Health & Science

Study Documents Difficulties In Getting Abortions For Some Texas Women

It takes a close look at the experiences of women who tried getting abortions after a new state law went into effect in 2013. The authors hope it will get the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court, which is reviewing the law.

The new law has already led to the closure of 22 clinics in Texas.

Researchers already know the number of abortions has dropped since the law went into effect. They also know waiting times for the procedure have increased. But they did not know the stories behind the statistics.

Liza Fuentes led the new study, which interviewed 23 women who were not identified.

“Women really experienced a lot of confusion about what clinics were open,” Fuentes said. “And many women struggled to find a clinic that was open, that they could afford and that they could get to.”

The women reported traveling hundreds of miles and spending hundreds of dollars on transportation and hotels.

Two women in the study couldn’t get an abortion until the second trimester, when it is more complicated and expensive. Two other women couldn’t get an abortion at all and continued unwanted pregnancies.

None of the women in this study reported trying to induce an abortion on their own. But there have been reports of that happening from clinic staff members in Texas.

“We did have patients come in that had obtained what they thought was Cytotec at various flea markets or on the black market,” said Ginny Braun, the former CEO of the Routh Street abortion clinic in Dallas. It closed permanently last June.

Cytotec is a pill that can end pregnancy early, but it requires a prescription and a doctor’s help.

“We have no idea what it really was,” Braun said of the pills. “Some patients had taken 10 or 12 of those, which could be devastating.”

Texas now has 19 clinics left. If the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Texas law, only 10 clinics will be allowed to remain open. Supporters of the law argue it is helping keep women safe.

Oral arguments will be on March 2.

The study was conducted by researchers at Ibis Reproductive Health, the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas, and the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco.

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