Texans turned to nearby states for abortions after new restrictions

In 2013, Texas implemented House Bill 2, a package of restrictions that led to the shutdown of more than half of the state’s abortion clinics. Such abortion restrictions that severely curtail access may result in increases in out-of-state travel for care. New research from ANSIRH looked at the impact this bill had on Texas residents seeking abortions in border states.

Researchers found that after the implementation of House Bill 2, the number of Texans seeking abortions in neighboring states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico) approximately doubled. The total number of abortions and medication abortions declined in Texas, the number and proportion of abortions occurring in the second trimester increased, and patients faced greater barriers to abortion care.

A greater percentage of Texas-resident patients went to New Mexico for care after House Bill 2, likely due to a lack of mandatory waiting period there and to clinic closures in West Texas.

After the 2016 Supreme Court decision ruling parts of House Bill 2 unconstitutional, border-state abortions declined, yet remained higher than pre-HB2 levels.

Abortion restrictions such as House Bill 2 have immediate and lasting effects on access, forcing many people to face logistical barriers, higher costs, and an elevated risk of complications. If other bordering states enact similarly restrictive laws, Texas residents may have even fewer options for care.