Self-induced abortions seeing a rise

Self-induced abortions seeing a rise

Amarillo, TX -  A trend many officials are calling "alarming" is expected to continue if the Supreme Court rules in favor of one Texas law.

Between 100,000 and 240,000 women between the ages of 18 and 49 have tried to perform an abortion on themselves, according to new findings by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project.

In 2013, a law requiring Texas abortion clinics to meet certain standards was passed.

As a result, Texas now has just 17 abortion clinics, compared to 41 in 2012 and officials say self-induced abortions are on the rise, due to lack of access to these clinics.

"We're concerned because what we hear from these women who have done this about how the barriers accessing care at a clinic is the main factor that really pushes them to do this, so as clinic-based care becomes harder and harder to get with the closure of clinics across the state due to the restrictive laws, we anticipate that more and more women may try to do this," says Dr. Daniel Grossman with the Texas Policy Evaluation Project.

Claudia Stravato was CEO of Amarillo's Planned Parenthood for eleven years.

She says with the average Texas county being 111 miles from the nearest clinic, and most patients being low- income, DIY terminations may become more common.

"It's hard to physically, emotionally, and financially support large families now, so I would think in the valley where particularly there have been...where a lot of that report was based, that would be true," says Stravato.

And the method of choice is not as invasive as it once was. Women are choosing herbs or homeopathic remedies, and most commonly pills.

"More commonly, they talked about using different kids of medications including a drug called misoprostol which is available across the border in Mexico and actually can be very safe and effective to induce an early abortion," says Grossman.

Overall, the state's abortions have declined by 13 percent since the law was enacted. But critics argue it is becoming a major health hazard. Dr. Grossman says most of all...he hopes these large numbers will encourage those in health care to be aware of the practice.

"It's important for healthcare practitioners to know that this is happening in Texas and to be aware and on the lookout so we can take better care of these women and also ideally provide the kind of support that they need so if they have taken something that they get the appropriate medical care afterwards," says Grossman.

The Supreme Court has now agreed to hear a case to determine the constitutionality of the 2013 law.