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Tipsheet

Report Shows Impact of Texas ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Law One Month After it Took Effect

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Abortions in Texas reportedly fell 60 percent in the first month after the state’s “heartbeat” law took effect last September.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that nearly 2,200 abortions were recorded in September after the law, S.B. 8, took effect. S.B. 8 outlawed abortions after fetal heartbeat detection, which occurs around six weeks gestation.

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Figures released this month by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission show that there had been more than 5,400 abortions statewide in August.

“The numbers offer a fuller picture of the sharp drop in patients that Texas doctors have described in their clinics over the past five months, during which time courts have repeatedly allowed the restrictions to stay in place,” the AP reported. “It has left some Texas patients traveling hundreds of miles to clinics in neighboring states or farther, causing a backlog of appointments in those places.”

Last month, I covered how Texas women were reportedly crossing state lines and traveling to “crowded” abortion clinics in Kansas to obtain the procedure. The Texas Tribune, who investigated the story, visited Trust Women’s clinic in Wichita to see firsthand the Texan women seeking abortions.

According to a video posted by the Tribune, employees at both the Wichita and Oklahoma City locations claimed they’d been “inundated with pregnant Texans seeking abortions.” On the day of the Tribune’s visit, they did not speak to any Texans seeking an abortion because none of them showed up for their appointments.

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Under Texas’ law, private citizens can pursue legal action against anyone who provides an illegal abortion or aids or abets an illegal abortion. Those who successfully bring lawsuits under S.B. 8 can receive $10,000.

“Texas abortion providers have acknowledged the law is likely to stay on the books for the foreseeable future,” the AP noted. “It comes as the U.S. Supreme Court has signaled a willingness to weaken or reverse the landmark Roe v. Wade precedent in a ruling that is expected later this year.”

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