Data Show Thousands of Babies’ Lives Saved in Texas Since Heartbeat Act Took Effect

Lauren Shank | November 23, 2022 | 11:27am EST
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(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

(CNS News) – Statistics now show that around 10,000 abortions were prevented in the Lone Star State after the Texas Heartbeat Act became law in September 2021.

Dr. Michael New, Ph.D, an associate professor at The Catholic University of America and associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, produced a report this month on the impact that the Texas Heartbeat Act had on abortions and births within the state.

The Heartbeat Act went into effect in Texas on Sept. 1, 2021, and prohibited abortions after a heartbeat was detected, which usually occurs at six weeks into a pregnancy. This bill marked the first time a law protecting unborn children before viability stayed in effect since the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

(Charlotte Lozier Institute)
(Charlotte Lozier Institute)

In the months that followed the Heartbeat Act, Texas resident in-state abortions declined overall. Between August of 2021 and September of 2021, there were 3,455 fewer abortions, as gathered by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Similarly, in the five months after the Act was implemented, the average monthly number of abortions performed in Texas declined by over 2,760.

However, New mentioned that comparing abortion averages five months before and five months after the Act’s enforcement may not be entirely accurate due to abortion procedures fluctuating monthly – with more abortions performed in the first three months of the calendar year than the last three months of the calendar year.

Thus, New looked at the number of abortions performed in Texas between September 2021 and January 2022 and compared those numbers to abortion procedures between 2018 and 2021 within the same months.

During the same time frame and over the three years prior to the Heartbeat Act, an average of 22,354 abortions were conducted. Meanwhile, the year following the signing of preborn children’s rights into law, abortion numbers dropped to 12,169 – producing a loss of roughly 10,185 abortion procedures.

(Charlotte Lozier Institute)
(Charlotte Lozier Institute)

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a November 2022 study that found evidence of Texas women obtaining abortions in adjacent states and, therefore, lessening the impact of the measures put in place to limit abortion. There were significant declines in abortions performed in Texas, but significant increases in out-of-state Texas resident abortions after the implementation of the Texas Heartbeat Act.

While the study acknowledged it did not account for all abortion facilities in adjacent states, and that some Texas women may have gone to non-adjacent states or “self-managed their abortions” with chemical abortion pills online, the number of in-state abortion declines still exceeded the out-of-state increase.

New’s report showed, per personal request from the Texas Department of State Health Services, that an increase of 5,046 births occurred between March 2022 and July 2022 when compared to the average of the three years prior to the enactment of the Heartbeat Act.

The average between the years 2019, 2020 and 2021 were 152,810 births while the year after the Act took effect there were 157,856 births.

(Screenshot)
(Screenshot)

Beyond the effect the bill had on the state, other reasons for an increase in Texas births were attributed to an increase in the number of Texas women of childbearing age, an increase in illegal immigration after 2020, and the general rise in births following the pandemic.

“Overall, in the five months after the Texas Heartbeat Act took effect, approximately 10,000 fewer abortions were performed in Texas, compared to the same time-frame in the three previous years,” New said in his report. “Comparing Texas births from March 2022 to July 2022 with an average of births for the same timespan during the three previous years, the number of Texas births increased by 5,046 (Table 3). This is an increase of three percent.”

He continued, “This substantial increase is likely not fully explained by increases in population, illegal immigration, or the national birth trend post-Covid. As such, it is likely that the Texas Heartbeat Act played a large role in this birth increase.”

“This finding adds to a substantial body of academic and policy research which shows that pro-life laws reduce abortion rates, increase the likelihood that pregnancies are carried to term, and save lives,” reported New.

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