Thanks to a regressive Republican Governor who sought to reduce the rate of abortion in his state on moral and religious grounds, the rate of teen abortion is actually on the rise in Texas. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the nation that has seen a steady decline in instances of teen abortion.
According to a study from Texas A&M university, in the years since Texas critically gutted their family planning budget and closed more than 80 percent of women’s health clinics in the state, the number of abortions among teenagers has risen three percent.
Comparatively, the rate of teen abortions nationwide have plummeted to their lowest rates since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. While there was a rise in abortion rates between 2005 and 2007, the rate has seen a strong decline since then, culminating in the low rate we see now.
The rise in Texas may come as a surprise to Republicans who made the changes to their state with the expressed interest in reducing the abortion rate. Governor Perry himself stated the goal of excluding Planned Parenthood from the state’s health budget was to end abortion altogether.
“To be clear, my goal, and the goal of many of those joining me here today, is to make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past.”
Of course, Perry and many in the Republican party would prefer to see abortion banned outright. The legal steps taken by the Republican legislature in Texas sought to restrict existing clinics into extinction, applying unnecessary and restrictive regulations about the facilities in which abortions could be performed in order to end them completely.
This is the playbook of Republican lawmakers nationwide, and federal courts have been forced to waste time and energy killing these bills as soon as they are passed under the established Roe v. Wade precedent.
So why did the rate rise in the state, even as it sank in the other 49? Namely, because cutting off access to education and contraceptive left many teens with no other recourse.
Rural areas which already suffered from insufficient and underfunded health centers saw the largest increase in abortion.
As we have seen again and again, the only true way to reduce teen pregnancy, as well as teen abortion is to provide comprehensive, affordable (or even free) sex education and protection.