready to protect reproductive freedom,” the governor said at the time.

The data from Guttmacher shows that 179,610 abortions were performed in California in 2023, which is 19 percent more than in 2019. About 4 percent of the 2023 abortions — or 7,184 — were for patients who don’t live in California.

While that is a significant figure, the influx is not as large as some other states have experienced, especially those that neighbor states with abortion bans. (California doesn’t border any state that bans abortion entirely; Arizona now bans the procedure after 18 weeks of pregnancy, an earlier limit than under Roe v. Wade.)

The situation is different in a state like New Mexico, which borders two states — Oklahoma and Texas — that effectively ban abortions. In 2023, more than 14,000 patients traveled there from Texas alone. The total number of abortions performed in New Mexico in 2023 was more than quadruple the figure from 2019, and 71 percent of the patients were nonresidents.

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Two bald eagles, Jackie and Shadow, have attracted quite a following online, as hundreds of thousands of people regularly watch a livestream of the pair’s nest. Several of the eagles’ most loyal fans met up at Big Bear Lake over the weekend to connect and share a love for the birds.

Some attendees at the meet-up spotted the two eagles flying in the area during their visit, The LAist reported. The event, hosted by Sandy Steers, executive director of Friends of Big Bear Valley, was part of an annual Outdoor Adventure Days program with activities like kayaking and birding.

There was even Jackie and Shadow merchandise available, including sweatshirts, tote bags and plush toys.

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