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Visualizing abortion trends, access in Washington state

Map of Washington showing the locations of abortion clinics and if they have any restrictions.
KNKX Public Radio
/
Created with Datawrapper
Map based on the Northwest Abortion Access Fund's list of abortion providers in Washington State. The National Abortion Federation and National Network of Abortion Funds also maintain lists of providers for the public to reference.

According to Washington Department of Health data, Washington's rate of abortion has dropped by 38% since 2000.

Total induced abortions for 2020 are down almost half from a peak of more than 30,000 abortions a year in 1989-1991, following national trends.

In an interview with KNKX this week about what it would mean in Washington state if Roe v. Wade is ultimately overturned, Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins cited the decline in abortions and noted speculation that more people from neighboring states, such as Idaho, will seek abortion services in Washington.

The decline comes at a time when Washington state's population grew from 5.9 million to 7.7 million people.

From 2001-2016, DOH data shows the number of non-residents terminating a pregnancy in Washington also declined, but at a lower rate than total induced abortions. The number of non-resident abortions was 4-5% of all abortions each year.

Idaho has consistently been the top state for non-residents accessing abortion services in Washington. Last month, Idaho's Supreme Court temporarily blocked a new state law modeled after the Texas statute banning abortions after about six weeks.

Idaho's recent legislation, along with the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting the nation's highest court may overturn the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, have many anticipating an influx of patients seeking abortions in Washington, if either take effect.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that Planned Parenthood recently leased new office space in Ontario, Ore., an hour drive from Boise, Idaho.

For a list of abortion clinics in Washington, the DOH refers to the Northwest Abortion Access Fund's provider list. Of the 30 providers listed, the majority are in Western Washington with only five east of the Cascades.

Since a 1970 referendum legalizing abortion in Washington, voters and legislators have passed additional measures to protect access to abortion, expand who can provide abortions and prohibit legal action against those seeking or providing an abortion.

At a rally on Tuesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and other state Democratic leaders emphasized Washington's potential role as an "abortion haven" and said they would explore ways to strengthen abortion rights through the state's Constitution.

Updated: May 10, 2022 at 11:08 AM PDT
"Washington Induced Abortions" chart updated to reflect total induced abortions for WA residents and non-residents combined. "Washington Abortions by Resident Location" and "Non-resident abortions in Washington State" charts updated to include data from 2017-2020.
Cara Kuhlman is KNKX's online managing editor. Prior to KNKX, she worked at Seattle-based technology and business news site GeekWire for six years. A University of Oregon graduate, she's also studied narrative nonfiction writing and journalism entrepreneurship.
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