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100,000 women in Texas have tried to self-induce an abortion

A new report traces a dangerous trend in Texas.

By Mattie Kahn

A new report from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project finds that 1.7 percent of women in Texas between the ages of 18 and 49 have tried to self-induce an abortion. It finds that 4.1 percent either know or suspect that their best friend has tried to self-induce — ​a metric that researchers say demonstrates that women underreport abortion in surveys.

And if 1.7 percent sounds small, consider this: Almost 6 million women fall within that age range, and the study estimates that at least 100,000 women and as many as 240,000 women have tried to terminate a pregnancy without medical assistance. They are desperate. Since punitive abortion bill H.B. 2 was passed in Texas in 2013, 24 clinics have shuttered. There are now only 17 abortion clinics open in the 696,000 square-kilometres state. Should the Supreme Court uphold the legislation, which it will debate this term, seven more clinics will close for good.

As it is, clinics are hard to get to and wait times are only getting longer. The ​New York Times *​estimates that "the average Texas county is now [180 kilometres] from the nearest clinic, up from [115 kilometres] in 2012." And women quite literally cannot go the distance. "I didn't have any money to go to San Antonio or Corpus [Christi]," said a 24-year-old woman who was interviewed for the Texas Policy Evaluation Project. "I didn't even have any money to get across town. I was just dirt broke. I was poor." Instead, women try to self-induce, taking Misoprostol (a pill that providers use to induce non-surgical abortions), concocting homeopathic remedies, getting hit or punched in the stomach, or using illicit drugs or hormonal pills to kick-start the process.

The data reveals an ominous trend that, unless the Supreme Court intervenes, will only continue, putting more women's lives in danger.

Source: ELLE