Center for American Progress

Abortion Access Mapped by Congressional District: 6-Week Abortion Ban Update

Abortion Access Mapped by Congressional District: 6-Week Abortion Ban Update

Florida’s extreme abortion ban for women who reach six weeks of pregnancy has essentially cut off abortion access for women in the South; new analysis by the Center for American Progress maps the latest driving times to an abortion clinic and the changes since the Dobbs decision by congressional district that, as a consequence of reduced abortion access, increase average district driving times by 300 percent nationally.

More than 1 in every 3 women in the country who are of reproductive age—ages 15 to 44—live in states that have enacted draconian abortion bans at six weeks of pregnancy or less. But for many women, a clinic appointment is not available until they are at or beyond six weeks pregnant. Women may not be able to schedule an abortion or even know they are pregnant until past the six-week mark, due to unpredictable periods; a lack of accurate, modernized sex education; and the fact that pregnancy tests are most accurate after a missed period. Additionally, accurately determining the age of a pregnancy is more complex than identifying an ovulation, fertilization, or implantation date, and medical practitioners typically initially date pregnancy to a 28-day menstrual cycle—which is not the norm for everyone—and then redate later in pregnancy. In fact, roughly 40 percent of women have their due date adjusted by nearly a week between their last menstrual period and their first ultrasound, which means that even someone using all of the information available to her to anticipate a six-week deadline may be excluded from eligibility by a six-week ban.

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This puts many women in a precarious position for which they have not planned, and the majority of these women make lower incomes compared with women in states without restrictions. As with most health care procedures, a woman seeking abortion care may need to wait days or even more than a week for her provider to have an available appointment. And importantly, abortion care can become necessary for a woman’s health well past the six-week mark: Genetic testing results that point to potential impending crises, a higher risk of miscarriage well past six weeks, and emergency care can all necessitate abortion care. Nationally, women are now traveling distances that are 300 percent longer than they were before the Dobbs decision, while trying to pull together funds to pay for not only the health-related costs of abortion care but also the nonmedical and travel-related costs of receiving health care far from home.

Florida’s abortion ban is disastrous for women in the South

The six-week abortion ban enacted in Florida on May 1, 2024, has essentially removed the last remaining point of access to abortion care for women in the southern United States, forcing women in the state and its neighbors to drive hours, and in some cases days, to obtain an abortion. Obtaining an abortion has become increasingly challenging for women since Dobbs, as extremist legislators and anti-abortion advocates ensure the politicization of the judiciary and work to undermine women’s reproductive health and personal freedoms. Thirty-six percent of reproductive-age women live in one of the 17 states that have restricted abortions for those at six weeks of pregnancy or less.

Before Dobbs, the average driving time to get an abortion across the congressional districts in the contiguous United States was 33 minutes; it now takes women 300 percent longer, or 2 hours and 12 minutes in one direction, for those who have reached six weeks pregnant.

The five states with the largest percentage changes in driving times since the Dobbs decision are:*

  1. Florida, with a 2,391 percent increase—an additional 8 hours and 46 minutes.
  2. Louisiana, with an 875 percent increase—an additional 8 hours and 10 minutes.
  3. Texas, with an 869 percent increase—an additional 6 hours and 31 minutes.
  4. Alabama, with a 798 percent increase—an additional 5 hours and 27 minutes.
  5. Georgia, with a 523 percent increase—an additional 3 hours and 24 minutes.

Nearly 1 in 4 women of reproductive age lives in one of these five states. In the states that have an average travel time of more than one day (8 hours) round trip, according to 2022 American Community Survey data:**

  • 21 percent of women of reproductive age are Black.
  • 43 percent of women of reproductive age are white.
  • 29 percent of women of reproductive age are Hispanic.

To put these numbers into perspective, approximately 12 percent, 58 percent, and 19 percent of the overall U.S. population is Black, white, or  Hispanic, respectively.

A note about the data

This analysis shows the travel times to get to an abortion clinic as of May 1, 2024. It excludes clinics in Florida and its neighboring states, whose residents must travel to North Carolina to access the closest abortion clinics, and they may decide to travel even further to avoid additional barriers and reach a clinic that can provide abortion services to women once they reach six weeks pregnant. For example, clinics in North Carolina require an in-person appointment and then a 72-hour waiting period to get an abortion at less than 12 weeks of pregnancy. This analysis also uses data from August 1, 2021, to compare the pre- and post-Dobbs travel times. This August 2021 base period accounts for pre-Dobbs travel times and the effect of Texas’ S.B. 8, also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, effective as of September 1, 2021, which created a six-week abortion ban in Texas.

