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Out-of-state abortions in Colorado more than doubled in 2022

Bottles of the drug misoprostol sit on a table at the West Alabama Women's Center, March 15, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Allen G. Breed/AP
Misoprostol induces uterus contractions that expel an embryo or fetus and other tissue. A federal judge in Texas will heard arguments Wednesday, March 15, 2023, in a high-stakes court case that could threaten access to abortion medication and blunt the authority of U.S. drug regulators.

According to provisional state data, 3,835 women traveled to Colorado for abortions last year compared to 1,560 the previous year. Out of all abortions in the state last year, 28% were for non-residents.

“I think the numbers provide data to confirm what we have expected to see and what we have been hearing from providers as well as supporters of people seeking abortion,” Kate Coleman-Minahan, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado College of Nursing said.

In 2022, the majority of out-of-state patients came from Texas. Ten years ago, state data shows only 11 women from Texas came here for abortions. Last year, that number rose to 2,345.

“It's disappointing and concerning and it's really a tragedy that people have to leave their state to get essential health care,” Coleman-Minahan said. “I'm grateful that Colorado is continuing to provide and protect that care.”

The increase in travel to Colorado clinics, follows the implementation of a law in Texas in 2021 that bans abortion after six weeks. Then, last June, the Supreme Court overturned federal abortion protections. Last week, Wyoming’s governor signed a bill into law banning abortion pills in the state. A federal judge in Texas is weighing a lawsuit that could halt distribution of one type of abortion pill.

Meanwhile, Colorado lawmakers are considering three bills dealing with reproductive healthcare that are currently facing extensive debate. One would add protections for out-of-state patients seeking abortions in Colorado and for the Colorado providers who treat them.

As KUNC's Senior Editor and Reporter, my job is to find out what’s important to northern Colorado residents and why. I seek to create a deeper sense of urgency and understanding around these issues through in-depth, character driven daily reporting and series work.
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