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Study Links Closure Of Clinics To Decline In Abortions

A study shows the number of abortions in Texas is down. A Texas law forced the closure of clinics in all but the largest cities. The Journal of the American Medical Association says the farther a woman lives from a remaining clinic, the steeper the decline.

This might seem obvious — fewer clinics lead to fewer abortions. Official statistics show they decreased 15 percent after new regulations took effect in Texas. 

“And what we found was that there was quite a clear relationship between increasing distance to the nearest clinic and the decline in abortions. If that change in distance to a nearest clinic was a hundred miles or more, there was a 50 percent decline in the number of abortions in those counties”, says Daniel Grossman, an investigator with the Texas Policy Evaluation Project.    

Grossman doesn’t think the decline is related to improvements in access to contraception. “If anything, you know, access to contraception in the state has really been constrained since 2011 when the legislature cut the funding for family planning services by two-thirds. That funding was eventually replaced by the legislature in 2013 and women are still finding barriers accessing contraception.”  

The U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down the Texas law requiring hospital admitting privileges and requiring clinics to meet ambulatory surgical standards, saying those restrictions didn’t have health benefits. But none of the more than 20 clinics that closed have reopened.

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