November 2015

Texas women’s experiences attempting self-induced abortion in the face of dwindling options

Texas Policy Evaluation Project. Texas women’s experiences attempting self-induced abortion in the face of dwindling options. November 2015

The availability of abortion care in Texas has dramatically declined since the introduction of House Bill 2 (HB2), the restrictive omnibus abortion law introduced in 2013. Of the 41 licensed abortion facilities that were open in April 2013,1 only 18 remain open today.

The number of abortions performed in Texas declined by 13% in the six months after the first three parts of HB2 were enforced, compared to the same six-month period one year prior. The number of medical abortions declined by 70%, reversing a steady upward trend since the method became available in 2000.1 Wait times to schedule an appointment for an abortion have varied across the state, and are now as long as 20-23 days in some cities. These constraints on the provision of abortion services may result in making a wanted abortion out of reach for some women who do not have the resources to overcome the increased travel, time, and costs that such constraints impose. While some women who were unable to obtain an abortion in Texas after HB2 may have traveled to an out-of-state abortion provider or may have continued their pregnancies, other women may have attempted to self-induce an abortion on their own without medical assistance.

Previous studies have shown that a small proportion of women in the US do attempt to selfinduce abortion. In our survey of women seeking abortions in Texas in 2012 (n=318), 7% of women reported having attempted to self-induce abortion for their current pregnancy. These proportions are higher than those reported in a national study of abortion patients in 2008, in which less than 2% reported taking something to try to end their current pregnancy on their own before coming into the clinic. Given the increased obstacles to seeking abortion care in Texas, coupled with the drastic reduction in open abortion facilities, it is possible that more women may consider or attempt self-induction.

To learn more about Texas women’s experiences with abortion self-induction, we conducted 18 qualitative, semi-structured interviews with women who reported attempting abortion selfinduction while living in Texas within the past five years. This research brief sheds light onto the motivations for attempting self-induction, the methods used, and self-induction experiences of Texas women who have taken matters into their own hands.

Tagged with Abortion, United States