The Texas Senate Democratic Caucus issued the following statement in response to the latest data demonstrating the impact of Texas’ extreme abortion ban, including the latest revelation that 26,313 rape-related pregnancies have occurred since the ban went into effect:
Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, nearly seven million Texas women of reproductive age are unable to access essential reproductive health care—even in the case of rape or incest. They have fewer rights than their mothers or their grandmothers had.
In addition to stripping women of the fundamental right to control what happens to their bodies, Texas’ draconian laws have made it a nightmare for the many women experiencing serious medical complications that can only be resolved through abortion care. Yet legislation Senate Democrats filed last year to allow doctors to use their best medical judgments to determine when an abortion is medically necessary went nowhere. Similarly, legislation to make an exception for rape fell on deaf ears despite indications of bipartisan support.
What’s happening in Texas should serve as a dire warning for other states. Two studies released this week show what a post-Roe world really looks like.
A study released by the University of Houston provides concrete evidence of the consequences of Texas’ extreme ban. After Texas’ six-week ban went into effect in 2021, the Texas birth rate increased for the first time since 2014 while the national birth rate fell slightly. Most alarming was the teen birth rate increased in Texas for the first time in 15 years!
As we warned when S.B. 8 and H.B. 1280 were passed over our objections, women of color—who are more likely to face challenges accessing reproductive care due to income, inability to take time off from work, lack of transportation or childcare—have been the most affected.
A second study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated there were 26,313 rape-related pregnancies in Texas since the state’s ban went into effect—nearly half of the estimated rape-related pregnancies of the 14 states with total abortion bans! These survivors of rape were left with no other option in Texas but to carry their rapist’s pregnancy to term.
These figures should outrage all of us. Women and girls across our state are enduring unwanted pregnancies, suffering from life-endangering complications in desired pregnancies and fleeing the state for medical care. We cannot allow this to be the new norm.
Texans deserve better from their state leaders. We will continue fighting for Texas women to be able to make their own health care decisions with their loved ones and their doctors.