Abortion Access Mapped by Congressional District

Who is the typical woman of reproductive age in each congressional district? What is her income? What is her demographic profile? Does she live in poverty? How far must she travel to get an abortion? A new Center for American Progress analysis answers these questions and more for the districts of the 118th Congress (January 2023–January 2025).

When the far-right U.S. Supreme Court majority upended nearly 50 years of precedent and eradicated the constitutional right to an abortion with its June 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, it specifically designated the question of abortion access to the states. As of March 2024, this has led to 14 states enacting abortion restrictions that are considered near-total bans and seven states enacting bans on abortion at six to 18 weeks of gestation. However, ongoing litigation in certain states continues to put abortion access in flux for the millions of reproductive-age women that live in these states, and the data herein only capture driving times as of September 1, 2023. Restrictions to abortion access put the lives and economic security of women across the country at risk.

In one of the most detailed data collection initiatives to analyze the impact of the Dobbs decision, Dr. Caitlin Knowles Myers and her colleagues at Middlebury College and Esri compiled an Abortion Access Dashboard. This dashboard details how long women seeking abortion care traveled to abortion clinics in September 2023, as well as clinic availability, at the small geographic level of a census tract. A new analysis from the Center for American Progress uses these data to convert the average one-way driving time to abortion clinics from the census tract level to the congressional district level, finding that:

  • Women traveling more than eight hours round trip for an abortion make thousands of dollars less per year than women who have shorter driving times.
  • Those in districts with high proportions of Black and Hispanic women—defined as areas where those groups constitute more than 25 percent of all reproductive-age women—experienced 30-minute and one-hour longer driving times, respectively, than those in districts with lower proportions of Black and Hispanic women.
  • Those in districts with Republican representatives in Congress had travel times that were more than two times longer, on average, than those in districts with Democratic representatives.

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A note on the data

This analysis only examines abortion travel times for the 48 contiguous states. Per data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Abortion Access Dashboard, the analysis refers to 15- to 44-year-old women as “women of reproductive age” or “reproductive-age women.” The author acknowledges that women and girls outside this age range, as well as people who are not women but require access to abortion care, are not included in the analysis due to limitations in census data.

Driving times are weighted by the number of reproductive-age women in the tracts and combined with 2022 American Community Survey demographic and income data. It is also important to note that these travel times are simply a weighted average for all census tracts within each congressional district, so districts with large geographic boundaries could have a range of driving times across their area.

Additionally, this analysis assumes that women will travel by driving within the United States to obtain abortion-related health care. It does not account for women who live near the borders of Mexico or Canada and may seek care outside the country. Only clinics that advertised abortion care were surveyed to create the Abortion Access Dashboard. Emergency departments* were not counted in this analysis, nor were the small number of practices that do not advertise their services. The type of abortion care provided by an abortion clinic—be it surgical or medication abortion—was not specified.

Exploring the data

The share of women of reproductive age as a percentage of the district’s total population varies vastly from district to district for the nearly 65 million women and girls who may need abortion access in the Lower 48. Overall, the data show that the longer a woman must travel to obtain abortion-related health care, the more likely she is to have lower wages and to live in a congressional district with wider wage gaps, a more diverse population, and a higher poverty rate. Women with a Republican representative in their district must also drive longer on average to receive abortion care than those with a Democratic representative.

The full set of data used for this analysis can be downloaded here.

The population share of reproductive-age women varies by district

Across all 432 congressional districts analyzed, reproductive-age women made up 19.5 percent of the population, with approximately 188 districts having more reproductive-age women as a share of their population than the mean of all districts analyzed. The share of reproductive-age women was as high as 29 percent in Massachusetts’ 7th District and as low as 12.5 percent in Florida’s 17th District. Notably, in Texas, 26 out of 38 districts had shares of reproductive-age women higher than the mean of all districts analyzed; of those districts, 16 had a Republican representative, and 10 had a Democratic representative. Finally, in Florida, one-way travel times ranged from eight minutes to two hours and 42 minutes. That upper range is well above the mean across all the districts analyzed, which was one hour and 25 minutes.

Long travel times are correlated with lower earnings and a larger gender wage gap

Women living in districts with long travel times—defined as more than four hours in one direction or at least one business day, round trip—were more likely to both have lower earnings and experience a larger gender wage gap than women living in districts with shorter travel times. This further underscores the extremes to which women must go to obtain an abortion—potentially driving more than eight hours round trip and losing out on a day’s income or more.

Women of color often must travel farther to obtain an abortion

Reproductive-age women of color, particularly Black and Native American women, are more likely to live in states that restrict reproductive access and, on average, must travel farther to obtain an abortion. Racial and ethnic disparities can clearly be seen in the data by examining districts with high proportions of Black and Hispanic women—defined as more than 25 percent of reproductive-age women in the district. The average travel time was nearly 30 minutes longer for women in districts with high shares of Black women and nearly one hour longer for districts with high shares of Hispanic women, compared with districts with low shares of these groups. This further demonstrates how laws that restrict abortion in these states are inflicting additional harm on women of color.

Table 2 breaks down the number of reproductive-age women in each congressional district by race and ethnicity. Districts in states that heavily restrict abortion access also have the largest number of reproductive-age Black women, with Georgia’s 13th District leading the way. Districts in Texas and California, meanwhile, had the highest numbers of reproductive-age Hispanic women, while districts in Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, North Carolina, and South Dakota had the highest numbers of Native American women of reproductive age.

Women in districts represented by Republicans often must travel farther to obtain an abortion

In aggregate, women must travel nearly 2 1/2 times as far, on average, to access an abortion in districts represented by Republican members of Congress in 2023 as compared with women in districts represented by Democratic members of Congress, at 119 minutes and 49 minutes, respectively. The gender wage gap was also larger in districts represented by Republicans.

Women with longer travel times often face higher poverty rates

The longer the travel distance, the more likely a woman and her family are to live below the federal poverty level. Women in poverty have limited resources available to cover the medical costs of abortion care out of pocket, particularly if they are on Medicaid or traveling outside their health network coverage. The medical costs of abortion care vary depending on weeks of gestation and case complexity, but they can range from $600 to upward of $2,000 without insurance, according to Planned Parenthood. Additional nonmedical costs would be relevant to these women who are traveling long distances to seek abortion care: The costs of taking time off work, gasoline, rental cars, hotels, food, child care, and more can quickly balloon into the thousands of dollars. As a result, many women simply do not have the means to obtain an abortion.


The reality is that, even assuming women will do everything in their power to keep costs low and take as little time off work as possible, extreme travel times in some states can put abortion care out of reach. And for those in states where abortion is legal, the increase in caseloads can often mean limited appointments are available, if any at all.

These travel times only paint a picture for a snapshot in time; they do not account for the ongoing attacks on reproductive health care access through elections and ballot initiatives that will continue throughout 2024, nor for restrictions that have been imposed, lifted, or changed by state courts since September 1, 2023. This data analysis revealing the long travel times around the country illustrates the consequences of extreme restrictions, felt most acutely by those with the least resources and who are the most marginalized.

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

* Author’s note: This information was provided by Dr. Caitlin Myers, John G. McCullough professor of economics at Middlebury College, in personal communication with the author via email in November 2023.

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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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