Fact check: Are Texas women being harmed by abortion regulations?


Operation Rescue has released a report which counters the pro-abortion mainstream media’s claim that Texas’s HB2 law is causing long wait times and skyrocketing costs for abortion, and therefore is forcing women to go out of state.

HB2, which has reached the Supreme Court, requires abortionists to obtain hospital admitting privileges and requires that abortion facilities meet the same health standards as ambulatory surgical centers. Abortion supporters claim these regulations are wholly unnecessary, have nothing to do with protecting women’s health, and even cause women to attempt self-abortion in record numbers.

But according to Operation Rescue’s report, these protests are much ado about nothing. The average nationwide wait time for an abortion is 8.5 days, OR’s Cheryl Sullenger reports. And in Texas, the wait time is actually two days shorter than the national average:

From December 1-15, 2015, Operation Rescue staff members placed over 1,000 direct calls to each abortion facility in the U.S. and spoke directly with abortion clinic workers about abortion wait times and pricing. That data was analyzed and comparisons were made between Texas and other states to see if Texas women were actually forced to wait “weeks” for abortions and paying more than women in other states.

Operation Rescue’s meticulously gathered data shows that the average waiting time for abortions in the U.S. is 8.5 days. That is measured from the time a potential patient calls to schedule an appointment to the day the procedure can actually be done.

In Texas, with the new safety law in effect, the average wait time for an abortion appointment 6.5 days – a full two days under the national average.

“While a woman might wait a little over a week for an abortion,” Sullenger writes, “she will wait about five weeks to see her dentist. This makes getting an abortion easier than getting a tooth filled.”


OR notes that the New York Times “presented anecdotes from women who sought abortions around Christmas time and into January” in an effort to claim that Texas’s restrictions were driving women out of state. But due to the NYT’s timing of those anecdotes – during the holidays – OR found that increased wait times were because “many abortion providers curtailed office hours due to the holidays” and not because of abortion regulations.

So the wait time in Texas is less than the national average – but what about cost? Operation Rescue says a first trimester surgical abortion in Texas is actually $16.27 below the national average, while the abortion pill costs $23.17 more in Texas than nationally. OR notes, “One of the reasons that medication abortions are slightly more expensive in Texas than surgical abortions is due to the fact that there are no medication-only abortion facilities in that state.”

Abortion providers in the state have lowered the prices of their surgical abortions (which require only one visit), making them more affordable for women than chemical abortions, which require two visits. But this also means that surgical abortions are more profitable for Texas providers on the whole than the abortion pill, says OR’s Troy Newman.

Graphic via Operation Rescue

Graphic via Operation Rescue

OR also states that the abortion numbers for Texas are not being accurately reported (note: OR disputes some of the numbers outlined in this piece), perhaps in an effort to make HB2 look as if it has made abortion practically unavailable to women. However, Sullenger writes that the numbers show “just under a 12% decrease in abortions in 2014, which is significant, but not as dramatic as it sounds when one considers the average yearly decrease in abortion numbers over the previous three years was 6.13%.”

While the pro-abortion media presents lives saved from abortion in Texas as a travesty, Operation Rescue has shown that the actual numbers in Texas disprove the media’s anecdotal data about a lack of abortion accessibility in the state.

Still, “the decrease in abortion numbers,” says OR, “… should be applauded as a positive step in the right direction toward protecting innocent life.”

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