The state of Texas recently implemented policy changes in women's reproductive health in the form of the Heartbeat Act (SB8) and restrictions on medication-induced abortion (SB4). On Jan. 20, 2022, the LBJ School of Public Affairs and Dell Medical School convened a virtual panel discussion to discuss the impacts of these policy changes from the perspective of frontline reproductive health care professionals in Texas. Specifically, the panelists provided an overview of the new policies, assessed which communities are most impacted, and described how doctors and health care providers are adapting.
- Moderator: Jewel Mullen, M.D., MPH, Associate Dean for Health Equity and Associate Professor, Department of Population Health, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin
- Abigail R.A. Aiken, M.D., MPH, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Public Affairs, Fellow of the Richter Chair in Global Health Policy, LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin
- Lorie M. Harper, M.D., MSCI, Associate Professor and Division Chief, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Women's Health, Dell Med
- Lauren Thaxton, M.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Women's Health, Dell Med
Additional Resources: Information, Research and Analysis
Texas SB4 and Texas SB8 (2021)
- TX SB4, 87th Legislature 1st Special Session, 2021: Full Text | Summary/Status/History
Bill analysis: SB4, 87th Texas Legislative session: Regulating use of abortion-inducing drugs
Texas House Research Organization: Aug. 30, 2021
- TX SB8, 87th Legislature 1st Special Session, 2021: Full Text | Summary/Status/History
Bill analysis: SB8, 87th Texas Legislative session: Prohibiting an abortion after fetal heartbeat of unborn child is detected
Texas House Research Organization: May 5, 2021
Research Brief: Initial Impacts of Texas' Senate Bill 8 on Abortions in Texas and at Out-of-State Facilities
Texas Policy Evaluation Project, The University of Texas at Austin: October 2021
This brief describes changes in the number of abortions provided in Texas during the first 30 days that SB8 was in effect. It also reports wait times until the next available appointment at out-of-state facilities in September 2021. Wait times serve as a measure of facility capacity to meet patient demand and are an important indicator of access for time-sensitive health care, such as abortion.
Research Brief: Texas Senate Bill 8: Medical and Legal Implications
Texas Policy Evaluation Project, The University of Texas at Austin: July 2021
This brief (written before SB8 was enacted) explains the bill from both a legal and medical perspective, and also finds that, if Senate Bill 8 were to go in effect, over 8 in 10 Texans seeking abortion care would be unable to obtain it. Because appointments may not be available for several days–or weeks–at some abortion facilities, even people who seek care in very early pregnancy would get excluded.
Supreme Court Refuses to Require Prompt Action on Texas Abortion Law
New York Times, Jan. 20, 2022
Supreme Court again declines to intervene in challenge to Texas abortion law
Texas Tribune, Jan. 20, 2022
Supreme Court rejects another attempt to block Texas' six-week abortion ban
CNN, Jan. 20, 2022
Texas's six-week abortion ban remains in effect after federal appeals court ruling
Washington Post, Jan. 17, 2022
Texas abortion law challenge heads to state's supreme court, likely adding more delays to case
Texas Tribune and ProPublica, Jan. 17, 2022
Full text: U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit decision
Jan. 17, 2022
2021 was pivotal year for abortion laws in America
ABC News, Dec. 28, 2021
Supreme Court Allows Challenge to Texas Abortion Law but Leaves It in Effect
New York Times, Dec. 10, 2021
Here's what the Texas law prohibits.
New York Times, Nov. 1, 2021
Publicly Funded Reproductive Health Care
Polling and Policy Insights: Abortion Knowledge and Attitudes
Kaiser Family Foundation: Jan. 22, 2020
In recent years, many states have passed laws restricting access to abortion and the Trump administration has made a number of changes to federal reproductive health policy, including major changes to the federal Title X family planning program. This polling and policy analysis includes new polling data on federal and state reproductive health policy in the U.S. as well as knowledge of abortion and its safety.
Research and Analysis: State-Level Sexism and Women's Health Care Access in the United States: Differences by Race/ Ethnicity, 2014–2019
American Journal of Public Health: October 2021
The objective of this study was to quantify racial/ethnic differences in the relationship between state-level sexism and barriers to health care access among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic women in the United States. It found that greater exposure to state-level sexism was associated with more barriers to health care access among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic women, but not non-Hispanic white women. Affordability barriers (cost of medical bills, health insurance, prescriptions, and tests) appeared to drive these associations. More frequent need for care exacerbated the relationship between state-level sexism and barriers to care for Hispanic women.
Research Brief: Publicly Funded Reproductive Health Care Programs for People with Low Incomes in Texas, 2011-2021
Texas Policy Evaluation Project, The University of Texas at Austin: March 2021
This brief narrates the story of changes to reproductive health care funding and services in Texas beginning in 2011. Ten years later, Texans with low incomes still face a fragmented and ever-shifting safety net for family planning services. It concludes with strategies for strengthening family planning services for Texans with low incomes, including expanding Medicaid, allowing all specialized family planning providers to participate in state family planning programs, allowing minor teens to obtain confidential services in all programs, ensuring funding for the Family Planning Program meets clients' service needs, and expanding Healthy Texas Women to include men.
Research Brief: Provider perspectives on Texas' publicly funded family planning programs
Texas Policy Evaluation Project, The University of Texas at Austin: April 2021
Publicly funded family services for Texans with low incomes are supported through the Healthy Texas Women (HTW) program, the Family Planning Program (FPP), and federal Title X funding through Every Body Texas with involvement from a variety of different organizations including hospital districts and federally qualified health centers. TxPEP evaluated the experiences of participation in state-administered family programs through 25 interviews from 25 executive directors and program administrators from 19 different organizations across Texas between November 2020 and March 2021. The interviews highlight frequent changes in family planning programs that challenge organizations' goal of serving clients. This brief concludes with measures that could be taken to strengthen state-administered family planning programs.
2020 Induced Terminations of Pregnancy for Texas Residents
Texas Health and Human Services
The Texas Abortion Facility Reporting and Licensing Act, Health and Safety Code Chapter 245, requires a physician who performs an abortion to submit a report for each abortion performed. The report may not identify the patient. These reports, submitted on the Induced Abortion Reporting Form, are confidential and are not considered open records.
Original investigation: Factors Associated with Use of an Online Telemedicine Service to Access Self-managed Medical Abortion in the U.S.
JAMA Network Open: May 21, 2021
In this study, clinic access barriers were the most common reason for accessing self-managed medication abortion, and both distance to an abortion clinic and living below the federal poverty level were associated with higher demand for self-management.
Practice Bulletin: Medication Abortion Up to 70 Days of Gestation
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: October 2020
The purpose of this document is to provide updated evidence-based guidance on the provision of medication abortion up to 70 days (or 10 weeks) of gestation.