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Volunteer pilots fly patients seeking abortions to states where it's legal

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Pilots fly women to safe abortions

The pilot, clad in a blue windbreaker, recently pulled his single-engine, four-seater prop plane onto the tarmac of a small airport.

The municipal airport sits in a state where abortion is now banned in virtually all cases. But a short flight away in Kansas, abortion remains legal. That has launched a wave of travel from across the South and Midwest in pursuit of pills and procedures that used to be legal all across the U.S..

Michael is part of a growing group of pilots of small private planes who have begun ferrying people across state lines to get abortions and gender-affirming medical care, even if it means flouting local restrictions. They're volunteers with Elevated Access, an Illinois-based group that coordinates the flights. NPR agreed to use his first name only due to the potential for harassment and legal action.

The flights, which are free to passengers, spare people seeking this medical care from the delays and costs that go along with commercial flights or travel by bus or car. And it allows them to travel anonymously and leave no paper trail, by skipping security at commercial airports.


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