Texas’ 2021 Ban on Abortion in Early Pregnancy Was Associated with a Decrease in Abortions in Texas, an Increase in Abortions Out of State, and a Decrease in Overall Abortions
Hofler, Lisa G.
Potter, Joseph E.
Dickman, Samuel L.
University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center
Texas Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) made abortions illegal once embryonic cardiac activity (sometimes incorrectly referred to as a “fetal heartbeat”) can be detected (at about 5-6 weeks of pregnancy), with very limited exceptions. Before SB 8, abortions could be provided in Texas up to 22 weeks of pregnancy. SB 8 was the most restrictive abortion law in the US until June 2022 when the US Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, which allowed Texas to enforce a law that prohibits almost all abortions. In this study, Kari White, PRC faculty scholar and principal investigator of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP), along with PRC and TxPEP researchers Gracia Sierra, Klaira Lerma, Vinita Goyal, and professor emeritus Joseph Potter, and colleagues, compared the abortions Texas residents had in the month before and month after SB 8 went into effect. They also calculated the proportion of abortions that were done out of state for people who were 12 or more weeks pregnant in the six months after the law went into effect, compared to the same six-month period the year before. They found that SB 8 was associated with a decrease in abortions in Texas, an increase in abortions out of state, a decrease in overall abortions, and an increase in abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.