24 Abortion Clinics Closed in Texas in the Last 5 Years as Abortions Dropped 20 Percent

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 4, 2017   |   4:51PM   |   Austin, Texas

A Texas law overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last year saved thousands of unborn babies’ lives while it was in effect.

A research study in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” in January reported abortions dropped 20 percent in Texas and 24 abortion clinics closed after House Bill 2 went into effect in 2013. In some counties, abortions dropped by about 50 percent, according to the data.

Many abortion facilities closed in Texas after the law went into effect because they could not or chose not to protect women’s health by meeting the basic health and safety standards in the new law. However, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law in 2016, saying House Bill 2 created an undue burden on women’s access to abortion.

Dallas News reports the Texas study, led by pro-abortion researcher Dr. Daniel Grossman of the University of California – San Francisco, found that wait times and travel distances for women seeking abortions increased dramatically after 2013.

Before the law went into effect, Texas women traveled 17 miles on average to have an abortion; after the law took effect, the average distance increased to 70 miles, according to the researchers.

Here’s more from the report:

While it may seem obvious that a law making it more difficult for women to get abortions might lead to a drop in the procedure’s use, Grossman’s study is the first to show the correlation between distance to a clinic and abortion rates. Grossman, who has been studying access to abortions for years, was shocked by the size of the drop in abortions in Texas.

In 56 Texas counties, the distance to the closest abortion provider increased by 100 miles or more after HB 2 became law. Less than a year after the bill passed, only six of the state’s 254 counties still had an abortion provider.

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Even in counties with an abortion clinic, there was a nearly 16 percent decline in abortions. Grossman said this was because remaining abortion providers — those who didn’t have to shut their clinics because of HB 2 — were overwhelmed with requests and in some cases stopped booking appointments altogether.

Grossman said he believes women may be trying to self-induce abortions because their access to abortion in Texas has become limited.

He also linked the increased wait times and travel distances to an increase in second-trimester abortions in Texas.

According to the Dallas News, “Data from the Department of State Health Services showed that the number of second-trimester abortions rose 27 percent after HB 2 was passed. In 2013, before the bill became law, 4,814 second-trimester abortions were performed. In 2014, the total reached 6,117.”

Abortion advocates say they are concerned about women’s safety in relation to abortion access, but they opposed a law that protected women from unsafe abortion practices.

Several weeks ago, one of the dangerous abortion clinics that closed under HB 2 announced plans to reopen.

Whole Woman’s Health, a chain of abortion clinics in Texas that challenged HB2 at the U.S. Supreme Court and won, said its Austin abortion facility will reopen in April, the Austin Chronicle reports.

The abortion chain has a long history of misconduct and violations of Texas health and safety regulations. State inspection reports obtained by Texas Alliance for Life showed dozens of violations that threatened the health and safety of its patients, including lack of sterilization of abortion instruments, lack of an RN or LVN on staff, rusty suction machines, and expired and unlabeled medications.

Pro-lifers estimated that House Bill 2 saved tens of thousands of unborn babies’ lives before the Supreme Court overturned it last June. At issue in the ruling were two provisions–that abortion clinics meet the same building standards as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) and that abortionists have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital for situations of medical emergencies.