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Study estimates 9,200 fewer abortions in Texas this year thanks to pro-life law

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A Texas law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals will reduce the number of abortions statewide by 9,200 this year, according to a newly released report from a think tank that supports abortion-on-demand.

Analysts from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, which previously published a report entitled "The Public Health Threat of Anti-abortion Legislation," contacted every licensed abortionist in the state and asked for the number of abortions performed since the state's new pro-life law took effect.

They reported 30,800 abortions in the state of Texas between November 2013 and April – 4,600 fewer than the same period in the previous year. That represents a 13 percent decrease, which will translate into at least 9,200 fewer abortions statewide, they estimate.

Medical or chemical abortions, which are induced with the use of a pill rather than surgical procedure, declined by 70 percent, they said.

The project, which includes researchers from Ibis Reproductive Health, credited the closure of roughly half of the abortion facilities in Texas with the decrease.

H.B. 2, which made headlines for barring abortion after 20 weeks, was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry last July. Another requirement that abortionists have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their businesses went into effect on November 1.

The number of abortion facilities has declined from 41 to 22.

“Almost all of these closures are related to difficulties obtaining hospital admitting privileges for physicians at these facilities,” the researchers wrote.

“The closure of clinics and restrictions on medical abortion in Texas appear to be associated with a decline in the in-state abortion rate and a marked decrease in the number of medical abortions,” the authors concluded in an article published today in the journal Contraception.

There may be only six abortion facilities left in Texas by September 1, when new regulations in the law requiring abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers go into effect.

Some pro-life leaders question the study's numbers. Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life, told the Houston Chronicle that abortionists may not be reporting all the abortions they perform.

State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, believes the reported reduction in abortions is nothing to celebrate, saying, “we have reduced women's access to safe and legal abortion but not decreased the need for it.” She said the law “endangered women.”

But Melissa Conway of Texas Right to Life said the reductions showed that the law is influencing women to become pro-life. “The more Texans know about the truth of the life-ending procedure of abortion, they are stepping up and turning away from choosing to take the life of a baby,” she said.  

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