Latina Pregnancy Rates Increase After Texas Anti-Abortion Law

Latinas in Texas have experienced increased pregnancy rates since the overturn of Roe v

Texas abortion pregnancies

Photo: Unsplash Credit: Gayatri Malhotra

In recent decades, many parts of the world have legalized or decriminalized abortion, especially countries in Latin America like Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina. However, since Roe vs. Wade was overturned in 2022, ending constitutional protections of abortion at the federal level, many states have placed limits or banned abortion altogether. In 2021, Texas banned all abortions after six weeks of becoming pregnant, then, in 2022, banned all abortions from the moment of conception, increasing their fertility rate for the first time since 2014. In a study, researchers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Houston have found that not only were 16,000 more babies born in Texas in 2022 compared to 2021, but also Latinas aged 25 to 44 were the most affected by the ban with an 8 percent increase in pregnancies compared to other ethnic groups, the The Texas Tribune reported.

“The results don’t signal that individuals of other groups are unaffected by the abortion ban, but they indicate that Hispanic women as a group are facing more challenges in accessing reproductive care, including both contraception and abortion,” Elizabeth Gregory, a researcher from University of Houston’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, said to The Tribune.

As a result of the ban, the number of abortions also decreased dramatically, going from 50,000 in 2021 all the way down to just 40 in 2023. Researchers noted that, despite state restrictions, some pregnant women were still able to get abortions by traveling out of state or by inducing an abortion through medication. However, some women, particularly women of color, by the time they discover they’re pregnant, it’s often too late, and there are many economic barriers to prevent them from accessing the appropriate medical care, taking time off from work, finding child care, or leaving the state. But even within communities of color, there are serious inequities. Compared to Asian, Black, and white women, Latinas experienced the greatest increase in carrying a pregnancy to term, facing a greater lack of access to resources than other groups. Notably, they are the group least likely to have health insurance, likely due to a higher possibility of being undocumented, not having a job that offers insurance, and not earning enough wages to pay out of pocket.

Additionally, the study found that the ban affected teens, with teen pregnancies and birth rates increasing by 0.4 percent. Again, Latina teens were disproportionately affected, with their rate alone increasing by 1.2 percent compared to Black teen pregnancy rates rising by 0.5 percent. A second related study also found that rape survivors were severely impacted nationwide. Of the approximately 519,981 rapes that occurred in 14 states that have banned abortion, 64,565 of the cases resulted in pregnancy, though they weren’t able to determine how many of them resulted in abortion even with abortion laws.

“Unfortunately, this new report is not surprising,” Lupe M. Rodríguez, the executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice (NLIRH), told NBC News. “Folks are entirely disconnected from any kind of reproductive health care, including abortion.”

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