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Data show Texas women are finding ways to get around the state's abortion crackdown

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Abortion-rights activists chant outside the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of a historic ruling Monday striking down a Texas law that imposed strict requirements on clinics that perform abortions.
Mandel Ngan
/
AFP/Getty Images
Abortion-rights activists chant outside the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of a historic ruling Monday striking down a Texas law that imposed strict requirements on clinics that perform abortions.

Texas implemented statewide abortion restrictions last year, but new data shows that women are still finding ways to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

Senate Bill 8 banned abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected around six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women know they're pregnant. There are no exceptions for pregnancies that result from incest or rape.

Since the passage of these widespread restrictions, more women are traveling out of state to get the procedure or ordering abortion pills online.

According to recently published data from researchers the University of Texas at Austin, the number of women leaving the state to obtain abortions has grown tenfold. At least 5,500 Texans made trips to out-of-state abortion clinics between September and December last year.

The findings suggest Texas' new law has not yet led to a large decline in abortion procedures, as its impact has been partly offset by an increase in the number of women using alternative options to end unwanted pregnancies.

How much has the state's crackdown really reduced in-state abortion access? Are clinics in surrounding states able to meet the increased demand for services?

Are Texas' restrictions effective if they're only changing where and how people get abortion care? Do its architects still consider the law a success?

However, traveling out of state is cost prohibitive for many women. Those still unable to get abortions are most likely to be poor, Black and Brown. What are the long-term implications of this inequity?

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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, March 23.

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