Up against strict laws, Texas women learn do-it-yourself abortions
By Ellen Wulfhorst
NEW YORK, May 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Susanna was young, single, broke and pregnant in southern Texas where, thanks to the state's strict laws, her chances of getting a surgical abortion at a clinic were slim to none.
So she did what an estimated 100,000 women or more in Texas have done - had a self-induced abortion.
With the help of a friend, some online instructions and quick dash across the Mexican border for some pills, she addressed the issue of unwanted pregnancy in a state where women are finding abortion services too expensive and too far away.
Restrictive laws took hold in Texas in 2013, forcing so many clinic closings that fewer than 20 remain to serve 5.4 million women of reproductive age.
Supporters of the laws say they protect women's health. The regulations require clinics to upgrade to hospital standards and doctors performing abortions to have formal agreements to admit patients to local hospitals.
But experts say that if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds Texas' restrictive abortion laws, the numbers of self-induced abortions will escalate.
So far, the number of Texas women who have taken that option could be as high as 100,000 to 240,000, depending on how it is calculated, experts say.
"We certainly hypothesize that if there is a bad ruling from the Supreme Court that leads to more clinic closures, yes, this will only become more common," said Dr. Daniel Grossman of Ibis Reproductive Health in California and researcher with the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas at Austin. Continuación...