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If the Supreme Court Upholds Restrictions, the Number of Second-Trimester Abortions Could Nearly Double


Washington, DC — New research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) demonstrates that health centers in Texas are already struggling to meet increased demand for safe, legal abortion following a wave of closures after the passage of abortion restrictions in 2013. If the Supreme Court allows further abortion restrictions to go into effect, TxPEP researchers estimate that the number of abortions in the second trimester could nearly double. While abortion is an extremely safe procedure, it is safest earlier in pregnancy.

Statement from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“If you want to see the result of Republican leadership's devastating attacks on women's health, look no further than Texas. This new report shows us that restrictions are forcing abortion later in pregnancy, if a woman can access a procedure at all. While abortion is an extremely safe procedure, it is safest earlier in pregnancy. This is making women undergo a more invasive procedure later in pregnancy, for political—and not medical—reasons. As members of Congress and GOP candidates for president try to score cheap political points by calling for restrictions on abortion and defunding Planned Parenthood, the situation in Texas is a reminder that the consequences for women are very real. And that’s why we’re seeing people throughout the nation speak out — both Republicans and Democrats who believe politicians have gone too far."

If the Supreme Court allows all of the 2013 restrictions to go into full effect, the 5.4 million women of reproductive age in Texas will be left with only 10 health centers that provide safe, legal abortion in the entire state — down from approximately 40 health centers before passage of this dangerous law. According to TxPEP’s research, the number of women seeking abortions at the remaining 10 health centers would increase dramatically beyond existing capacity:

  • In Austin, the number of abortions performed per facility would need to increase from about 3,700 to nearly 7,500.

  • In Houston, the number of procedures performed per facility would need to increase from about 3,900 to more than 11,000.

  • If this happens, TxPEP estimates that the percentage of abortions performed in the second trimester would almost double, from 10.5% to 19.5% of procedures.