New research finds that thousands of Texas residents are being forced to carry rape-related pregnancies to term

CW: This story contains references to sexual violence.

A new, disheartening study by the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that in the 18 months since Texas banned all abortions without exception, 26,313 rape-related pregnancies have occurred in the state.  

The study, which examined the 14 states that rolled out total abortion bans in the months after the overturning of Roe v Wade, found that “519 981 completed rapes were associated with 64 565 pregnancies during the 4 to 18 months that bans were in effect.” And Texas contributed to an astonishing 45% of such dire situations. 

Such statistics are connected to Texas’ larger population. However, the numbers are still jarring even when you examine the numbers of states with similar bans: The combined data from Missouri (5,825), Tennessee (4,990), Arkansas (4,660), Oklahoma (4,530) and Louisiana (4,290) still doesn’t equal that of Texas’ total amount. 

The limits of the data — collected from a variety of databases such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bureau of Justice Statistics — make it difficult to determine if this is an increase from previous years before the Dobbs decision, though the authors of the study believe that their estimates are conservative. 

Even in the states included in the study whose bans have some exceptions for rape and incest, the parameters of that exception have not provided relief for victims. 

“Those exceptions provide no meaningful abortion care for survivors of rape and sexual assault, full stop. There are no abortions happening for survivors of rape in states like Idaho that supposedly have exceptions for rape,” Dr. Samuel Dickman, who headed the study, told PBS. 

“But we know that, because of the extremely burdensome criteria for obtaining an abortion, not just on the survivor, but on the medical provider, that providers are essentially telling those survivors of rape that they need to travel out of state or find somewhere else to go or continue a pregnancy that was a result of sexual violence.” 

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Jamie Larson