Recent Texas abortion restrictions show that laws can make a difference. The Dallas Morning News reports that the state saw a “dramatic” 14 percent decrease in abortions statewide (or 9,000 fewer abortions), which is pacesetting compared to declining abortion rates across the country.
The decline is due to legislation passed in the state, requiring the abortion industry to adhere to basic health and safety standards. When faced with these commonsense regulations, abortion facilities refused to comply, raising red flags over the industry’s willingness to place profit over the safety of the women it claims to serve.
The case over Texas’ HB 2 is currently being considered at the U.S. Supreme Court. As the high court has heard this case and is likely already writing its briefs on the decision, the media are keeping the flame burning, as both sides try to make their voices heard.
The resounding voice now is 9,000 fewer abortions in just the first year the full measure of HB 2 has been in effect. The paper reports:
Provisional data recently released by the Department of State Health Services shows a 14 percent reduction in the number of abortions performed in 2014 compared with the year before.
Nationally, abortion rates have steadily decreased in recent years, but the drop in Texas is dramatic. The Associated Press found that abortions decreased by about 12 percent nationwide from 2010 to 2013-14. Texas abortions decreased by 30 percent in that five-year span.
Abortion advocates are vehemently opposed to the law that requires doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and requires abortion facilities to be set up as ambulatory surgery centers. However, those abortion advocates are the ones who are giving credit to the law, much to their chagrin. Kate Connors, from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a pro-abortion medical group, commented that reduced abortions are “common sense [when] you make it harder for women to get abortions.”
Meanwhile, the Dallas Morning News reports:
Dr. Daniel Grossman, an OB-GYN who studies the effects of recent reproductive health legislation in Texas with the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas at Austin, said the state drop in abortions is “much steeper than what’s being seen nationally.”
“It’s highly likely that it is related to the limitations on access,” Grossman said. “It all sort of fits together to indicate that this law is creating significant burdens on women that some are unable to overcome.”
And the fact is that since the law was enacted the number of abortion facilities in the Lone Star state dropped by more than half, when 23 of 40 abortion facilities closed. Then:
Two Planned Parenthood clinics transferred their abortion services to facilities that comply with the new restrictions, and one additional compliant clinic opened in San Antonio in June 2015 — bringing the total number of clinics open in Texas today to 18.
As the state–and nation–now await the Supreme Court’s ruling on HB2, the reality is that the numbers don’t lie. Restrictions on abortions might drive some to seek one elsewhere, but very often they help women stop and think.
When she discovers the funding and medical care available to her, when she sees that her baby can be born and raised by someone who is longing to adopt and be a parent, she may think again. No one can say for sure what these 9,000 women did, but that’s a small city population that didn’t die in Texas last year.