Report Estimates 9,200 Fewer Abortions in Texas After Passage of Pro-Life Law

By Abigail Wilkinson | July 31, 2014 | 3:59 PM EDT

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (AP photo)

( -- A year after the passage of a controversial bill restricting abortion in Texas, there will be an estimated 9,200 fewer abortions performed in the state, according to a report published earlier this month by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project.

"Compared to Period 1 [the six months prior to the bill's debate], there was a 13% decline in the state's abortion rate in Period 3 (the same six-month period one year later), corresponding to about 9,200 fewer abortions annually," according to the report, entitled “Change in Abortion Services After Implementation of a Restrictive Law in Texas.

It also says that Texas had 41 abortion clinics as of May 2013. By November 2013, that number had been reduced to 22 and is expected to fall as low as six by September, when all abortion clinics in Texas must  follow ambulatory surgical center (ASC) requirements.

The number of chemical abortions also decreased by 70 percent.

The legislation, which was passed and signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry last July, prohibits most abortions after 20 weeks, requires that all abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and mandates that all chemical abortions be performed according to FDA regulations.

In the sixth months leading up to the debate, 10,000 women in Texas lived more than 200 miles from a facility providing abortion, according to the report. During the six months after the legislation was enforced, this number increased to 290,000 women and is expected to more than double after September, when the ASC requirement goes into effect.

Although the report states that it “cannot prove causality between the state restrictions and falling abortion rate,” it adds that the timing “is suggestive of a link.”

“The closure of clinics and restriction on medical abortion in Texas appear to be associated with a decline in the in-state abortion rate and a marked decrease in the number of medical abortions,” the report says. “Supply-side restrictions on abortion -- especially restrictions on medical abortion -- can have a profound impact on access to services.”

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (AP photo)

The bill was the target of Sen. Wendy Davis’ (D-TX) 11-hour filibuster last June, which delayed its passage. Since then, it has faced lawsuits from abortion rights groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“It is our responsibility and duty to give voice to the unborn, the individuals whose very survival is at stake,” Perry said when signing HB 2 last year. “This bill lives up to that responsibility.”

Gov. Perry also remarked specifically on the 20-week ban.

“We know that not very far past that point, children can survive -- and thrive -- with appropriate care,” he said.

“New research and advanced technology give prematurely-born children a renewed chance at life, and I think that should give pause to us all as we argue the definition of viability and consider the human impact of abortion.”

“And at five months, many studies indicate these children feel the pain of their own deaths,” he added.