One of the main talking points of pro-choice proponents during debate over HB2, Texas' controversial 2013 abortion law, was that the law would not reduce the number of abortions. Rather, enforcement of the law would reduce the number of safe abortions, as women who did not have access to adequate reproductive healthcare would attempt to terminate their pregnancies without proper medical care.
Now a new study out of the University of Texas at Austin seems to support the warnings. The UT Austin Texas Policy Evaluation Project released findings on Tuesday that state at least 100,000 Texas women have induced their own abortions. The study states that number could be as high as 240,000. Texas has the highest number of self-induced abortions in the United States.
Here's how researchers came to their findings, according to The Atlantic.
The figure was found by asking an online, representative sample of 779 women whether they themselves or whether their best friends had ever tried to self-induce an abortion. Of the Texas women surveyed, 1.7 percent said they had performed an abortion on themselves, but 4.1 percent of them said their best friend had or they suspected she had.
The most common method reported was by taking the drug Misoprostol, also known by the brand name Cytotec. Other reported methods included “herbs or homeopathic remedies, getting hit or punched in the abdomen, using alcohol or illicit drugs, or taking hormonal pills.”
The survey of over 700 Texas women took place between December 2014 and January 2015. It appears respondants were asked if they or their best friend have ever self-induced an abortion, and not if an abortion was self-induced in the wake of HB2's passage.
The findings come just days after the U.S. Supreme Court said it would hear Whole Women’s Health v. Cole. The case is possibly the most significant Supreme Court abortion case since Roe v. Wade.
The Texas case challenges the constitutionality of HB2, which aims to limit abortion access by requiring physicians have privileges at a nearby hospital and mandating clinics to convert to ambulatory surgical centers. As a result, the number of abortion clinics operating in Texas has gone from 41 to 17. Full implementation of the law would reduce that number to 10. Large portions of the state are currently without access to a nearby abortion clinic, including the Rio Grande Valley and West Texas.
Two papers released by the Texas Policy Evaluation project detail their methodology, as well as document anecdotal experiences of Texas women who have induced their own abortions. Read the documents below.