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Abortions in Texas Drop 60% Under New Restrictions

The abortion laws in Texas ban the procedure after a heartbeat is detectable, roughly six weeks, making it the most restrictive in the nation


Abortions in Texas dropped by 60% in the first month under the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S.

Texas providers reported only 2,200 abortions in September of 2021. The reduced numbers come after a new law took effect in the fall. The updated legislation bans the procedure once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy and without exceptions in cases of rape or incest. 

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission released the data this month, showing a near-immediate impact from the new legislation.

According to the same agency, there had been more than 5,400 abortions statewide in August of 2021.

The numbers indicate a sharp decline in patients treated by Texas providers in clinics over the last five months. Despite opposition to the new legislation, courts have repeatedly allowed the restrictions to stay in place. 

The new restrictions have forced many Texas patients to travel hundreds of miles to clinics in neighboring states, causing a backlog of appointments in those areas.

Planned Parenthood said in a statement that the Texas numbers represent “the very beginning of the devastating impact” of the law.

The Texas law clashes with landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings that prevent a state from restricting abortion early in pregnancy. However, the legislation was written in a way that has effectively outmaneuvered those previous rulings.

Under the law, any private citizen can collect $10,000 or more if they bring suit against a provider who performed or helped a woman obtain an abortion that falls outside the new limits. Opponents have referred to this as a bounty for such actions. To date, no suits have been filed in such a case.

Texas abortion providers have admitted the law is likely to remain in force for the foreseeable future.

Since the new Texas law was implemented, similar legislation has been introduced in other GOP-controlled states. However, none have passed. 

This month, Arizona Republicans continued their fight to outlaw abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story included the headline “Abortions in Texas Drop 60% Under New Restrictive Laws.” Upon further review, the framing of this headline editorializes the story. The title has been revised accordingly. 

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