Abortions in the US state of Texas fell by 60% or more than 3,200 in September 2021, the first month of a new law which bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected after about six weeks of pregnancy.
According to newly released data from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, nearly 2,200 abortions were carried out in September, a sharp drop from the first eight months of that year.
More than 5,400 abortions were carried out statewide in August 2021, the month before the law, SB8, was passed.
“Abortion is a deeply personal and sometimes complex decision,” Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, said on Twitter.
“Politicians shouldn’t be making decisions about your body for you,” it added.
Under SB8, private citizens can collect a $10,000 reward if they report a woman who has an abortion after that six-week timeframe.
“This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as a precedent for nearly half a century,” said US President Joe Biden in a news release after SB8 went into effect on Sept. 1, 2021.
“The Texas law will significantly impair women’s access to the health care they need…And, outrageously, it deputizes private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who they believe has helped another person get an abortion, which might even include family members, health care workers, front desk staff at a health care clinic, or strangers with no connection to the individual.”
No lawsuits have been filed by anti-abortion activists during the first five months the Texas abortion law has been in effect.
However, many women who live in Texas are now traveling out of state to receive abortions.
“For 5 months, abortion has been virtually inaccessible in Texas, with no clear end in sight,” said Planned Parenthood.
The organization emphasized that Texas SB8 affects people of color and the poor, who have historically been shut out of health and economic opportunities, including “Black, Latino and Indigenous communities, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, young people, immigrants, and those having difficulty making ends meet.”
The Biden administration says it is committed to protecting abortion rights under Roe vs. Wade.
However, Planned Parenthood is extremely concerned about the long-term impact of SB8.
“Reproductive rights are hanging on by a thread,” said the organization.
“We must continue to fight for people to have the freedom to control their own body and future.”
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