Hispanic women impacted most by Texas abortion law

New data shows that Hispanic women were most affected by the Texas abortion law far more than any other demographic, according to a Dallas Morning News report. The law was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2016.

In 2014 ─ the year the law went into effect ─ the number of abortions statewide dropped nearly 14 percent. The number dropped roughly 18 percent among Hispanic women.

The decline can be traced back to abortion clinic closures in the Rio GrandeValley, an area that is predominantly Hispanic.

The 2013 law included several provisions, such as a ban on abortions occurring after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Clinics found it most difficult to comply with requirements that stated physicians who performed abortions had to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and that all clinics must meet the standards of outpatient surgical centers.

When the law went into effect in 2014, 10 clinics around the state closed immediately. For a two-week period, only eight were open. The state had a total of 40 before the law was passed.

Legislators who supported the bill said they did so because the law made the procedure safer for women. The Supreme Court ruled that the virtual absence of any health benefits made enforcing the law unconstitutional.

The data was released days after the Supreme Court's ruling in June 2016.

Opponents of the law speculated that state officials neglected to release the data until after the ruling because it showed that women living in regions where clinics were forced to close and women of color were unconstitutionally burdened by the restrictions.

State officials said that the data could not be released because the study was not finalized until June, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Clinic closures also prevented women from using the pill-induced method of abortion. Seventy percent fewer women chose the pill because it required women to make four separate trips to the clinic.

The 2013 law also mandated that physicians administer the drugs precisely as written on the FDA-approved prescription label. The stipulation was eliminated after the FDA updated its label guidelines in March 2016, making it easier for women to obtain a pill-induced abortion.

More articles about population health:
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Vaping is beneficial to public health, study finds

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