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Four women consider traveling out of state for abortion care

I went back to Texas and took the second set of pills there. It took about seven and a half hours and my body kicked out the pregnancy as I was surrounded by loved ones. They brought me food and sweets, heating pads and sanitary napkins, and everything else I would need.

Valerie Peterson, 42, Nevada

In 2015 Valerie was living in Austin, Texas when she found out she was pregnant at age 36. She was thrilled with the pregnancy, but at 16 weeks gestation, she was told her pregnancy was not viable. Multiple ultrasounds confirmed a fetal diagnosis of holoprosencephaly, a brain development abnormality that prevents the brain from dividing properly into right and left hemispheres and causes severe skull and facial deformities. Also facing a high risk of miscarriage, she was given three options: carry until she miscarried, carry to term and deliver a stillborn, or have an abortion.

“I was devastated, and the first thing my aunt said to me was, ‘You have to get the hell out of Texas.’ I agreed, but didn’t know where to go and didn’t know what to do, so I called another friend who knew of a facility that helps people who need abortions due to fetal abnormality.

Without even thinking, I got a ticket to fly to Orlando. At the last minute it was very, very expensive. Then I got a hotel room in Orlando because my plan was to stay there for a few days just to make sure everything was okay, and for me to go to the ocean, because the water give me peace. I had to rent a car to get to the clinic as I was not comfortable being in an Uber.

I flew to Orlando airport, but had a stop in Miami where I had to change flights, and the cheapest ticket was of course overnight. I’ll never forget getting off the plane [in Miami] and realizing my door was far away and also learning that the tram wasn’t running. My connecting window was very narrow, and I saw everyone from the flight running – that was something I couldn’t do. I boarded this flight with two seconds before they closed the door.

If I hadn’t had a friend traveling with me, I don’t think I would have survived the trip. You can imagine the mental anguish, the emotional anguish, and she was so supportive – that’s what I needed. She gave me time. She also allowed me to cry. It will forever be etched in my heart, especially knowing that she was a Catholic. She actually said she needed to rethink [her views on] abortion after going through everything with me.

This whole process, including the price of the abortion, cost me over $5,000. When I had the funds to travel like this, and quickly, one of the first things I thought was, “What about all those who don’t have the means I have?”

Beth Vial, 27, Oregon

Beth was 22 when she found out she was pregnant. Diagnosed with the symptom of polycystic ovaries (PCOS) when she was young, she was told she would never have a regular period and would never get pregnant without the help of medical intervention. She didn’t consider pregnancy until she realized her stomach was distended. She received a false negative on a pregnancy test, then went to what she later realized was a fake crisis pregnancy center for a free ultrasound, where they told her she was pregnant with 16 weeks. Uncomfortable with the people working there, she went to a local hospital, where she was told she was actually 26 weeks pregnant, a difference of 10 weeks. Unable to find anyone willing to provide abortion care at the end of her pregnancy, Beth was forced to travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for treatment. She had 10 days to raise $10,500 for the procedure itself, plus additional funds for airfare, accommodation, food, and travel to and from the clinic, for a total cost of $14. $000.