In a recent study, 779 Texan women were asked if they have had or attempted a self-induce abortion. The survey was conducted by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) in order to record how clinic-based care is harder for women to access in Texas.
Twenty-two percent of the women surveyed claimed that they, their best friend or a family member induced their abortion because it would be too costly if done professionally. Dr. Daniel Grossman, who serves as a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco revealed, “This is the latest body of evidence demonstrating the negative implications of laws like HB2 [the law that the Supreme Court has recently agreed to address.] Laws like these pretend to protect women but in reality place them, and particularly women of color and economically disadvantaged women, at significant risk.” The HB2 law states: “Abortion doctors must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.” However, Fund Texas Choice reports, “this provision will probably result in the closure of most clinics in Texas since nearby hospitals do not have any incentive to allow an abortion provider to admit patients.”
Women often self-induce abortions by hitting or punching themselves in their abdomens, drinking alcohol or using drugs. Others opt for hormonal pills, herbs or misoprostol, a medicine used to prevent stomach ulcers. Misoprostol is usually the drug of choice for women who live near the Texas-Mexico border because it can be purchased without a prescription in Mexico. Others who could have afforded a proper abortion but didn’t noted the distance they had to travel to other clinics because their local ones were shut down due to the HB2 law. Despite traveling to other clinics, women feared they would be arrested if the medical staff learned that they tried other methods to end their pregnancies.
Dr. Grossman told The Cut, “As clinic-based care becomes harder to access in Texas, we can expect more women to feel that they have no other option and take matters into their own hands.” Although these women are gambling with their lives, the HB2 law is prompting them to do so. If the HB2 law is fully passed in Texas, the current 18 clinics that provide women with reproductive health care in the state will decrease to 10, leaving Texan women with more limited options to receive the care they need.