After seven states passed sweeping abortion bans this year, speculation arose about the potential travel burdens the laws could someday impose on women.
Across a huge swath of West Texas and the Panhandle, there's no need for speculation. The nearest abortion clinics are more than 250 miles away, despite the region having several midsize cities and a population of more than 1 million people.
That means women seeking to end an unwanted pregnancy face drives of four hours or more to Fort Worth, Dallas, El Paso or out-of-state clinics — a trip that could require at least two days. The situation heightens the challenges of arranging child care, taking time off work and finding lodging. Advocates say some women end up sleeping in their cars.