HEADLINES Published November19, 2015 By Staff Writer

As Abortion Clinics Close, Thousands of Texas Women May Be Performing Their Own Abortions

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Many thousands of women in Texas may be attempting to end their pregnancies on their own.
(Photo : Alex Wong, Getty Images)

Between 100,000 and 240,000 women in Texas may have tried to end a pregnancy without medical help. This finding is from two surveys conducted online in that state. 

The Texas Policy Evaluation Project conducted the surveys using a representative sample of 779 women. The women were asked if they or any of their best friends had ever tried to induce their own abortion.  Of the women surveyed, 1.7% said they had attempted an abortion on themselves. Another 1.8% said they their best friend had tried to abort a pregnancy and 2.3% said that they suspected their best friend had done so. The estimates of how many women have tried to self-abort come from extrapolating these figures to the whole population of women in Texas.

In 2013, Texas enacted stringent rules that require abortion clinics to meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers and require that they be staffed by physicians with admitting privileges to local hospitals. Many abortion clinics in the state have shut down because they cannot make the needed renovations or because there are no local hospitals that are willing to give their physicians admitting privileges. The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case concerning the legality of these rules.

Because of these requirements, Texas has only 17 abortion clinics in the state, compared to 41 clinics in 2014. If the Supreme Court rules against the clinics, another seven clinics will probably shut down. Currently, a woman would have to travel an average of 111 miles from her home county to an abortion clinic. In other states, this average distance is 59 miles.

The surveys also asked women what method they used to attempt their abortion. The most common method used was taking the drug misoprostol (brand name, Cytotec), which is one of two drugs that are used in combination for nonsurgical abortions. Women also reported using methods such as "herbs or homeopathic remedies, getting hit or punched in the stomach, using alcohol or illicit drugs, or taking hormonal pills."

More than 30% of women surveyed said they were against abortion, but could understand why a woman would try to abort her pregnancy on her own.

You can read the report here

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