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Probation, Parole Rules Will Keep Many From Traveling For Abortions

With several states preparing to criminalize abortion and some states talking about criminalizing traveling out of state to get an abortion, for many people on probation and parole, traveling out of state for abortion care is already next to impossible. On any given day., 666,413 women are on probation or parole. In many jurisdictions, such as Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Idaho, Texas, and the federal system, as well as some juvenile probation systems, it is common for people on probation and parole to face restrictions on where they can travel, whether they can move to another county or state, and with whom they can “associate” (includinge who assist in coordinating abortion access, where such help is criminalized). All of these restrictions will make it harder for people under supervision to get abortion care, says the Prison Policy Initiative.


The end of Roe v. Wade will create new barriers to abortion care for prisoners, because t will likely trigger the criminalization of abortion in thirteen states. An even greater number of people on probation and parole stand to be affected: About 231,000 women are in prison or jail daily, but several times as many women are on probation and parole. Women are more likely than men to be serving sentences for lower-level property and drug crimes. In the thirteen states with abortion ban “trigger laws,” more than 200,000 women are under probation and parole supervision, which will make it difficult or impossible for many of them to travel out of state for an abortion, or potentially even talk to people coordinating abortion care. The average probation term is just under two years — far too long for the average person to “wait it out” until they are no longer under supervision and can seek abortions across state lines. Parole sentences can be several months to years — typically, up to the remaining time on an individual’s sentence after release from prison. Some people are even subject to lifetime supervision, depending on the state and the underlying offense. Travel restrictions, “standard” conditions in many places, will soon force many women to accept the impossibility of getting an abortion.