Thousands of Texans Have Tried to Give Selves Abortions

Among at-home methods: booze, drugs, 'getting hit or punched in the abdomen'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2015 9:44 AM CST
Thousands of Texans Have Tried to Give Selves Abortions
In this Feb. 26, 2015, file photo, college students and abortion rights activists hold signs during a rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

"It was the worst cramping I've ever had and probably one of the worst pains I've gone through. And … there's always that slight uncertainty of ... I don't really know what I'm doing." This interview with a 24-year-old Texas woman, part of a University of Texas report on reproductive legislation released Tuesday, underscores the measures women in the Lone Star State are taking as access to abortion facilities is restricted, the Guardian reports. Findings of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project are startling: Between 100,000 and 240,000 Texan women ages 18 to 49 have taken matters into their own hands and tried to induce an abortion at home, with, as the Guardian puts it, "varying degrees of success and differing medical consequences." The report asked an online sample of 779 women if they or their best friends had ever tried to self-induce an abortion, with 1.7% saying they had and 4.1% saying their best friend had or they suspected she had, the Atlantic reports.

Extrapolating those figures to the nearly 6 million women of reproductive age in Texas is how researchers came to the final numbers, Mother Jones notes. In terms of methods used to attempt an abortion, the drug misoprostol was the most commonly cited, with others including "herbs or homeopathic remedies," alcohol, illegal drugs, hormonal pills, and "getting hit or punched in the abdomen," per the Atlantic. Texas restrictions on abortions are among the strictest in the US: The 2013 HB2 law has shut more than half the state's 41 abortion clinics. The CEO of a gynecology and abortion care organization tells the Guardian that the result is "tremendously disrespectful. Abortion is legal in this country," she says. "And so every woman deserves to have access to whatever method for terminating her pregnancy safely she might choose in her local community." (The Supreme Court will hear arguments over a provision that could leave just 10 or so abortion clinics open in Texas.)

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