Abortion rates in the great state of Texas have dropped 50 percent since the “Heartbeat Bill” was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS), according to new research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TERP).
Since Texas Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) was implemented on Sept. 1, effectively banning abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy, statewide abortion procedures have seen a 49.8 percent decline.
Texas’ pro-life law was vehemently opposed by proponents of abortion rights, lamenting that it would set women’s rights back for decades. However, a new University of Houston and Texas Southern University poll shows that 55 percent of Texans generally support the bill.
However, pro-life advocates have rejoiced over the bill, which stipulates that an abortion procedure cannot be performed once there is detectable embryonic cardiac activity. In other words, once the baby has a heartbeat, an abortion is now illegal in Texas. Most women do not detect pregnancy until the fifth or sixth week, which is typically when the baby develops a heartbeat. Additionally, more than 40 percent of women don’t contact abortion facilities until after they have been pregnant for six weeks.
In September, SCOTUS ruled 5-4 to allow the Texas abortion ban to remain in effect, cementing the comprehensive legislation and solidifying the Lone Star State’s position as an overwhelmingly pro-life stronghold.
While pro-abortion advocates decry a “woman’s choice” in the issue of abortion, constitutional sovereignty has ultimately reigned supreme in this legal battle.
Texas has drastically departed from the precedent that has been set by Roe vs. Wade in 1973, establishing strict parameters for the legality of allowing an abortion procedure. TERP also stated the following in their report: “The law also permits almost anyone to sue abortion providers and others who ‘aid and abet’ a person obtaining abortion care in Texas after embryonic cardiac activity has been detected – or who intend to do so.”
Because of the crackdown on abortion procedures in Texas, more women will likely travel to other states to obtain the termination of their pregnancies. Ethnic minorities and those living at or below the poverty line are likely to be impacted the most by this law, which, according to TERP, could be associated with “adverse health and economic consequences for women and their children.”
However, it is important to note that alleged “medically necessary” abortion procedures for women has historically been a moving target. “Medically necessary” shifted from being an objective medical judgement to a nuanced, catchall definition to include mental, physical, emotional, and psychological health after Roe vs. Wade. Since then, abortions across the United States have skyrocketed, with 186 abortions for every 1,000 live births, according to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC).
Regardless of the muddied political waters on the topic of abortion, Texas has found a way to significantly curtail abortion rates in their state, providing a clear blueprint for other red states to follow in terms of pro-life legislation now that the legal precedent has been set by SCOTUS.