In a new report that is the first study done on the effects of House Bill 2 since it passed last year, the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) has found that 46% of abortion facilities have closed statewide since June 2013. The study also found that the rate of abortion procedures in the state has also dropped by 13%, a significant decrease that is much steeper than any recent declines in abortion rates anywhere else in the nation. TxPEP surmises that this sharp decline is due to the decimation of abortion access in Texas overall:
The 13% decline in the state abortion rate over the past year, which corresponds to 9,200 fewer abortions annually, is steeper than recent declines in both Texas and the nation. The authors hypothesize that part of this reduction is due to the closure of clinics throughout the state, generally because of doctors’ inability to obtain hospital admitting privileges. Between April 2013 and April 2014, 46% of facilities providing abortion closed, leaving large areas of the state without a clinic. All of the clinics south of San Antonio have closed, and all but one have closed in West Texas.
Another part of TxPEP’s findings was an increase in the amount of Texas women who live 100 miles or more from the nearest abortion clinic. The number has gone from 217,000 women in May of 2013 to an astounding 1,020, 000 in April of 2014. The most shocking finding out of this information is that, after all clinics have to meet the requirements of an ambulatory surgical center on September 1st and all but 6 clinics in the entire state will shut down, the number of women living 100 miles or more away from an abortion clinic in Texas will rise to 1, 335, 000.
Overall, the new report from TxPEP shows that access to abortion has decreased just as we predicted would happen when the study began last year. With the influx of women traveling long distances to the remaining open clinics and overloading the existing infrastructure that providers have, wait times, cost, and lack of enough funding force women into unwanted pregnancies. Many are faced with barriers to access already with the destruction of family planning budgets across the state, and as the number of clinics in Texas dwindle down to single digits, it’s no wonder that the rate of abortion procedures is following suit.
As the damage that House Bill 2 has inflicted on women in Texas becomes more and more apparent, Whole Woman’s Health will be here to advocate and care for these women in the facilities that remain open. You can donate to the Whole Woman’s Texas Action Fund or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates from us on how we’re helping women access safe, affordable abortion care.