Abortions in Texas are down by almost 9,000 since 2014 in the Lone Star State. Texas legislators and pro-life activists are saying that this is “something to celebrate.”
In 2014, state estimates reveal that 54,191 abortions were performed. In 2013, that number was at 63, 168, reported the Texas Tribune this week. A reported 681 women in the state obtained abortions out of the state of Texas.
“First off, this news is something to celebrate. Almost 9,000 fewer Texans were victimized by the injustice of elective abortion in 2014 than in 2013,” John Seago, the legislative director of Texas Right to Life told Breitbart Texas.
Seago added, “The decrease in abortions seen in the 2014 statistics continues a trend in Texas that has been occurring for two decades. The new data shows a dramatic drop that can most likely be contributed to the efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, the Sonogram Law, as well as the Preborn Pain section of House Bill 2 in 2015 that was never challenged in court.”
The legislative director of the pro-life advocacy group said that the annual number of elective abortions have been continually dropping in Texas even in the long periods when the Legislature failed to pass any significant pro-Life legislation. He said that this is because advancement in science and technology continue to show the humanity of the preborn child with sonogram machines. He says that it is also due to new findings in embryology like the medical consensus that preborn children have the capacity to feel pain at least by twenty weeks.
Seago says that the cultural conversation around abortion has been changing how Texans think about this horrific practice. It has also caused more Texans to hold onto pro-Life principles than ever before. He predicted that “with continuing successful education, outreach, and activism efforts in the movement, we will continue to see few elective abortions in Texas.”
Texas Senator Paul Bettencourt told Breitbart Texas, “This is really what the pro-life movement is all about. Saving one child’s life so that they and thousands more like them will be born every year.”
These reports of abortion estimates in the state are revealed as the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding a case involving access to abortions. The case was argued before the nation’s highest court on March 2.
Pro-life proponents fear that the death of Justice Antonin Scalia will have an impact on the case which charges that a Texas law unconstitutionally limits access to abortions in the state.
As reported by Breitbart Texas in November 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari review of a challenge to provisions of Texas House Bill 2 (HB 2) in Whole Woman’s Health et al. v. Cole (now Hellerstedt), Comm’r, Texas DHS, et al (No. 15-274).
Former Governor Rick Perry signed HB 2 into law in July of 2013.
The issues before the U.S. Supreme Court pertain to provisions that Texas lawmakers say are designed to improve the quality of care for women and to improve the sanitary conditions of surgical centers used to provide women’s health services.
One of the provisions being challenged requires that abortion facilities comply with the standards already in place for ambulatory surgical centers. The law requires that abortion clinics must now meet the same operating-room standards as hospitals. A second provision requires practitioners who perform abortions at the clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the facility.
Medical experts have previously testified that the requirements are reasonable and effective measures intended to improve the standard of care for women undergoing abortion procedures and to ensure women’s health and safety.
Opponents challenging the Texas law argue that the measures are designed to limit abortions by limiting women’s access to abortion clinics.
Pro-abortion groups call the legislation in Texas “sham laws” and complain they “are shutting clinics down and placing countless women at risk of serious harm,” as reported by Breitbart News.
At the time the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear the case, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton responded saying, “The common-sense measures Texas has put in place elevate the standard of care and protect the health of Texas women. The state has wide discretion to pass laws ensuring Texas women are not subject to substandard conditions at abortion facilities. The advancement of the abortion industry’s bottom line shouldn’t take precedent over women’s health, and we look forward to demonstrating the validity of these important health and safety requirements in Court.”
Now that Justice Scalia has died, there is a serious question as to whether the Court will uphold the Texas law. If the high court splits 4-4 on this decision, the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholding the Texas law will stand. The Fifth Circuit upheld on June 9, 2015, the strict restrictions on abortion clinic standards passed in HB 2 by the 2013 Texas legislature (14-50928) (although it modified on June 19 its opinion as it related to an McAllen abortion facility).
If the decision of the Fifth Circuit stands because there is an even split on the U.S. Supreme Court, states within the Fifth Circuit’s jurisdiction, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, would then likely be able to continue to affect abortion issues until a new U.S. Supreme Court justice is confirmed.
Note: This article has been updated.