Latina Texans Have Limited Access to Abortion Thanks to This Law
In 2013, House Bill 2 took effect, greatly restricting abortions in the Lone Star State. Since then, abortion rates among Latinas in Texas have dropped by 18 percent. Here’s a breakdown of the barriers HB2 creates:
1) Doctors must have “admitting privileges” at a hospital within 30 miles. OK, this, in my opinion, is totally ridiculous because fewer than 1 in 1,000 women need hospitalization during an abortion. And if they did, the hospital is legally required to admit anyone having a medical emergency anyway. It is, however, a lot of red tape to get admitting privileges, so essentially it’s just a really clever and probably expensive obstacle for abortion providers.
2) Abortions beyond 20 weeks are illegal unless the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother. Otherwise, they’re totally illegal – even if the mother was raped. Women with chronic illness or limited access to healthcare (a.k.a, much of the low-income population) are most affected by this because they may not know they are pregnant until later on. This also holds true for rape victims who often are ignorant of or in denial of their pregnancy until later in the game.
3) All abortion facilities must meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), including facilities that only provide medical abortion. Long story short, this is difficult, unnecessary and expensive. It’s basically a big deterrent for clinics.
The Texas Department State of Health has been accused of withholding the number of abortions since HB2 took effect. The first full year it took effect was 2014, so that gives us an idea of the significant changes that took place.
In 2013, 16,189 Texans had medical abortions. In 2014, it was closer to 5,000. It clearly hit people of color the hardest. From 2013 to 2014, the number of Latinas who had abortions dropped by 18 percent. It fell by 7.7 percent among black women.
The law as it stands was rejected this week by the Supreme Court, who ruled it unconstitutional. We’ve known all along that Texas didn’t have evidence that the law’s restrictions protected patients… The Supreme Court ultimately agreed with what medical experts, researchers, and providers have been saying all along: that HB2-style regulations actually jeopardize patient health and place an “undue burden” on people seeking abortions.
So it’s back to the drawing board for Texas anti-abortionists that will no doubt be up to the task.
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