The Texas heartbeat law has saved thousands of unborn babies from violent abortion deaths since it went into effect Sept. 1, reducing abortions by 50 percent in the first month alone, according to one recent study.
A National Catholic Register report highlighted the effectiveness of the pro-life law this week, citing evidence that abortion bans and restrictions do reduce abortion rates and save lives.
One study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas at Austin compared Texas abortion numbers in 2020 and 2021 and found that abortions dropped 50 percent, the report found. According to the research, “2,164 abortions were provided in September 2021” compared to “4,313 in September 2020.”
Since then, Texas abortion facility directors have reported even bigger drops in their abortion numbers, as high as 80 percent compared to the previous year, according to the Texas Tribune. With more than 54,000 abortions reported in Texas in 2020, that equates to thousands of unborn babies’ lives saved thus far.
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The law, which went into effect Sept. 1, prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. It also includes a unique private enforcement provision that allows individuals to sue abortionists who violate the law.
Though lawsuits against the law are on-going, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the law, first in September and again on Friday, and it looks like it will remain in effect at least through the end of the year.
Speaking with the Register, Michael New, associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute and visiting professor at The Catholic University of America, said studies show that pro-life laws “do have a real impact.”
For example, New pointed to a 2004 study in the “Journal of Law and Economics” about abortion laws in Europe and the U.S. According to the study, “in both Eastern Europe and the United States, legalizing abortion reduced the birth rate by perhaps 10%” while “modest restrictions on abortion in Eastern Europe reduced abortion rates on the order of 25%.”
Meanwhile, in Texas, pro-life organizations that support families in need have been seeing an increase in calls for help since the law went into effect.
According to the Register:
Loveline, a Houston-based pro-life charity aimed at helping women deal with unplanned pregnancies, told Fox News in October that it saw a 50% nationwide increase in calls after the Texas law was enacted, and 33% of those increased calls were from Texas. Houston Pregnancy Help Center (HPHC), a pro-life pregnancy center, compared data from September 2021 when the law was in effect to numbers from September 2020 that showed ultrasounds increased with the law in place 50% (244 to 365), client visits increased 42% (1,026 to 1,466), and there was an increase of over 20% in pregnancy tests provided.
New said this support, coupled with the law, creates a supportive environment where women are “a lot more likely to carry on unintended pregnancies to term.”
Along with passing the heartbeat law this year, Texas state lawmakers also increased support for pregnant and parenting mothers and babies, ensuring that they have resources to choose life. This included $100 million for the state Alternatives to Abortion program as well as additional funding for the Healthy Texas Women program.
While some Texas women are traveling to other states to abort their unborn babies, many others who otherwise might have had abortions are choosing life instead. And even abortion activists admit that pro-life laws do stop abortions.
“… recent studies show that the majority of women who are prevented from reaching an abortion provider due to travel distance give birth as a result,” a group of 154 pro-abortion economists and researchers told the U.S. Supreme Court recently in a brief.
Diana Green Foster, an abortion activist and researcher at the University of California San Francisco, wrote at Rewire in 2019: “Stop saying that making abortion illegal won’t stop people from having them. … [O]nly 48 percent of unintended pregnancies are aborted in countries where abortion is illegal compared to 69 percent where it is legal indicates that many women have to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.”
The Texas law has the potential to save tens of thousands of unborn babies from abortion every year. In 2020, about 54,000 unborn babies were aborted in Texas, and about 85 percent happened after six weeks of pregnancy, according to state health statistics.