Texas abortion ban may have contributed to births of nearly 10K babies

Senate Bill 8, also known as the Heartbeat Act, bans abortions after cardiac activity in a fetus can be detected.
A pregnant woman receives an ultrasound.
Posted at 10:55 AM, Jul 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-18 04:49:08-04

A Texas law that bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy is apparently having an effect on birth rates in the state. 

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University estimate the law, which took effect in 2021, was associated with at least 9,799 births in 2022.

To come to their conclusion, researchers looked at estimated births and observed births from April to December 2022. In every month, there were more births than estimated. 

"Although there was an increase in abortions provided to Texans out of the state and requests for medication abortion pills obtained outside the formal health care system, results suggest not everyone who might have received an abortion in the absence of SB8 was able to obtain one," the study says. 

December 2022 had the highest recorded births compared to the estimate. The study notes that 32,912 births were estimated and 34,586 babies were actually born. That's an increase of 5%. 

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Senate Bill 8, also known as the Heartbeat Act, was signed in May 2021. 

The Texas attorney general said abortions in the state fell by 60% in the first month after the law took effect. The law bans abortions after cardiac activity in a fetus can be detected. Health officials say that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, which critics contend is before many women even know they are pregnant. 

Under the law, members of the public can sue people who facilitate or perform an abortion after cardiac activity is detected for at least $10,000. 

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