Feb 10, 2022 - Health

Abortions in Texas dropped by 60% in month after ban took effect

Monthly abortions reported in Texas
Data: Texas Health and Human Services; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of abortions performed in Texas fell by 60% in the first month after the most restrictive abortion ban in the U.S. went into effect, according to data released Thursday by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

By the numbers: In August, there were a total of 5,404 clinic abortions conducted. That number fell dramatically in September to 2,197.

  • Up until September in 2021, there were at least 4,200 abortions performed each month, the commission's data shows.
  • Texas health officials said more data will be released on a monthly basis.

The big picture: Researchers from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project said in October, a month after Senate Bill 8 went into effect, that no other Texas law or order restricting abortion has seen such a large decrease.

  • The researchers had released a report in October noting that abortions had dropped by about 50%. Now, official state government numbers show that the ban had even more of an impact.

What they're saying: "Certainly, Senate Bill 8 has been the most restrictive and the most harmful and extreme in the country," Bhavik Kumar, an abortion provider based in Houston, told Axios in December. "Many of my patients don't qualify for an abortion under Senate Bill 8."

How it works: The Texas ban effectively prohibits nearly all abortions as soon as embryonic cardiac activity is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy and before many people know they are pregnant.

  • The law does not have any exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

Many Texans are forced to travel to neighboring states — Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico or Arkansas — to access abortion providers.

  • With the exception of New Mexico, these states have strict requirements that patients must follow to receive health care.
  • It can also be very expensive. About "$550 is the average cost for an abortion and then when you start to add in travel, hotel and food costs, those costs skyrocket, potentially to hundreds of dollars or more," said Elizabeth Nash, lead state policy analyst for the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research and policy organization.

Go deeper: What abortion access would look like if Roe v. Wade is overturned

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