AUSTIN (KXAN) — The number of Texans who received an abortion dropped by 97% in the month after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, according to data released by the state of Texas.
The Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 decision on June 24, eliminating the nearly 50-year-old constitutional right to abortion. The ruling gave states the authority to limit or ban the procedure.
Despite the state’s trigger law banning most abortions not going into effect until Aug. 22, Texas saw an immediate and dramatic decrease in the number of abortions in the state after the Supreme Court ruling.
Just 68 abortions were performed on Texas residents in the state in July 2022, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. That’s down from 2,596 in June, a 97% decrease.
Texas’ trigger law bans all abortions, except under limited circumstances like a “life-threatening condition to the mother caused by the pregnancy.” Abortion in the state is punishable by up to life in prison and at least a $100,000 fine for each offense.
The extended restrictions came less than a year after Senate Bill 8 went into effect in September 2021. At the time, it was considered the most restrictive abortion law in the country. The bill banned abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
At that time, Texas saw a 61% drop in the number of abortions from August to September, according to official state data. A study led by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that the number of out-of-state abortions increased by 500% that same month.
SB 8 also allows any Texas citizen to sue physicians, or anyone who aids in or abets an abortion, for up to $10,000 if a fetal heartbeat was detected at the time of the abortion.
A ruling by a state court Thursday challenged that part of the law. State District Judge Aaron Haas in Bexar County dismissed a lawsuit against an abortion provider, ruling that people with no connection to the abortion and have not been harmed by it do not have standing to bring such lawsuits.
The ruling does not overturn the law, nor does it impact the state’s trigger law.
From January through July this year, 17,194 abortions were performed on Texas residents in state, less than half compared to the same time period the year prior.
In the first seven months of 2021, 35,441 abortions were reported. The total surpassed 52,000 by the end of the year.
Of the 17,194 abortions reported so far this year, all but 14 were within the first eight weeks of pregnancy, HHSC data shows.
Almost 60% of abortions were by women in their 20s, and almost a third were women in their 30s.
A majority — 61% — of those receiving the procedure in the first seven months of this year had never had an abortion before.
According to the data, abortions are not proportional to population when it comes to race and ethnicity. The contrast is particularly stark for Black people. The demographic group makes up about 13% of the state’s population, yet accounts for 29% of all abortions in Texas.
White people in Texas make up about 40% of the state population but account for just 26% of abortions.