At Least 100,000 Texas Women Have Been Forced To Attempt Self-Induced Abortions

This is horrifying.

When it comes to providing safe, legal options for someone who's considering an abortion, Texas is in a state of emergency.

A new study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) estimates that between 100,000 and 240,000 women ages 18-49 have attempted self-induced abortions, without any medical help -- largely a result of a rapidly decreasing number of clinics in the state.

The culprit for the clinic closings? A 2013 law known colloquially as HB2; since its passing, 20 of the 40 abortion centers in Texas have been forced to shut down.

Things could take a darker turn still next year, when the Supreme Court will hear a case against HB2. If the Supreme Court rules to uphold the law, the number of clinics in the state of 27 million people could drop to just 10.

It's important to remember that there are real people -- real people risking their lives -- behind these numbers.

"In order to gather some basic information about women’s knowledge, opinions and experience related to abortion self-induction in Texas, we carried out a survey of a statewide representative sample of women between the ages of 18 and 49," TxPEP researchers wrote. They found that of their sample, "1.7% of women aged 18-49 reported that they had ever tried to end a pregnancy on their own," which was the researchers' lowest estimate, "since women tend to underreport abortion in surveys."

One salient takeaway from the research is something that should be obvious by now, but, sadly, often isn't: Closing clinics doesn't deter women from getting abortions -- it only prohibits them from access to safe, legal ones.

"There were four primary reasons why women tried to self-induce their abortion," TxPEP researchers wrote. "1. they did not have the money to travel to a clinic or to pay for the procedure; 2. their local clinic had closed; 3. a close friend or family member recommended self-induction, and 4. to avoid the stigma or shame of going to an abortion clinic, especially if they had had prior abortions."

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UCF v Texas

Certain groups are also impacted disproportionally by the dwindling number of abortion centers. "As clinic-based abortion care becomes more difficult to access with the closure of facilities across the state, we suspect that abortion self-induction may become more common especially among Latinas near the border, who appear to be more familiar with self-induction, and among poor women who face barriers accessing reproductive health care," researchers wrote.

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Pro-Life And Pro-Choice Supporters Rally At Texas Capitol

An abortion rights rally outside Texas' state capitol in 2013.
Texas is the second-most populous state in the country. The fact the its government has successfully eroded Roe v. Wade so much in just two years sets a frightening precedent for the rest of the U.S.

"This important new research paints an alarming picture of what the future may be like for women across the country if the Supreme Court does not block this cruel law," Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a press release.

"As many as 240,000 Texas women have tried to end a pregnancy on their own, without medical assistance. These desperate measures will only become more commonplace if this law takes full effect."

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