Abortion care across European borders: women's experiences with barriers to legal abortion and abortion travel
Silvia De Zordo (University of Barcelona)
Giulia Zanini (University of Barcelona)
Joanna Mishtal (University of Central Florida)
Caitlin Gerdts (Ibis Reproductive Health)
Alexandra Wollum (Ibis Reproductive Health)
Paper short abstract:
In many European countries, despite relatively abortion laws, women face a number of barriers to abortion that can lead them to travel across borders in pursuit of abortion care. This paper presents preliminary results from a 5-year study about women's experiences seeking abortion care abroad.
Paper long abstract:
In many European countries, despite relatively abortion laws, women face legal, social and procedural barriers to abortion. These barriers, which highlight deep gender and social inequalities in a number of countries, can lead women to travel across borders in pursuit of abortion care. At the same time, they produce new subjectivities and social networks that support and make these reproductive health travels possible. Existing data suggests that cross-country travel to access abortion care is reality for a number of European women from countries with relatively liberal abortion laws and, yet, few studies have attempted to describe and analyse this unique experience. Existing literature focuses on women travelling from countries with very restrictive abortion laws. Women who travel from countries with relatively liberal abortion laws face unique barriers, which may play a role in their decision-making processes, affect their choices, and influence their abortion experience. This paper aims to address this under-researched phenomenon by presenting the preliminary results of an ongoing 5-year study on abortion travel across European countries. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data collected mainly in the UK and in the Netherlands with women seeking abortion care across borders, we will describe the challenges, strategies, and experiences associated with travel to seek abortion care. In particular, this paper will explore the reasons why women from European countries with relatively liberal abortion laws decide to travel abroad, their experiences with travelling, and their opinions on European abortion laws and policies.
Reproductive medical mobilities in contemporary Europe and beyond