Nov 2, 2022 - News

In-clinic abortions for Texans in decline

Illustration of a red suitcase with a medical cross on the side

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

The number of facility-based abortions obtained by Texans dropped by a third after a 2021 state-level ban on abortion in early pregnancy, per a study published Tuesday by University of Texas researchers.

Why it matters: The finding confirms how efforts by anti-abortion Texas lawmakers have succeeded in stamping out brick-and-mortar abortions.

  • And it shows how abortion patterns may change throughout the nation as states outlaw abortion care following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

What they found: Researchers examined the effect of a Texas law, known as Senate Bill 8, that outlawed abortion after cardiac activity is detected — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — and empowered private citizens to bring lawsuits against those who violate it.

  • The number of in-state and out-of-state abortions involving Texas residents fell from 5,673 in the month before the law was implemented on Sept. 1, 2021, to 3,501 the month after.

Between the lines: The finding, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicates that many people were forced to travel farther away for care, self-manage their abortion or continue a pregnancy they may not have wanted, the researchers say.

Details: The study analyzed data from 18 of 23 Texas clinics and 35 of 42 clinics in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico where Texas residents were most likely to obtain care.

State of play: Abortion is now virtually banned in Texas — as well as in the neighboring states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma — and SB 8 can still be used to bring legal charges.

The bottom line: "Now that Texas and many neighboring states have completely banned abortion, it will be even more difficult for people to obtain timely, comprehensive reproductive health care," said Kari White, lead investigator of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project and an associate professor of social work and sociology at UT.


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