The number of elective abortions in Texas fell by approximately 36,000 from 1990 until 2017. Then the number of abortions rose in 2018 and again in 2019.
Something has gone wrong.
The previous abortion downward trend had been steady, laudable, and attributable to a multitude of Pro-Life victories. Fewer women were obtaining abortions, even while more women became pregnant. Thousands of preborn children were saved from being murdered by the abortion industry.
Numerous reasons underpin the previous decades-long drop in abortions. Reasons abortions have decreased in Texas include:
- Pregnancy resource centers stand (sometimes literally) opposite abortion facilities.
- Mandatory sonograms illuminate the humanity, beauty, and vulnerability of preborn life.
- Restrictions in Texas’ budget have cut the abortion industry’s ties to taxpayer dollars, diminishing the reach of their predatory killing machine.
Each of these victories has been vital in reducing the abortion rate in Texas. But whether their impact is lasting depends on the Pro-Life movement’s persistence and adaptation.
After a low of 53,277 abortions in 2017, the number rose to 55,140 abortions in 2018 and then again to 57,275 abortions in 2019. This reversal is heartbreaking and troubling. Unfortunately, the reasons behind this uptick of murder through abortions are only speculative.
One theory examines how abortionists kill preborn children. The Charlotte Lozier Institute published an article that postulates that the abortion industry’s emphasis on chemical abortions has produced a demand not previously realized.
Most abortions are still surgical—invasive, mechanical, and gruesome in their honest description. By comparison, chemical abortions maintain a benign facade—ingesting two pills creates an illusory picture of pharmacological medicine at work. The abortion industry has realized that by promoting chemical abortion, they can make a death sentence look like Tylenol.
Does this abortion industry deception explain the uptick in abortions? Possibly. The number of chemical abortions has, unlike the total number of abortions, been rising for some time.
In 2017, chemical abortions represented 32% of all abortions, but that figure rose to 34.7% in 2018 and skyrocketed to 39.4% in 2019. This corresponds directly with the increase in total abortions. Further, in 2016, the FDA also eased regulations that define when the abortion industry may administer mifepristone and misoprostol, the chemical abortion drugs.
However, given that the total number of abortions in Texas has been simultaneously rising makes this theory uncertain. Some other diabolical force could also be at play.
Pro-Life laws that ban abortion have been relatively scarce in Texas over the past few years.
The last Pro-Life law that did pass, the Dismemberment Abortion Ban, has yet to go into effect (though hopefully that changes soon). Pro-Life laws that ban abortion not only stop some abortions directly, but they also foster conversations about the humanity of the preborn child and the injustice of elective abortion. Perhaps the abortion industry has capitalized on Texas’ inaction.
While the rise in abortions is disheartening, there is a silver lining. The number of minors obtaining abortions has plummeted by 71% since 2010. Even with the 7% rise in total abortions since 2017, the number of minor obtained abortions ticked down by 3%. The judicial bypass process, a method by which a minor may circumnavigate her parents’ consent, was reformed, making judicial bypass more challenging to obtain. The reformation of the judicial bypass process undoubtedly contributed to this decline.
Even though total abortions have started to rise, they are still well down from even ten years ago.
Nevertheless, now that the number of abortions is rising, Pro-Life Texans must once more step up to reverse this trend.
We must pass Pro-Life laws that ban abortion, support programs that assist pregnant women and their families like the Alternatives to Abortion Program, and continue to reflect Christ’s love in outreach. We must adapt to stop the abortion industry’s push to mainstream chemical abortion in the culture and law. The fight to save Life will not be easy, as the abortion industry is expending millions of dollars to transform the abortion landscape. But with faith in Christ, we will endure.