October 2022

Inter-departmental abortion travels in metropolitan France: A mixed-methods analysis of women’s experiences, access, and barriers to abortion care

Rahm L, De Zordo S, Mishtal J, Garnsey CL, Gerdts C. PLOS ONE. Oct 2022. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0273190

In Europe, there is a dearth of studies on abortion-related mobilities within countries where abortion is legal. In France, 18% of women seek abortion care outside their department of residence care. Most of these flows take place within Île-de-France region. This paper aims at providing novel insights into the motives and experiences of women traveling within France and particularly within the Île-de-France region for abortion care. It draws upon official abortion statistics as well as quantitative and qualitative data collected in three Parisian hospitals during a five-year European research project on barriers to legal abortion and abortion travel. Despite governmental efforts to facilitate access to abortions over the past decades, our findings show that various barriers exist for why women do not find services in their department of residence (lack of services or access to preferred methods, quality of care, long waiting times). However, most of our study participants report coming to Paris as a convenience and use commuting as a strategy to overcome obstacles in receiving abortion care.