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Post: NerdWallet: Where are abortions available and how much do they cost?

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet

The cost of an abortion — generally less than $750 in the U.S., according to Planned Parenthood — has not changed a great deal in recent years. However, access to abortions has been radically trimmed since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, opening the door to state-level restrictions on the procedure.

Residents of at least 26 states now have no or severely limited legal access to abortion services, as of August 2022. Those who choose to travel to another state for the medical procedure will have to take on additional costs, while medication abortion (which now accounts for more than half of all abortions) is likely to continue to grow as an option.

What is an abortion?

An abortion is a medical procedure that ends a pregnancy. The vast majority of abortions — 92.7% in 2019 —  are performed within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are two kinds of abortions: surgical (or procedural) abortions and medication abortions. A surgical abortion is a safe, effective medical procedure, and most people who get surgical abortions can resume normal activities the next day. A medication abortion, commonly referred to as “the abortion pill,” is another safe, effective form of abortion in which two different pills are administered to end the pregnancy.

Since the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in June and ended federal protections for abortion, a person’s ability to get an abortion can vary widely based on how many weeks they’ve been pregnant and where they live. You can use this state-by-state guide on abortion access to determine what health care is accessible in your area.

How much does a surgical abortion cost?

While the average cost of a surgical abortion is generally less than $750, the exact cost can vary, depending in part on how long a person has been pregnant at the time of abortion.

According to a report from the University of California, San Francisco, the national median costs for an abortion in 2021 were:

  • $625 for a first-trimester procedural abortion.

  • $775 for a second-semester procedural abortion.

How much does an abortion pill cost?

Costs for a medication abortion can vary depending on the length of pregnancy, your insurance, and where the pills are bought or administered.

The national median cost for a medication abortion was $568 in 2021, according to UCSF. Depending on where you live, you can receive the abortion pill — again, a term that’s actually referring to two pills — at a health clinic, doctor’s office or Planned Parenthood. During the pandemic, it became possible to be prescribed medication abortion following a telehealth visit. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the pill for use up to 10 weeks into pregnancy.

States that have restricted abortion access have targeted both surgical and medication abortion, so availability of both methods is affected. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has said his department will fight state bans on the use of mifepristone, one of the two components in most medication abortions, so continued access to this form of abortion remains contested.

Does insurance cover abortions?

That’s a tricky question to answer, as circumstances are changing almost daily. In some states, insurance still technically offers coverage for what’s become an illegal procedure. In other states, abortion is legal, but certain health insurance plans are barred from covering the procedure.

Here’s what we do know:

  • Per federal law, no health insurance plan is required to cover abortion.

  • No federal funds can be used to pay for abortions, with the exception of abortions following rape, incest or life endangerment.

  • All states are technically required to cover abortions that meet those federal exceptions.

Private insurance plans and employer-based insurance plans typically include abortion coverage. Some of these plans cover abortion only in cases of rape, incest or life endangerment. And if abortion is illegal in a given state, then insurance coverage is a moot point.

Here’s some state-by-state information on abortion coverage:

  • In 26 states, health insurance plans sold through the public marketplace are banned from offering abortion coverage. All but two states — Louisiana and Tennessee — have exceptions for abortions resulting from rape, incest or life endangerment.

  • In 10 states — Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Utah — no insurance plan, public or private, is allowed to cover abortion, with limited exceptions for rape, incest or to save the pregnant person’s life. SEE: Court allows Michigan to vote on guaranteeing abortion rights AND: Kansas voters resoundingly protect access to abortion

  • Meanwhile, eight states — California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Washington — require private insurance plans to provide abortion coverage.

  • And in four states — California, New York, Oregon and Washington — all state-regulated health care plans, including plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplace, are required to cover abortion.

See: South Carolina state senators reject a near-total abortion ban

Where are abortions available?

In the months since federal protections for abortion were ended, some states have made efforts to protect the right to abortion, while others have sought to ban access to abortion in almost all instances. It’s a situation that’s changing day by day.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a nonprofit organization, is regularly updating its state-by-state abortion availability map.

The following information is updated as of August 2022.

Abortion is legal and accessible in these states, meaning there aren’t any state-level restrictions against the procedure: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington.

Abortion laws are in flux in these states: Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Virginia.

And these states either have total bans on abortion or make it extremely difficult to obtain an abortion: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Also see: Roe v. Wade reversal has life-changing effects on male partners

Can I travel to get an abortion?

You can cross state lines to obtain an abortion. As it stands right now, there aren’t any laws against doing so.

However, some states have attempted to ban people from traveling for an abortion. Experts predict that more states could break from convention and start punishing people for going to another state to do something that’s illegal in their own state.

Before traveling to get an abortion, consider seeking legal advice regarding your state’s abortion laws. The American Bar Association offers free, confidential legal advice from lawyers volunteering to answer questions online.

Also read: Having a baby? The first year can easily set you back nearly $16,000. Add that to recession fears, rising prices and job insecurity.

If you decide to travel for an abortion, don’t forget to budget for all the potential costs associated with the trip. Some expenses to plan for include lodging, gas, food, child care, pet sitting, time off work and bus or plane tickets.

More From NerdWallet

Cara Smith writes for NerdWallet. Email: cara.smith@nerdwallet.com.

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