A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has estimated a staggering 26,313 rape-related pregnancies in Texas within 16 months following the state’s enactment of a total abortion ban. This figure represents the highest among the 14 states that implemented total abortion bans and is particularly significant given Texas’ large population. The Houston Chronicle reports these findings as part of a broader examination of the impact of abortion restrictions in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
Dr. Kari White, one of the study’s authors from Texas-based Resound Research for Reproductive Health, emphasized the critical need for survivors of rape to have access to abortion care without state policies undermining their reproductive autonomy. The study also highlighted the limited options available to pregnant rape survivors, who may seek abortion care either by traveling out of state or managing the pregnancy at home with abortion pills. However, for many, these alternatives are not viable.
The researchers, including teams from Harvard Medical School and The University of California, San Francisco, estimated that there were 519,981 rapes associated with 64,565 pregnancies in states with total abortion bans during the specified period. Of these pregnancies, approximately 5,586 occurred in states with exceptions for rape, and a significant 58,979 in states without such exceptions.
The study further noted that in states with rape exceptions, strict gestational limits and law enforcement reporting requirements make it challenging for most survivors to qualify for abortions. With only about ten or fewer legal abortions per month in these states, access to abortion care remains severely restricted.
Dr. Samuel Dickman, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the City University of New York’s Research Foundation, as well as the Chief Medical Officer at Planned Parenthood of Montana, criticized the political rhetoric around abortion exceptions. He argued that these so-called exceptions do little to assist pregnant survivors in obtaining the necessary care.
Following Texas, the states with the highest estimated totals of rape-related pregnancies included Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Alabama. The study’s methodology involved analyzing survey and crime report data from the CDC, FBI, and Bureau of Justice Statistics, and applying pregnancy rate estimates from rape cases.