As more states adopt abortion laws, more women have had to spend time and money traveling across state borders to receive the legal operation.
With the Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, abortion rights supporters fear that getting a legal and safe procedure would become nearly impossible for women in the South and Midwest.
Two women who had to travel hundreds of miles to undergo an abortion recently permitted “Nightline” to accompany them through the procedure in the hopes that others, especially lawmakers, would realize how harmful those laws would be to other women in similar situations.
“I feel like people need to know and need to know our side of the story,” says “Marie,” a 31-year-old Texan who had an abortion in Tulsa, Oklahoma last month. “We’re not evil. We’re not baby killers.”
Marie had to hunt for health care centers in adjacent Oklahoma when Texas approved an abortion ban after six weeks in the fall. According to the non-profit, Texas Planned Parenthood locations witnessed a 2,500 percent increase in patients after the ban.
Marie told ABC News that she was forced to wait more than a month for an open appointment, take a week off work, and drive 14 hours straight to the Planned Parenthood location in Tulsa.
“In the car by myself for 14 hours, you definitely have a lot of time to think,” she says. “It’s been really, really hard.”
The news stories about Oklahoma’s copycat abortion bans made Marie more afraid. Marie had her operation completed before Gov. Kevin Sitt signed a similar bill into law in May.
“How dare you try and force people to do things the way you want them to do them. It’s our bodies. I feel like women will be desperate, harm themselves,” Marie says.
Nicole, a 39-year-old mother of two who recently flew to Kansas for an abortion, expressed similar feelings to “Nightline.” Nicole stated that she has a full-time job and enjoys being a mother. However, she and her partner were unable to afford another kid.
According to health records, her scenario is common among abortion patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 60% of abortion patients have at least one child.
“I wanted to give a voice to the older women- [who] already have kids, and I want to give an opportunity for the government to see how it affects us,” Nicole told “Nightline” about why she wanted to tell her story.
Nicole was far enough along in her pregnancy for a medication abortion, but due to a backlog in Oklahoma, she had to go to Kansas to obtain the pills. She said she had to pay for airfare, locate childcare for her two sons, and drive back and forth to the clinic.
Nicole stated that the incident confirmed her fears about having another kid.
“If I struggle to pay $800, $900 to take care of something like this, how would I be able to take the money, the time, and everything, and take care of a child?” she adds.
Kansas may become the next state to outlaw abortion. The right to abortion is now protected by the state constitution, but a ballot measure set for Aug. 2 might limit that freedom.
Nicole and Marie are upset that lawmakers don’t take women’s circumstances into account when making abortion-related choices.
Marie went on to say that her experience has inspired her to speak out more.
“I feel like it’s going to affect my life now forever because I’m going to fight more for women in this situation that don’t have any other choices,” she adds.
Image Credit: Getty