New reports from pro-abortion groups this week about Texas women seeking abortions out of state appear to diminish the life-saving impact of the state heartbeat law.
Planned Parenthood reported an 800-percent increase in Texas patients coming to their abortion facilities in nearby states, and a new study in JAMA Network Open shows a huge increase in Texans buying abortion drugs online from the pro-abortion group Aid Access.
But other research and hints from abortion activists themselves indicate that the law, which has been in effect for nearly six months, is saving lives.
The Texas heartbeat law bans abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy, and pro-life advocates estimate the law is saving as many as 90 unborn babies every day, based on 2020 state abortion data. That equates to about 16,020 fewer abortions since September.
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But, according to Politico, new research from the University of Texas at Austin, published Friday in the journal JAMA, suggests that thousands of pregnant Texans are turning to the online Aid Access group for abortions instead. The international pro-abortion group sells abortion pills through the mail without ever seeing the woman in person or having a doctor available to help her if she suffers complications.
UT Austin researchers said Aid Access saw a massive spike in abortion drug purchases, averaging 137 per day in the first week of September after the Texas law went into effect. That is more than the average number of abortions per day in Texas – which suggests abortion activists may be stockpiling the drugs, and many of them are not being used.
However, the researchers also found that abortion drug sales dropped down again over the next several months.
Abigail Aiken, a professor and lead author of the study, told Politico that their research is “certainly suggestive” that Texas women still are getting abortions, despite the pro-life law.
Later, however, Aiken admitted that their research does not prove that unborn babies’ lives are not being saved.
“I don’t want to say the law hasn’t forced anyone to remain pregnant,” Aiken said. “But I think it’s very likely that out-of-state care and self-managed abortion have made up the majority of the difference.”
Responding to the study, Texas Right to Life said there is no way of knowing how many women actually used the abortion drugs to abort their unborn babies. It also pointed out that abortion activists have been telling women to order the drugs and keep them on-hand in case they get pregnant.
Other abortion groups, including Planned Parenthood and independent abortion businesses in states near Texas, also reported huge increases in women coming from Texas to abort their unborn babies. Planned Parenthood alone said it saw a nearly 800-percent increase since the law went into effect, according to the Washington Times.
But almost all the abortion groups gave numbers only in terms of percentages, which makes it nearly impossible to determine the exact number of women leaving Texas to abort their unborn babies in other states. Often, the number of women who travel to other states for abortions are quite low.
Then there are clues in statements from abortion workers that also suggest the law is stopping unborn babies from being aborted. For example, Amy Hagstrom Miller, who runs the Whole Woman’s Health abortion chain, based in Texas, told the Washington Times that they help some women make travel plans to other states for abortions, but “in many cases, there is nothing we can do for them.”
Extensive research and past statements from experts on both sides of the abortion debate indicate that pro-life laws do stop abortions and save lives.
“… 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, a widely known 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.”
And if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade later this summer, it is likely that even more southern states will ban abortions, leading to even more lives being saved.