SB8, Texas’ 6-week abortion ban, went into effect on September 1st, 2021. This devastating law is designed to dramatically decrease the number of people in Texas accessing abortion. Recently released statistics from the first month of SB8 confirm what we suspected. SB8 hurts everyone seeking abortion, but young people are experiencing particular harm, and in the first month of SB8, teens between 14 and 17 experienced a 70% decline in access compared with previous Septembers.
This graph shows the decline in abortion access by age:
This graph shows the very real impacts of SB8 on abortion access in Texas. The impact is dramatic across age groups — abortions declined by more than 45% for people age 25 to 29 — but for teens the impact is especially deep.
There are multiple reasons teens feel the impacts of abortion restrictions so deeply. One of the reasons is parental consent and judicial bypass. Judicial bypass is meant to give teens an option for accessing abortion under parental consent laws. But when you’re facing a 6-week limit, anything that adds extra time between discovering you’re pregnant and making an appointment can push you past that limit and make accessing abortion impossible. Add to that the fact that teens often face lack of resources and are under greater surveillance, an abortion ban like SB8 means that very few young people are going to be able to access abortion.
This is bleak news about the very real impacts of Texas’ 6-week abortion ban. And copycat bans have been filed in other states, including Nebraska, Idaho, and Tennessee.
Still, Jane’s Due Process’ hotline is open. When a teen comes to us within the 6-week limit, we work to move through the process quickly to ensure that as many young people as possible can access abortion. Here’s a quote from a young person who went through the judicial bypass process in September after the 6-week ban went into effect:
As of March 1st, the 6-week abortion ban will have been in effect for 6 months. We can’t help but think of all the young people around Texas who might not find relief. While we will continue working to provide information and support to Texas teens, we need Congress to intervene and ensure justice for Texans.
If you’re under 18 in Texas and looking for information on accessing abortion, call Jane’s Due Process at 866-999-5263.