Regulating Abortion: Impact on Patients and Providers in Texas
This paper describes the effects of enforcement of the Woman's Right to Know Act, a Texas law requiring that all abortions at or after 16 weeks' gestation be performed in an ambulatory surgical center. In the month the law went into effect, none of the 54 nonhospital abortion providers in Texas met the requirements of a surgical center. The number of abortions performed in Texas at or after 16 weeks' gestation dropped 88 percent, from 3,642 in 2003 to 446 in 2004, and the number of residents who left the state for a late abortion almost quadrupled. By 2006, abortions at or after 16 weeks' gestation in a nonhospital setting were available in four major cities in Texas (down from nine in 2003), and the abortion rate at or after 16 weeks' gestation remained 50 percent below its pre-act level.