At Least 100,000 Texas Women Have Performed Their Own Abortions


Between 100,000 and 240,000 Texas women ages 18 to 49 have attempted to terminate their own pregnancies without medical assistance, according to new research.

The survey, conducted by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, asked 779 participants to reveal whether she thought her best friend had ever tried abortion self-induction (since the behavior is stigmatized and the participant might be more likely to reveal the truth about a friend), and then whether the participant herself had ever attempted it. 1.7 percent claimed to have performed an abortion on themselves, while 4.1 percent said they thought their best friend had.

These abortion self-inductions were attempted in a number of ways—most commonly with the drug Misoprostol (brand name Cytotec), but also with “herbs or homeopathic remedies, getting hit or punched in the abdomen, using alcohol or illicit drugs, or taking hormonal pills.”

“It started off slow and… went from zero to sixty real quick and it was just like really painful, intense cramping. It was the worst cramping I’ve ever had and probably one of the worst pains I’ve gone through,” said a 24-year-old from Lower Rio Grande Valley.

“And there was also the fact that I’m doing it at home, we’re not—though we have all the information as to how much bleeding is too much bleeding, you know, or that, there’s always that slight uncertainty of, like, I don’t really know what I’m doing.”

Last week, the Supreme Court has announced it will review HB2, the Texas abortion law that was designed to shut down a majority of the state’s clinics. But until then, Texas women have few options when it comes to reproductive services.

The New York Times reports:

Texas is now home to 17 abortion clinics, down from 41 in 2012, just before the law was passed. The 17 are almost all in major cities in the central and eastern part of the state, which are more able to fulfill the new requirements.
The average Texas county is now 111 miles from the nearest clinic, up from 72 miles in 2012. This is substantially higher than the national average outside Texas, 59 miles, and more than triple the average in deep red South Carolina, 36 miles.

“I just wanted something to work,” a 26-year-old from Corpus Christi said. “I didn’t want to have to spend the money again. I didn’t want to have to do the drive. Not to mention, you know, I don’t have other family. My family lives out of the country so I’m stuck in this town by myself. And my boyfriend I have, but he works… and I have to find somebody who’s willing to drive me two and a half hours and back.”

“Given that the populations we found to be most familiar with abortion self-induction are among those that have been most directly affected by the closure of abortion clinics in the state,” the study reads, “we suspect that abortion self-induction will increase as clinic-based care becomes more difficult to access.”

Contact the author at [email protected].

Image via Getty.

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