Texas sees 99% decline in legal abortions following two 'pro-life' Supreme Court rulings

 January 17, 2023

In the wake of two consequential U.S. Supreme Court decisions, legal abortion procedures in the state of Texas have been all but eliminated, Breitbart reported.

That includes the 2021 ruling to allow the state's SB 8 "Heartbeat" abortion ban to stand pending challenges as well as the 2022 Dobbs ruling that overturned the federal right to abortion established by the Roe v. Wade precedent.

Steep decline in legal abortions

Fox News reported that there was a substantial decline in the number of legal abortion procedures performed in Texas in the two months following the Dobbs decision in June 2022.

According to statistics on "induced terminations of pregnancy" compiled by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission through August 2022, the last month for which figures were available, there were only three legal abortions in the state in the month of August, all of which had been deemed "medically necessary" to save the life of the mother.

Compared to the 2,596 recorded abortions in June and the 68 abortions recorded in July, that is a 99 percent decrease in the number of legally performed fatal procedures for unborn babies from June to August.

Tens of thousands of unborn lives saved

The Texas Right to Life organization celebrated the news in a tweet that read: "Official report shows there were only 3 abortions reported in TX in August 2022, all due to medical emergencies. We still have work to do to stop illegal abortions, especially pills trafficked over the border & online, but this shows life-saving progress."

In a more formal press release, the group asserted that the lives of more than 5,000 unborn babies were saved in August 2022 given the fact that there were zero legal elective abortions that month in comparison to the reported 5,706 legal elective abortions that were performed in Texas in August 2021.

Likewise, the organization estimated that more than 50,000 unborn babies had been spared from termination since SB 8 was allowed to take effect in September 2021.

SB 8's "medical emergency" exception

That law prohibits most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy, except in "medical emergency" cases in which the mother's life or health is substantially threatened by complications arising from pregnancy.

"Advancements in medical technology have greatly reduced the situations where both mother and child are at risk, but in rare and heartbreaking circumstances, a woman’s pregnancy can endanger her life. The death of the child is an indirect result of a life-saving intervention for the mother," the organization said. "We mourn the loss of the three children who tragically could not be saved last year but are grateful the doctors rightly protected the mothers rather than losing both precious lives."

The group added, "However, this report does not reflect illegal, unreported abortions driven by radical anti-Life groups. That is why Texas must focus on stopping websites that ship illegal abortion drugs from overseas and activists who traffic these life-ending drugs across the border."

Immediate and continuing impact

While the decline in legal abortions performed in Texas was sharpest following the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision in June 2022, Breitbart pointed out that the number of legal procedures in the state had already been decreasing prior to that due to the high court's ruling that allowed SB 8 to take effect pending legal challenges to its constitutionality.

In fact, per the state's statistics, there had been a 60 percent decline in legal abortions performed from August to September of 2021, as the number of reported procedures fell from around 5,400 to less than 2,200 over the one-month period.

As noted by the Texas Right to Life organization, however, there is still more work to be done before Texas can be fully considered a "pro-life" state, including reforms to the adoption and foster care systems, assisting pregnant women and new mothers in schools and workplaces, providing more funding for abortion alternatives programs, and providing new mothers with up to a year of medical coverage for both mother and child after giving birth.

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