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More than 10,000 Tennesseans travelled out of state for abortions last year, new study finds

More than 10,000 Tennesseans crossed state lines to obtain an abortion last year, according to estimates from an abortion rights group.

The Guttmacher Institute began detailed tracking of interstate travel for abortions after the Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision ushered in bans or restrictions in nearly half the country, including Tennessee. Their report is based on data gathered from the nation’s abortion providers.

Abortion has been almost completely banned in Tennessee since August 2022. The state’s law doesn’t allow an exception for rape or incest and provides only narrow exceptions for certain medical emergencies.

Of the 10,570 abortions Tennessee residents obtained in other states last year, 7,120 traveled to Illinois, 1,280 to North Carolina and 880 to Virginia, the institute reported.

Tennessee residents also obtained abortions in California (220), Georgia (950), and South Carolina (120).

In total, 171,000 patients nationwide sought abortions outside of their home states.

Medication abortion accounted for 63% of all pregnancy terminations last year, a procedure that is routinely offered via telemedicine in other states, alleviating the need for an in-person office visit.

Tennessee also outlaws telehealth abortions. The law has uncertain legal ramifications for doctors outside the state who prescribe abortion pills to patients in Tennessee, but nevertheless may be prompting Tennesseans to leave the state to obtain them.

This story was originally published by the Tennessee Lookout.

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