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Tipsheet

The New York Times Claims The Impact of Texas’ Abortion Ban Was Offset By Medication Abortions

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

The New York Times published an analysis this week that claimed the impact of Texas’ near-total abortion ban was offset by mail-order abortion pills and visits to out-of-state clinics.

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Texas’ law, S.B. 8, took effect Sept. 1. The law prohibits abortion after fetal heartbeat detection, which occurs at roughly six weeks gestation. Reports that have emerged since S.B. 8 took effect that suggested abortions in the state fell by 60 percent in the first month. The Times wrote that two new studies suggest that the total number of abortions among Texas women fell by around 10 percent. 

The Times wrote that two groups of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin counted the number of women using these “alternative options” – traveling out-of-state for an abortion or ordering abortion pills. 

According to one of the studies, each month in the period between Sept. 2021 and the end of the year, an average of 1,400 women went to one of seven nearby states to obtain an abortion; New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi and Colorado, 

“That was 12 times as many as typically sought abortions out of state before the law,” the Times wrote. “Nearly half of Texans who traveled [for an abortion] went to Oklahoma, and a quarter to New Mexico. It counted Texans who visited 34 of 44 clinics, so the total was probably higher.”

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Kari White, a principal investigator of UT Austin’s Texas Policy Evaluation Project, who led the study, told the Times that S.B. 8 “has not done anything to change people’s need for abortion care” and described the numbers as “astounding.”

“It has shifted where people are getting their abortion,” she added.

Late last month, I reported how a study published by the American Medical Association’s JAMA Network Open claimed that abortion pill usage in Texas spiked after the S.B. 8 became law of the land. The study showed that an average of 1,100 women ordered abortion pills online each month from Aid Access, an overseas abortion pill provider. 

“The law [S.B. 8] is semi-effective; it will not stop all abortions,” said Abigail Aiken, an author of the study, who teaches public affairs and leads a research group studying self-managed abortion at the University of Texas at Austin.

I also covered last month how a study from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute reported that the majority of abortions anymore are medication abortions. And, as Rebecca noted in December, medication abortion comes with many risks, more so than surgical abortions.

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“This method [medication abortion] carries with it four times the complications of surgical abortions. Side effects and risks associated with this method include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, fever/chills, and headaches. The bleeding may last for weeks after the abortion. 

Some studies have found 10 percent of women face incomplete abortions at 9 weeks gestation. This can lead to death from infection if the remaining fetal parts or tissue are not properly removed.

Last month, as I covered, the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) authored a study that showed emergency room visits following this method went up by 507 percent from 2002 to 2015. Most of these ER visits, over 60 percent, were miscoded as spontaneous miscarriages.”

Several states have moved towards putting restrictions on mail-order abortion pills, including South DakotaTexas, and Alabama.

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