Texas reports five abortions a month – down from 4,400 before Roe overturned

Texas reports five abortions a month - down from 4,400 before Roe overturned

The number of abortions in Texas has plunged from several thousand per month to less than ten since the overturning of Roe v Wade in June 2022, state data shows.

In the year leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision, 2,250 – 5,700 Texans – or 3,112 on average – were able to terminate unwanted pregnancies each month, according to figures from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

After Roe was overturned on June 24, 2022, abortion access changed overnight in several states. In Texas, a Republican “trigger law” passed in 2021 automatically came into effect, making it a crime punishable by life in prison to perform any abortion, unless necessary to protect the mother from death or serious injury.

Even before the ban took hold, in July 2022, abortions plummeted to just 68 procedures as doctors scrambled to adjust to a new legal reality and clinics began closing their doors.

By August, there were only three abortions logged by the Texas Health Commission, and the number has fluctuated between zero and ten every month through January 2024, with an average of five.

However, research by the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-focused think tank in Washington DC, suggests that many Texan abortions have effectively been outsourced to other states rather than prevented entirely, at no small cost and inconvenience to those seeking them.

The institute estimates that more than 35,000 Texans travelled for an abortion last year, equating to roughly 2,900 per month on average, at the low end of previous totals.

The numbers, which were first reported by The Texas Tribune, raise questions about whether Texas abortion law is clear enough to allow doctors to abort where they deem it necessary without being prosecuted.

Only two of the 158 abortions performed since July 2022 were done to protect the patient’s health, while 156 were done to protect their life during a medical emergency.

Claire Fritz rallies for abortion rights at the Capitol, in Austin, Texas, May 14, 2022. A new study released by Johns Hopkins University on June 24, 2024, shows the infant death rate in Texas went up in the wake of the state’s abortion ban (Austin American-Statesman)

Although state judges and officials have repeatedly claimed that doctors have the freedom to act the former type of case, there have also been legal and regulatory actions against those who did so.

Last week, a state medical panel released new guidance for doctors in an attempt to clear up the confusion and caution, yet refused to list any specific situations that would be allowed under Texas law.

“We are disappointed,” said Amy Bresnan, a Texas lawyer who petitioned for the new guidance, according to local broadcaster KXAN.

“We don’t think that doctors will feel any more comfortable providing abortion care where it’s necessary under the statute, which means that women are not as safe as they were.”

Source: independent.co.uk