A new analysis discovered that in Texas, the year after a strict ab0rtion ban was enacted in 2021, there were nearly 9,800 more live births.
Using data on live births from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., between 2016 and 2022, a team from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health conducted the study, published on Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Next, they utilized statistical modeling to predict how Texas’ birth rates might have changed if S.B. 8, the bill that outlaws nearly all ab0rtions after six weeks, had not been p@ssed.
NEWS: Texas’ 6-week abortion ban, which took effect in the fall of 2021, resulted in nearly 9,800 extra live births between April and December 2022, per a new Johns Hopkins analysis.
This is an important early sign of how Dobbs may affects births in states with bans. pic.twitter.com/vYo59pBTmr
— Caroline Kitchener (@CAKitchener) June 29, 2023
Researchers calculated that if the ab0rtion ban had not been implemented in September 2021, there would have been 287,289 live births in Texas between April 2022 and December 2022. There were 9,799 more live births during this period than the actual number of births, which was 297,088.
S.B. 8, which prohibits ab0rtion after six weeks of gestation—before many women are aware they are pregnant—was enacted by Texas legislators in 2021 and was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.
According to S.B.8, any individual may bring a lawsuit against anyone who performs an ab0rtion or helps a pregnant woman get the procedure.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year, Texas p@ssed a trigger law that will take effect in August 2022 and outlaw ab0rtion in almost all cases, except cases where it is necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant woman.
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Approximately 9,800 Extra Births Occurred As A Result Of Texas’ Ab0rtion Restrictions.
“There just are a lot of questions around what’s going to happen to actual fertility, whether people will be able to get an ab0rtion or not,” co-lead author Alison Gemmill, an assistant professor in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told ABC News.
According to Gemmill, the data show how the ban may have forced thousands of people to continue an unwanted or risky pregnancy. That number may increase due to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling.
According to Gemmill, people could still travel to adjacent states when the Texas restriction was in effect. The question is whether the impact will be more significant now that there are fewer places where people can access ab0rtion. However, since Dobbs, we know that all those surrounding states have likewise outlawed ab0rtion.
This month, amidst 120 degree record-high temperatures, Texas legislators passed a law that bans mandatory water breaks for construction workers. Today we reaffirmed our commitment to Texas workers by providing support for our Harris County mental health care workers’ to unionize
— Lina Hidalgo (@LinaHidalgoTX) June 28, 2023
Even while research has revealed that Texas residents received more ab0rtions in other states, the team’s analysis suggests that not everyone wanting an ab0rtion could get one after S.B. 8 p@ssed.
This study is not the first to look into the effects of Texas’s ban on ab0rtion. Ab0rtions in or near Texas decreased by 38% in the month after the ban took effect, according to a 2022 study.
The implications of not having access to ab0rtion, according to Gemmill, were not covered in the analysis. Still, research has shown that they can significantly negatively impact both physical and mental health.
Even though the study’s unfavorable effects aren’t being explicitly measured, she said, “We know from other studies that people who are denied wanted ab0rtions face a host of negative consequences.” “We must contextualize the significance of these births. It’s subtle.
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