Abortions in Texas are down a whopping 14 percent, but pro-choice activists say the state is making it difficult for women to receive the care they need.
Abortion rates are plummeting in Texas, all thanks to a law that went into effect on January 1, 2016. According to a report from the New York Times, the law has sparked outrage among pro choice activists and has led to a number of people seeking reproductive health treatment in bordering states.
As a result of the new legislation, abortion rates in the state dropped nearly 14 percent from 2013 to 2014. Abortion rates had been trending downward in general, but the drop became much more pronounced following the implementation of the new law. Abortions had dropped by 12 percent across the country between 2010 and 2014, whereas the rate in Texas over the same time period fell by a whopping 30 percent.
The laws are currently being challenged in the Supreme Court by pro-choice activists. The root of the argument is that restricting access to reproductive healthcare based on a moral assessment of the problem is unconstitutional. As abortion clinics shutter their doors around the state as a result of the law, women are being forced to drive or seek travel arrangements to neighboring states where abortions are still available. The law puts particular pressure on low-income women who may not be able to make the journey.
Before the law was signed by former Governor Rick Perry in July 2013, there were 40 facilities in Texas that performed the procedure. Now, there are just 18 clinics in the state. The law required that doctors who perform the procedure have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and that the meet the same standards as hospitals. The aim was to make it exceedingly costly and difficult to perform the procedure, and it has succeeded in restricting access to a large degree.
The law bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and changes the rules on how abortion-inducing drugs can be prescribed. The battle is likely far from over, as activists will continue to fight for expanded access to reproductive healthcare in the state.