Was the September 2021 implementation of a Texas law prohibiting abortion after detectable embryonic cardiac activity associated with changes in Texas residents’ use of in-state and out-of-state facility-based abortion care?
In this interrupted time series analysis of 80 107 abortions obtained between September 2020 and February 2022, Texas’ law was significantly associated with a decrease in Texas facility–based abortions (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 0.43), an increase in Texas residents obtaining out-of-state abortions (IRR, 5.38), and a decrease in total in-state and out-of-state abortions (IRR, 0.67) in September 2021 compared with August 2021.
A Texas law banning abortion in early pregnancy was associated with a decrease in total facility-based abortions among Texas residents.
Texas’ 2021 ban on abortion in early pregnancy may demonstrate how patterns of abortion might change following the US Supreme Court’s June 2022 decision overturning Roe v Wade.
To assess changes in the number of abortions and changes in the percentage of out-of-state abortions among Texas residents performed at 12 or more weeks of gestation in the first 6 months following implementation of Texas Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), which prohibited abortions after detection of embryonic cardiac activity.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Retrospective study of a sample of 50 Texas and out-of-state abortion facilities using an interrupted time series analysis to assess changes in the number of abortions, and Poisson regression to assess changes in abortions at 12 or more weeks of gestation. Data included 68 820 Texas facility–based abortions and 11 287 out-of-state abortions among Texas residents during the study period from September 1, 2020, to February 28, 2022.
Abortion care obtained after (September 2021–February 2022) vs before (September 2020–August 2021) implementation of SB 8.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Primary outcomes were changes in the number of facility-based abortions for Texas residents, in Texas and out of state, in the month after implementation of SB 8 compared with the month before. The secondary outcome was the change in the percentage of out-of-state abortions among Texas residents obtained at 12 or more weeks of gestation during the 6-month period after the law’s implementation.
Between September 2020 and August 2021, there were 55 018 abortions in Texas and 2547 out-of-state abortions among Texas residents. During the 6 months after SB 8, there were 13 802 abortions in Texas and 8740 out-of-state abortions among Texas residents. Compared with the month before implementation of SB 8, the number of Texas facility–based abortions significantly decreased from 5451 to 2169 (difference, −3282 [95% CI, −3171 to −3396]; incidence rate ratio [IRR], 0.43 [95% CI, 0.36-0.51]) in the month after SB 8 was implemented. The number of out-of-state abortions among Texas residents significantly increased from 222 to 1332 (difference, 1110 [95% CI, 1047-1177]; IRR, 5.38 [95% CI, 4.19-6.91]). Overall, the total documented number of Texas facility–based and out-of-state abortions among Texas residents significantly decreased from 5673 to 3501 (absolute change, −2172 [95% CI, −2083 to −2265]; IRR, 0.67 [95% CI, 0.56-0.79]) in the first month after SB 8 was implemented compared with the previous month. Out-of-state abortions among Texas residents obtained at 12 or more weeks of gestation increased from 17.1% (221/1291) to 31.0% (399/1289) (difference, 178 [95% CI, 153-206]) during the period between September 2021 and February 2022 (P < .001 for trend).
Conclusions and Relevance
Among a sample of abortion facilities, the 2021 Texas law banning abortion in early pregnancy (SB 8) was significantly associated with a decrease in the documented total of facility-based abortions in Texas and obtained by Texas residents in surrounding states in the first month after implementation compared with the previous month. Over the 6 months following SB 8 implementation, the percentage of out-of-state abortions among Texas residents obtained at 12 or more weeks of gestation significantly increased.
White K, Sierra G, Lerma K, et al. Association of Texas’ 2021 Ban on Abortion in Early Pregnancy With the Number of Facility-Based Abortions in Texas and Surrounding States. JAMA. 2022;328(20):2048–2055. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.20423
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