In 2011, and again in 2013, the Texas Legislature passed sweeping legislation impacting reproductive health in Texas, which has a population of 5.4 million women of reproductive age. The Legislature cut the state family planning budget, changed the criteria governing which organizations are eligible to participate in state family planning programs, and imposed numerous restrictions on abortion care, including mandatory ultrasounds (24 hours prior to care), a ban on abortion past 20 weeks "post-fertilization" - a requirement that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and a requirement that abortion facilities meet ambulatory surgical center standards. ANSIRH’s Director, Dr. Dan Grossman, co-leads the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP), a collaborative effort to analyze and document the effects of these measures on Texas women and their families.
The five-year project includes researchers from University of Texas Population Research Center, Ibis Reproductive Health, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The team is examining the impact of the measures passed in the 82nd and 83rd legislative sessions on multiple fronts, including:
- Family planning clinics
- Contraceptive services
- Women’s experiences seeking contraceptive and abortion care
Like the work of the Evaluation of Abortion Restrictions Project at ANSIRH, TxPEP aims to hear directly from women about their experiences seeking care in this new regulatory environment. In an op-ed that appeared in the Houston Chronicle, Dr. Dan Grossman recently wrote about the experiences of women self-inducing abortion. Dr. Grossman writes that TxPEP, which followed 18 women who attempted self-induction, “provides further evidence that self-induced abortion is still happening.” He continues, “almost all of [the women] wanted to go to a clinic, but they faced a variety of barriers, overlaid upon poverty, that pushed them toward trying to end their pregnancies on their own.”
In addition, the project aims to document the effects of these changes on state-wide metrics such as births, unintended pregnancies, and the overall cost of the changes to the State of Texas. The TxPEP website contains additional information about the project as well as research briefs and publications.