Legal abortion rate in Texas dropped 13 percent after new anti-choice restrictions

gif of clinics in texas


That’s according to a new study on the impact of the anti-choice restrictions that have now forced 46 percent of Texas’ legal abortion providers to close.

As we already know, the omnibus law passed last year–which also placed stricter restrictions on medication abortions and banned the procedure after 20 weeks–has dealt a disastrous blow to abortion access. The number of Texans living more than 200 miles from a provider has increased nearly 30-fold over the past year–from 10,000 to 290,000. And the new study shows it’s had an effect on the abortion rate as well. In the 6 months after the law went into effect, there was a 13 percent decrease in the legal abortion rate in the state compared to the year before. Medication abortions decreased by 70 percent. Meanwhile, there was a “small but significant” increase in the number of abortions conducted after 12 weeks, suggesting all the restrictions are forcing folks to wait longer to get the procedure done. 

According to the researchers, it’s actually amazing that the abortion rate hasn’t dropped more. “Given the number of closures, and the size of the population left without a nearby provider, it is surprising that the overall decline in the abortion rate was not greater than the 13% change we observed,” they write. Then again, we know that people who want to end their pregnancies have always been willing to go to any extremes necessary to do so. And, as the researchers note, thankfully activists in Texans have stepped up to help many–but not all–of them overcome the hurdles. However, the researchers predict that some women are also traveling out of state or turning to potentially risky self-induced abortions to get the care that Texas is denying them.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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