The number of abortions in Texas fell by nearly 50 percent after the state enacted its six-week abortion ban, according to a report from researchers at the University of Texas at Austin released Friday.
The report from the university’s Texas Policy Evaluation Project compared the changes in the number of in-state abortions that occurred between July and September 2021 to the number of abortions that were performed during the same period last year.
There were 2,164 abortions performed in September 2021, the month after Texas Senate Bill 8 ban went into effect on Sept. 1. That is a 49.8 percent drop from the 4,313 abortions that were performed in September 2020.
The bill effectively bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is usually around six weeks.
The law also allows private citizens to sue those who performed or “aided and abetted” in an abortion in violation of the law and allows plaintiffs to recover at least $10,000 for successful cases.
The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on Nov. 1 in challenges to the law brought by abortion providers and the Department of Justice in an effort to block Texas from enforcing the bill.
The researchers evaluated monthly data on the total number of abortions provided at 19 of the state’s 24 abortion facility, which collectively provide roughly 93 percent of abortions reported to the state.
According to the report, over 40 percent of people who seek abortion care do not contact a provider until after six weeks of pregnancy.
The data suggested that SB8’s narrow criteria excluded many pregnant people from obtaining abortions in Texas. However, the researchers said that there was early evidence that Texans are instead leaving the state to seek abortion care and straining capacity at out-of-state facilities.
Wait times for clinics at neighboring states — such as Oklahoma and New Mexico — were longer in September 2021 than they were in July 2020, when the most recent data was available. Wait times exceeding two weeks were common at some facilities, the report found.