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Austin, TX – State health officials have delayed publication of updated data on pregnancy-related deaths until next summer, after the midterm elections and the Texas Legislature’s biennial session, requiring lawmakers to use nine-year-old data to inform state policy. 

Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, who was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott, blamed the delay on lack of funding and staff capacity. This failure of DSHS comes as Texas officials face renewed scrutiny over the state’s abysmal maternal health outcomes, exacerbated by completely banning abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest.

The following statement can be attributed to Dyana Limon-Mercado, Executive Director at Planned Parenthood Texas Votes: 

“Texas officials have failed us — again. Greg Abbott and his administration are trying to conceal the impact of his decade-long attack on reproductive health care in Texas. Under Greg Abbott’s governorship, Texas has decimated access to family planning, outlawed safe and legal abortion, and refused to expand Medicaid coverage. It’s no surprise that, in the same time frame, there has also been a steep increase in maternal mortality rates in the state, especially among Black women. Abbott and his administration want to sweep all of that under the rug by delaying release of the updated data, but Texans can see through their obvious efforts to mislead voters and downplay the maternal health crisis they have created in our state. We are outraged, and we will not stand for it. 

“Even without the new data, Texas voters know that their lives and the lives of their loved ones are on the line. Planned Parenthood Texas Votes is committed to electing state leaders that will restore and expand access to sexual health and reproductive rights, and who will finally address our state’s shameful maternal mortality rate once and for all.”


Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) is the nonpartisan policy, advocacy and political arm for Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas.