How the Abortion Law in Texas is Already Impacting Women in Other States
On September 1, 2021 Senate Bill 8, a law restricting abortions in Texas, was put into effect. Though it has only been two months, this law has had a substantial impact on the women of Texas and women across the nation.
The consequences of this law can be seen through the number of women who have been denied the procedure since it was enacted. “150 patients seeking abortion in September were unable to access services because of the law. Just 12 days later, the number jumped to 211 patients,” explained Planned Parenthood in The Texas Tribune. This raises the question of what will the future look like with a law that is denying a constitutional right?
As the number of denied cases rise, morality plummets. Though the 1973 Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision that established the constitutional right to abortion is still in effect, states have discovered loopholes that allow them to circumvent this right. Among them is the state of Texas which is now “the most restrictive in the nation in terms of access to abortion services” according to the The New York Times.
Texas has banned abortions over six weeks of pregnancy and sometimes even earlier. This is based on when cardiac activity can be detected. However, most women do not discover their pregnancy until about the fourth week, giving them just under two weeks to decide whether or not they want to undergo the procedure.
As it turns out, “the cardiac activity detected on ultrasound is not a true heartbeat … It results from electrical activity, but the valves of the heart have not yet formed” explains Dr. Villavicencio from The New York Times. This is a significant change from the Roe v Wade legal standard of 24 weeks, which is when the fetus can live outside of the womb.
It may seem as though the Texas abortion law will only affect women in the state of Texas, but evidently this is not the case. This decision has already proven to impact the people of the surrounding area as well. “In September, Planned Parenthood health centers in surrounding states saw a 1,082% increase in patients with Texas ZIP codes seeking abortion” according to The Texas Tribune. With such a significant increase within the first month of the Senate Bill 8 being passed, one can only imagine what it is going to look like over the next year.
“Neighboring states including Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma have a combined total of 15 clinics - less than the total number of abortion facilities in Texas”according to The Texas Tribune. As of 2021, the number of females who live within these five states is: 1.547 million in Arkansas, 2.364 million in Louisiana, 1.063 million in New Mexico, 2.015 million in Oklahoma, and 14.984 million in Texas according to the World Population Review. For the 21.973 million females who live in these states, there are only a total of 15 abortion facilities that are accessible for women over six weeks pregnant.
Women who live outside of Texas could be pushed out of their own in-state abortion facilities leading them to seek help elsewhere. “Wait times over two weeks are common at many out-of-state locations … this delay could push pregnant Texans past medical deadlines for medication abortions or even push them into the second trimester of pregnancy” explains The Texas Tribune. This wait time could lead to procedures being done when there is an increased risk. As the Senate Bill 8 stay’s in effect, this single law is harming not only women in Texas but also women of surrounding states and it can only be imagined what this change will lead to in the years to come.