Fewer Women in Texas Are Getting Abortions, But Not Because They Don’t Need Them

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New Mexico.
New Mexico.Photo: suesmith2

Abortions have declined by about 12 percent across the United States since 2010, and many people believe it’s because fewer women are getting pregnant to begin with. (Thanks, long-acting birth control!) Some states, however, have seen more drastic drops in abortion rates following the passage of Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, a.k.a. TRAP laws.

Take, for example, Texas. The state saw a 30-percent drop in abortions in the same period, during which time it also happened to introduce draconian anti-choice laws that have been appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court. In 2014, the first full year after the passage of HB 2, Texas clinics performed 9,000 fewer abortions than the previous year. But guess who did see an increase? Its abortion-friendly neighbor to the west, New Mexico.

Abortion rates among New Mexico residents are down, but the total number of procedures is on the rise thanks to the roughly 20 percent of the 4,500 abortions performed last year which involved women from out of state, according to the state’s Department of Health. The report doesn’t say where the approximately 900 out-of-staters are coming from, but the likely guesses are Texas as well as Arizona and Oklahoma, which have each passed at least ten TRAP laws since 2011.