New Abortion Law in Texas Could Prompt Some Women To Seek Medication Abortion From Mexico

July 30, 2013 — With Texas' new anti-abortion law (HB2), some women living in border towns "will have little choice but to turn to dangerous alternatives to deal with an unwanted pregnancy" and will likely travel to Mexico to obtain medication abortion, Texas Public Radio reports (Martin Davies, Texas Public Radio, 7/26).

The new law includes four abortion regulations: a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless a woman's life is in danger, a requirement that abortions be performed at an ambulatory surgical center, a mandate that physicians administer medication abortion drugs in person and a requirement that physicians who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/19).

In Texas' Rio Grande Valley, about half of the Planned Parenthood clinics have shut down because of the 2011 cuts to the Texas Women's Health Program. About 10,000 women lost access to low-cost reproductive health care and cancer screenings as a result of the cuts. In addition, the area's two abortion clinics say they will shut down because of the new law.

Patricio Gonzalez, CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Hidalgo County said that the funding cuts prompted some women living on the border to seek out misoprostol in Mexico. Gonzalez said, "It's unsupervised medically, and they don't know what pills they are really getting. It may be the medication to induce an abortion, and it may not be." Some women can experience severe bleeding or infections, he said.

Planned Parenthood does not provide abortions in the Rio Grande Valley, but Gonzalez said that if other providers have to shut down, he'd consider making renovations to Planned Parenthood clinics to provide such care (Texas Public Radio, 7/26).