In addition to reflecting policy changes, changing driving times reflect clinics that have moved, opened, or closed, as well as roadway changes. This update to the Center for American Progress’ previous methodology uses the latest census tract data provided by Dr. Caitlin Knowles Myers, of Middlebury College, and Alberto Nieto, of Esri to examine driving times for women to get to an abortion clinic that can provide services beyond the six-week limit.***

For more about the methodology, please read

Women of color and low-income women have experienced the largest increases in their travel times since Dobbs

Consistent with CAP’s previous analysis, longer travel times are associated with lower earnings, wider gender wage gaps, and higher rates of poverty. Using 2022 American Community Survey data—the latest available from the U.S. Census Bureau—the authors found that congressional districts with high shares of Black or Hispanic women among those of reproductive age—defined as more than 25 percent of all reproductive-age women in the district—had longer driving times than did districts with lower shares. Driving times to get to an abortion clinic for districts with high shares of Black or Hispanic women were more than 1 hour and 30 minutes longer than times for districts with lower shares of these populations, and Hispanic women were especially affected by the Florida ban.

In Florida alone, the average driving time to a clinic that provides abortions at six weeks of pregnancy or more rose from 22 minutes to 9 hours and 8 minutes—nearly a 25-fold increase—with the largest changes occurring in districts such as FL-27 and FL-28 (which both gained 10 hours and 55 minutes) and FL-19 (which gained 10 hours and 51 minutes).

In Florida alone, the average driving time to a clinic that provides abortions at six weeks of pregnancy or more rose from 22 minutes to 9 hours and 8 minutes—nearly a 25-fold increase.

The Florida abortion ban will disproportionately affect Hispanic women given the state’s demographic makeup. For example, in FL-27 and FL-28, about 2 in 3 women of reproductive age are Hispanic, and in FL-19, nearly 1 in 4 are.

The gap in driving times is larger for Republican-represented districts, but the change in driving times is larger for Democratic-represented districts

In congressional districts with a Democratic representative, the average one-way driving time in May 2024 was 1 hour and 18 minutes, while in districts with a Republican representative, the average driving time was 3 hours and 4 minutes. In August 2021, these driving times were 17 minutes and 47 minutes, respectively. While driving times in Republican-represented congressional districts are more than twice as long as in Democratic-represented districts, those who live in districts with Democratic representatives must drive nearly five times longer than they did before Dobbs, whereas districts with Republican representatives must travel nearly four times longer. The Dobbs decision and state-level bans and restrictions mean that even when a district selects a representative who protects abortion access, rights may be constrained by state lawmakers, antiquated laws being newly enforced, or even officials of neighboring states.


Continued attacks on abortion access will harm the women who can least afford to travel out of state to obtain health care. As states enact these restrictions and travel times grow, the number of births as a direct result of ban-created travel distances is predicted to grow too. Voters in states across the country will consider ballot initiatives over the coming months to protect reproductive rights, but the piecemeal and chaotic map drawn by Dobbs necessitates federal work to expand and protect abortion access.

The author would like to thank Kyle Ross and Isabela Salas-Betsch for providing superb research assistance. Emily Gee, Lily Roberts, Sarah Nadeau, and Sabrina Talukder provided excellent feedback on earlier drafts. Bill Rapp, Beatrice Aronson, and Meghan Miller were instrumental in the development of this web interactive. The author could not have produced this research without the work of Dr. Caitlin Myers, Alberto Nieto, and their colleagues who helped collect these data. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the author.

* The authors found state averages by converting the weighted average travel times of the reproductive-age women’s population from the travel times at the census-tract level; the same method was used to convert to the congressional district level. Therefore, taking a simple average of the congressional districts in a state does not produce the same result as in Table 1.

** Author’s analysis of selected racial and ethnic groups. Race categories do not include people of Hispanic ethnicity or people of multiple races. Hispanic women can be of any race.

*** This information was provided by Dr. Caitlin Myers, John G. McCullough professor of economics at Middlebury College, and Alberto Nieto, product engineer, Esri, in personal communication with the author via email in May 2024.

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Sara Estep

Associate Director


Women’s Initiative

The Women’s Initiative develops robust, progressive policies and solutions to ensure all women can participate in the economy and live healthy, productive lives.

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