- More patients from Texas are asking abortion providers about a pill to end their pregnancy since the rollout of SB8.
- SB8 is a restrictive abortion law that went into effect on September 1.
- The law prohibits anyone from obtaining an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
Telehealth and healthcare providers are seeing upticks in the number of Texans asking for medical abortion pills to end their pregnancies, suggesting Texans are desperate to find ways to skirt the restrictive SB8 law.
The law, which went into effect September 1, prohibits anyone from obtaining an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. That’s a point at which most people do not yet know they are pregnant.
In response, Texans who need an abortion have been looking for alternative approaches to getting one, like traveling out of state.
At online abortion clinic Hey Jane, the number of patients from Texas calling in to get an abortion pill more than doubled from August to September, a timeframe that aligns with the law’s rollout.
Mobile reproductive health clinic Just the Pill also saw a “slight uptick” in patients from Texas, Medical Director Julie Amaon told Insider.
“We have had a slight uptick in Texas patients, but we have not been able to see any of them here,” Amaon said.
That’s because most people are flocking to neighboring states like Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Just the Pill has options set up for people living in or willing to travel to Minnesota or Montana. The company has begun contacting clinics in states neighboring Texas to help people in the area get access to an abortion pill.
For immigrants and people who have commitments like work or children, traveling out of state to get an abortion is not a viable option.
Sometimes buying abortion pills is also not an option.
Abortion pills can cost hundreds of dollars. Just the Pill provides abortion care for $US350 ($AU466) per patient, and the clinic does not accept insurance.
“It’s a ton of money, and trying to get your funds together is one of the principal reasons for delaying getting an abortion,” said Columbia University reproductive rights scholar Carol Sanger in an interview with Insider. “You have no one to lend it to you.”
Reproductive companies are struggling to bring abortion access to Texans
Abortion provider Choix is working to set up telehealth opportunities in states bordering Texas.
“We want people to have as many options as possible for how and when they can get abortion care, especially given how overwhelmed many brick and mortar clinics are that surround Texas,” Choix Co-Founder Cindy Adam told Insider.
Abortion-inducing medication is becoming an increasingly common way to end a pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research organization. But the medication is getting harder to obtain.
In September, Republican Governor Kristi Noem issued an order to restrict access to abortion medication in South Dakota. Under the order, an in-person examination is required before a state-licensed physician can dispense or prescribe an abortion pill to a patient. The medication is also blocked from being delivered or provided in schools and on state property.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott is doubling down and making pills harder to obtain. Starting December 2, a separate bill signed just weeks after SB8 went into effect will restrict abortion-inducing medication. Physicians will be allowed to provide abortion pills to people who are seven weeks into a pregnancy, down from 10 weeks.
The law will also prohibit physicians from mailing an abortion pill to Texans.