Costs Could Climb for Georgia Women Seeking Abortions as Court Scraps Roe v. Wade
Georgia women seeking abortions out of state could face stiff fees for procedures in North Carolina and Florida amid rising costs for abortion pills and surgeries in recent years.
After the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade last week, Georgia is poised to ban most abortions after six weeks into pregnancy. The move would leave North Carolina and Florida as the only states in the South within driving distance where women set on having an abortion after the six weeks may have one performed.
Clinics in North Carolina and Florida are gearing up for a possible influx of women from out of state – and waiting to see if they’ll need to increase staffing and fees for abortion pills and surgeries.
“We’re doing the best we can to keep our fees affordable,” said Crystal Mosley, the executive director of A Woman’s Choice, which runs abortion clinics in Jacksonville, Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh. “It’s very expensive.”
Fees for the most common abortion method – abortion pills – have climbed by 20% or more since before the Covid-19 pandemic for clinics like Mosley’s. The abortion pill her clinic offers now costs around $500, up from around $400 pre-pandemic, she said.
Rody Carballo, the administrator at the Gynecology and More clinic in the Miami area, said prices for some services – like the $500 abortion pill they offer – have gone up in recent years. “But it’s nothing major,” he added.
While today’s high inflation has taken its toll, costs for abortion pills and first trimester abortions were on the rise even before the pandemic. Across the U.S., abortion pills and surgeries increased by roughly 13% and 21% between 2017 and 2020, respectively, according to a University of California at San Francisco study published in April.
The study found on average women in North Carolina and Florida paid $475 for abortion pills in 2019 – less than the $500 to $550 most clinics in the two states now charge. That divide is roughly the same for first-trimester surgeries. Later-stage surgeries – after 13 weeks – saw a larger split, up now from around $900 to as high as $4,000 or more – compared to a median $750 in 2019.
The study also found costs could rise more “as [abortion] becomes more regulated” in states with access restrictions, such as Georgia is set to have.
For now, many abortion clinics in North Carolina and Florida do not expect to hike fees in the immediate aftermath of Roe’s overturning – despite the need for clinics to hire more doctors and nurses in the coming months to keep up with demand from out-of-state clients.
Carballo, whose private clinic has seen more women arrive seeking abortions than usual this month, likened holding off on fee increases to an act of solidarity with their clients.
“We don’t need to be rich here,” Carballo said. “We’re going to try to help out as much as we can.”
Click the image above to read about the impacts to Georgia from the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade. (Credit: Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon for State Affairs)
Clinics run by Planned Parenthood – the largest abortion-services provider in the U.S. – said they don’t plan on changing fees for the foreseeable future, aiming to bolster confidence in the ability for women traveling long distances to make and keep their appointments.
“We want people to be able to go to the first appointment available rather than the first appointment they can afford,” said Molly Rivera, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, which covers North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
Mosley, from A Woman’s Choice, said her four clinics in North Carolina and Florida could see higher fees from hiring more staff – but that it’s too early to say how much costs could rise.
“I think the cost for medicated abortion will vary widely depending on where you go and how you want your care to be,” Mosley said.
Georgia’s six-week abortion ban has been blocked in court since its passage in 2019. Last Friday, the day Roe was overturned, a federal judge handling the lawsuit that blocked the ban signaled that a decision on whether to let the ban take effect may arrive in the coming weeks.
Roughly 317,000 abortions were performed in Georgia between 2010 and 2020, averaging around 28,000 abortions annually during that time, according to state health data. Roughly 20,600 abortions were performed on Black women in Georgia in 2020, more than triple the nearly 6,200 abortions performed on white women.
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