A Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) study released on Tuesday asserted that nearly a quarter million women in the state may have induced abortions themselves because of “onerous” restrictions that lawmakers have put on reproductive choice.
The study, which was based at the University of Texas at Austin, found that between 100,000 and 240,000 women had performed self-induced abortions in Texas over the past five years, the Austin Chronicle reported.
According to the study, the “advent of onerous legislation imposing restrictions on legal abortion access” and the availability of abortion drugs — largely from Mexico — have combined to make self-induced abortions in Texas less rare than most U.S. states.
“Other methods reported by those who knew someone who had attempted self-induction included herbs or homeopathic remedies, getting hit or punched in the abdomen, using alcohol or illicit drugs, or taking hormonal pills,” the study said.
“Several restrictive abortion laws have been imposed in Texas in the past decade, and three provisions of HB2, one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, went into effect in 2013,” researchers noted.
Latina women living in counties bordering Mexico and women who found it difficult to obtain reproductive services were the two groups mostly likely to attempt a self-induced abortion.
“Over half of facilities providing abortion care in Texas have closed since 2013 due to the omnibus law known as HB2,” researchers wrote. “If the final portion of HB2 goes into effect requiring all facilities providing abortion to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, the number of facilities will be further reduced from 18 to 10.”
“Given that the populations we found to be most familiar with abortion self-induction are among those that have been most directly affected by the closure of abortion clinics in the state, we suspect that abortion self-induction will increase as clinic-based care becomes more difficult to access.”
TxPEP co-investigator Dr. Daniel Grossman said on Tuesday that it was difficult to deny the link between laws designed to restrict abortions and the increase in self-induced abortions.
“This is the latest body of evidence demonstrating the negative implications of laws like HB2 that pretend to protect women but in reality place them, and particularly women of color and economically disadvantaged women, at significant risk,” Grossman observed.
The Austin Chronicle‘s Mary Tuma pointed out that 5.4 million women in Texas will be served by only 10 clinics if the Supreme Court failed to block the final parts of HB2.