Objective: To investigate the extent and cost of travel undertaken by women accessing Victorian termination of pregnancy services.
Design, setting and participants: This was a multi-centre, cross-sectional observational study of women receiving privately funded pregnancy termination services, conducted between November 2002 and June 2003 at eight major pregnancy termination service providers in Victoria.
Main outcome measures: Distance travelled, money and time expended undertaking travel, and reasons women chose particular clinics.
Results: Of the 1,244 Australian resident respondents who resided in Victoria, 9.3% travelled more than 100 km to access services. Teenagers were 2.5 times more likely than other respondents to travel further than 100 kilometres (km) (18.2% compared with 7.8%, OR = 2.5, 95% CI 1.5-4.2, p < 0.001). Women originated from all Australian States and Territories except South Australia and 13.7% were from Statistical Divisions other than Melbourne. More than one-third of respondents (41.3%) chose their clinic because they were referred by a doctor or general practitioner.
Conclusion: Many pregnancy termination patients face substantial and immediate costs beyond the service fee, as well as the difficulties associated with poor continuity of care and significant time away from home. Patients and service providers should be consulted further to determine appropriate clinical services, support services and subsidy schemes for the sizeable proportion of patients who undertake long-distance travel to access pregnancy termination services.