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Texans could start traveling to Mexico for abortions, attorney says

An immigration attorney said advocacy networks were already reporting a major increase in American patients since Texas' Senate Bill 8 went into effect last year.

AUSTIN, Texas — Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, Texans could start looking for abortion care options outside of U.S. borders.

Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, an Austin-based immigration attorney, said Mexico decriminalized abortion last year at right around the same time that Senate Bill 8, which bans abortions in Texas after a fetal heartbeat is detected, went into effect. 

"Since last September, the abortion service provider network in Mexico has already seen an uptick in Texan women seeking abortion services in Mexico," Lincoln-Goldfinch said.

She said advocacy networks are reporting they went from seeing one to two Americans per month to more than a handful per week.

"The latest decision in ... overturning Roe v. Wade, I believe, is going to create an avalanche of more women going to Mexico to seek services," Lincoln-Goldfinch said.

This increase is because, for many Texans, Mexico is closer than going to the West or East coast. 

"Mexico's a lot closer than Massachusetts, for example," Lincoln-Goldfinch said. "So, it may just be a travel question. It may be a question of cost. I personally travel to Mexico a lot, and I love it and I feel very comfortable and safe there. So, I think a lot of people are going to choose [Mexico] – especially people who live on the border, maybe they're bilingual, Mexico feels familiar to them and it's a safe place to go. They've created laws that are supportive and safe for women. And so, why wouldn't we choose to go there?"

Lincoln-Goldfinch said U.S. citizens don't need a visa to get to Mexico. However, she worries for vulnerable and low-income Texans who don't have the means to get there. 

Lincoln-Goldfinch recommends that anyone leaving Texas in search of abortion care do their research.

"There are some parts that are safe. There are some parts that are not," she said. "So it's definitely going to take due diligence on the part of any woman who's planning to seek services in Mexico to check whether the network they're accessing is well-established and safe, and whether the medical care that they will be provided is established and safe, and whether they have the travel permission to be able to leave and come back."

Lincoln-Goldfinch said in Mexico, aside from offering the surgical abortion option, abortion pills are also available. Abortion pills have a high rate of effectiveness for a person who is up to 10 weeks pregnant. 

According to Lincoln-Goldfinch, the pills are sold over-the-counter in Mexico for about $40. According to Planned Parenthood, a medication abortion can cost up to $750 in the U.S., but it’s often less. The cost of the abortion pill can vary depending on the state or health center. 

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