Three in four women are able to obtain an abortion within one week of calling to make an appointment, according to a new study from the Guttmacher Institute.
When researchers looked at how many woman face delays in getting an abortion, they found that an average of 7.6 days elapsed between the time a patient called to schedule the procedure and when the procedure occurred.
The majority of women, 76 percent, were able to schedule an appointment within a week. A small minority of women, about 7 percent, had to wait more than two weeks for an appointment.
The research could help inform political debates over abortion clinic regulations that have caused facilities to shutter. Abortion rights supporters and opponents are at bitter odds over whether the laws are making it too hard for women to obtain abortions.
More than a dozen states have passed laws requiring abortion clinics to meet stricter facility requirements, requiring doctors to get hospital privileges or imposing stricter rules on how medication abortions are administered.
Of the women who had to wait more than two weeks for their appointment, they were more likely to be experiencing disruptive life events such as losing a job or falling behind on rent, the Guttmacher study found. They were also more likely to be seeking a second-trimester abortion and live in a state with a waiting period requirement.
Researchers for Guttmacher, which supports abortion rights, said the study raises some concerns for the patients who must wait longer for an abortion.
"Timely access to abortion is critical," said researcher Rachel Jones. "Even a delay of a few days can mean that medication abortion is not an option, or it can cause an increase in the cost of the procedure if it pushes the patient into the second trimester."
The authors used data from a national sample of patients obtaining abortions in facilities outside hospitals, which were gathered through the Guttmacher Institute's 2014 Abortion Patient Survey.