An average of 1,391 Texan women sought abortions at out-of-state facilities monthly between September and December 2021 after SB 8 went into effect, research from the UT Austin Texas Policy Evaluation Project shows. This is a tenfold increase from the previous monthly average of about 142 women since 2013, according to the research.
SB 8 bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as five to six weeks in the pregnancy. The bill, which went into effect Sept. 1, 2021, allows citizens to sue abortion providers or those who help other receive abortions in the state.
Abortions in Texas decreased by more than half as a result of SB 8, from 5,404 in August 2021 to 2,197 in September 2021, according to data from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. However, the Texas Policy Evaluation Project argues that the bill has not reduced the need for abortion in the Lone Star State.
“Rather, it has greatly reduced in-state access and forced thousands of pregnant Texans to undertake long-distance trips to reach abortion facilities in other states,” the research said.
A Feb. 28 press release from Attorney General Ken Paxton claims the bill has prevented 17,000 abortions in the state.
“Simply by having SB 8 enacted, thousands of lives have already been saved in Texas,” Paxton said in the release. “Stopping abortion providers from conducting these barbaric practices is yet another win for our great state.”
For Texas women seeking out-of-state abortion care, nearly three-in-four did so in either Oklahoma or New Mexico, the research shows.
As a result, Planned Parenthood centers in Oklahoma saw a 2500% increase of abortion patients with Texas zip codes, research from Planned Parenthood shows. Additionally, more than half of all patients at these sites were Texas residents, up from 10% in Sept. 2020, according to Planned Parenthood.
There was also a 1000% increase of Texas patients at Planned Parenthood centers in Colorado and a 100% increase at sites in New Mexico, Planned Parenthood’s research shows.
“These numbers are staggering and just one part of the devastating picture on the ground in Texas and the surrounding states,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a press release. “This reality is heartbreaking and a glimpse of what’s to come should the Supreme Court restrict the constitutional right to an abortion even further.”
According to the Texas Policy Evaluation Project research, this has led to long wait times at facilities in states surrounding Texas. About half of those facilities had wait times of two weeks or longer.
The research included interviews with 65 women who had received out-of-state abortion care. Of these women, about half said they received financial assistance to cover travel and abortion costs, according to the research.
Despite this, the research shows many women described delaying bills and rent, spending their savings and taking out loans in order to receive abortion procedures from out-of-state providers.
Gov. Greg Abbott’s office did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
Written By: Chandler France
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