Abortions in Texas Dropped by 50 Percent After Ban Took Effect: Study

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
October 29, 2021 Updated: October 29, 2021

Abortions dropped by about 50 percent in Texas in September after a new law prohibiting most abortions went into effect, according to a new study.

The drop was ascertained (pdf) by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project. The group compared the number of abortions performed at Texas clinics this September (2,164) to the amount in September 2020 (4,313).

Researchers were able to gather statistics on abortions performed at 19 of the 24 Texas abortion facilities. Those facilities perform approximately 93 percent of all abortions in the state.

The law, which went into effect on Sept. 1, bars physicians from performing an abortion without first testing for a fetal heartbeat. If the heartbeat is detected, an abortion can only be done if the doctor determines a medical emergency exists.

The drop in abortions shows the law is working, Kimberlyn Schwartz, director of media and communication for the pro-life Texas Right to Life group, told The Epoch Times in an email.

“We’re encouraged by these findings! The Texas Heartbeat Act saves lives every day. The pro-life movement has spent decades serving pregnant women in difficult circumstances, and we are blessed to be able to walk with these women through their journeys,” she said.

The bill’s main sponsor, state Sen. Bryan Hughes, did not return a voicemail.

The Department of Justice is challenging the law and the Supreme Court is set to hear the case in November.

Data indicate that some Texas women are traveling to nearby states to get an abortion since the law took effect. Wait times at facilities in neighboring states like New Mexico have soared in recent weeks, researchers said. Longer wait times could make it more difficult for women to get abortions, as does spending time going to other states.

The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute estimated that the average one-way driving distance to an abortion clinic increased over 14 times, to 247 miles, with the passage of the law.

“For the vast majority of Texas women of reproductive age, their next nearest abortion clinic would be in states that also have policies hostile to abortion (Louisiana for 70 percent of them and Oklahoma for 23 percent ), where patients already struggle to receive care and are subjected to those states’ punitive and burdensome restrictions,” institute researchers said in a recent blog post.

“Due to the many barriers to abortion care in Oklahoma and Louisiana—including a two-visit requirement in Louisiana and the fact that each state has very limited capacity to absorb an influx of new patients—some people traveling from Texas likely would need to go even farther than one state away for care,” they added.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.