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Reports: Zero elective abortions in Texas since August 2022

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(The Center Square) – There have been zero elective abortions in Texas since August 2022, when Texas’ new Human Life Protection Act took effect, according to 20 months of data published by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

The data also shows abortions are being performed in medical emergencies, refuting claims to the contrary.

The law went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its final judgement in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning the landmark abortion ruling of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. This triggered the Human Life Protection Act, which allowed Texas statutes prohibiting abortion predating Roe to go into effect that were still on the books and never changed by the state legislature. Texas laws banning abortion, including the new Heartbeat Act, were in full effect by Aug. 25, 2022.

After years of legal challenges, the Texas Supreme Court ruled again last month that the Human Life Protection Act and other laws banning most abortions in Texas are legal.

The data shows that from January 2022 to June 2022, there were 17,112 elective abortions performed in Texas and 14 medical-necessity (life/health) exceptions. After Dobbs, in July 2022, there were 67 elective abortions performed in Texas and none after that.

Since Dobbs, 97 abortions have been performed for medical-necessity exceptions.

In response to the data, Texas Alliance for Life said, “Texas’ abortion laws continue to save unborn babies’ lives from abortion while saving pregnant women’s lives. The July 1, 2024, report for reported abortions shows a consistent trend. For the first 20 months after the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in Dobbs – July 2022 through February 2024 – reported elective abortions plummeted from thousands each month to zero. At the same time, doctors reported performing 97 medically necessary abortions, all in hospitals.”

Plaintiffs suing to stop Texas’ law from going into effect argued for two years that abortions weren’t being performed to save the life of the mother.

After the ruling, one of the plaintiffs, The Center for Reproductive Rights, argued, “exceptions to abortion bans are illusory and it is dangerous to be pregnant in any state that bans abortion.”

The court directly refuted the claim stating it was “wrong” and “Texas law permits a life-saving abortion.”

The ruling also noted that “A physician cannot be fined or disciplined for performing an abortion when the physician, exercising reasonable medical judgment, concludes (1) a pregnant woman has a life-threatening physical condition, and (2) that condition poses a risk of death or serious physical impairment unless an abortion is performed. After the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, current Texas law otherwise generally prohibits performing an abortion,” The Center Square reported.

So far, no doctor who has performed medically necessary abortions has been prosecuted by the AG’s office or sanctioned by the Texas Medical Board.

“Texas’ laws are saving unborn babies from abortion and protecting women’s lives in rare and tragic cases when pregnancy endangers their lives or health,” Amy O’Donnell, Texas Alliance for Life’s communications director, said in a statement. “The latest reports show claims by critics and naysayers to the contrary are completely baseless.”

The alliance also notes, “No pregnant woman has lost her life because of the provisions of Texas’ abortion laws, even with more than 360,000 live births in Texas each year.”

Two years after the Texas legislature passed the Heartbeat Act, an analysis published by Johns Hopkins estimated that nearly 9,800 babies were born in Texas because of it in just eight months, The Center Square reported.

In 2021, the state legislature expanded requirements for abortion statistics to be publicly reported. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission says it first published the required data online in February 2022. Categories include elective abortions, those performed because of a medical emergency to preserve the life of the mother, location and type of facility, type of procedure, and demographics like the mothers’ age, ethnicity and marital status.

The Texas legislature also expanded a range of free or low-cost women’s healthcare, pregnancy and family services over the years, which can be found at FamilyResources.texas.gov. In the last legislative session, Gov. Greg Abbott signed bills into law extending Medicaid health-care coverage to 12 months post-partum, appropriating over $447 million for women’s health programs and investing over $140 million in the Thriving Texas Families program.

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