New survey reveals difficulties accessing abortion in Indiana, foreshadows worsening harms now that Roe v. Wade is overturned

July 2022

With Indiana already ranked #2 in United States for number of restrictive abortion laws, researchers say additional barriers could harm Hoosiers even further

(Indianapolis, IN) – Following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a new survey shows that one thing remains clear: Indiana’s extreme restrictions on access to abortion care cause hardships that are difficult to overcome—and further barriers could result in even more harm for Hoosier families.

The study, which was conducted between June 2021 and May 2022 by researchers at Indiana University and Ibis Reproductive Health, with input from All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center, Chicago Abortion Fund, and Kentucky Health Justice Network, aimed to gather data around pregnant Hoosiers’ experiences when seeking abortion care and interviews with clinicians who provide abortion care in Indiana.

“We entered this research knowing that Indiana is second only to Louisiana in terms of the number of restrictive abortion laws that are on the books, but with little understanding of what that means for people’s actual experiences,” said Dr. Tracey Wilkinson, MD MPH, Indiana University, one of the researchers for this project. “We left with a better awareness of who seeks care in Indiana, the many barriers they must overcome to obtain health care, and the devastating impact of these barriers on their lives and that of their families. With the overturning of Roe, we are deeply concerned for what this means for Hoosiers.

“Our survey shows that a third of the participants who obtained abortions had to leave the state to do so. They also said that the cost of care made it difficult to pay for their rent, childcare, or groceries,” Wilkinson added. “Yet, despite these hardships—and despite the fact that most Hoosiers believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases—numerous Indiana legislators have repeatedly stated that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, they plan to make access to abortion even more difficult.”

Ibis researchers noted that while the unintended pregnancy rate in Indiana is similar to the national level, the state’s abortion rate is less than half of the national rate—a data point the survey helped explain.

“With extensive restrictions in place, such as the ban on telemedicine abortion services that our survey respondents preferred, it’s no wonder that Hoosier women are less able than their peers around the country to receive safe, affordable care,” Wilkinson said. “With so many hurdles, and potentially more on the horizon, women and pregnant people in Indiana can expect the cost of abortion care to increase dramatically, resulting in increased incidence of self-managed abortion, forced births, and consequent increases in maternal mortality. Further restrictions on abortion access will be devastating for my fellow Hoosiers and fly in the face of the best available medical evidence.”

Read the full press release with detailed study findings here.