Texas Policy Evaluation Project
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Press Releases

Cost Prevents One in Five U.S. Women from Using Their Preferred Contraception, Says Nationwide Study (7/9/20)

More than one in five women at risk of an unplanned pregnancy in the U.S. would use a different method of contraception if cost were not a factor, says a new study published in Contraception X. The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania that employers can refuse to cover birth control for religious or moral reasons. Out-of-pocket costs for contraception will rise for many U.S. women, and they will be less likely to get the birth control they want. Read the full press release here.

Texas Abortion Restrictions Have Greater Impact on People with Lower-Incomes, Latinx Populations, and Those who Live Far from Clinics, New Research (4/27/20)

Two new studies show that increased barriers to abortion in Texas disproportionately harm Latinx and low-income people, as well as those who live far from abortion facilities. Results from these studies may indicate that the recent restrictions on abortion under the March 22, 2020 executive order have had similar consequences. Read the full press release here.

‘Breastfeeding Gap’ Exists Among Mexican-Origin Women Living in Texas (3/18/20)

Mexican women born and educated in Mexico who now live in Texas breastfeed longer than those born and educated in the United States. That’s the finding from new research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at The University of Texas at Austin, which points to a “breastfeeding gap” among some Mexican-origin women living in Texas. The study, published in Pediatrics, compared 1,235 women of Mexican origin living in Texas. Read the full press release here.

Research Shows Teens Seeking Judicial Bypass for Abortion Demonstrate Reasoned and Thoughtful Decision Making (3/2/20)

New research shows that pregnant teens who seek a judicial bypass for parental consent for abortion demonstrate reasoned and thoughtful decision-making and involve others, all while managing abortion stigma. This study, based on in-depth interviews of 20 teens who had sought judicial bypass in Texas between 2015 and 2016, was recently published in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Read the full press release here.

Changes to Title X Mean Contraception Access for Teens Could Worsen Nationwide (2/19/20)

Many teens lost access to confidential family planning services in Texas due to family planning budget cuts and loss of Title X funds, says a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Lack of clarity around parental consent laws, confusion among staff, and funding uncertainty made it more difficult for organizations to provide confidential, low-cost, and quality services to teens. This research suggests that contraception access for teens throughout the nation could worsen as new changes to Title X are implemented. Read the full press release here.

Judges Deny Abortion Care to Teenage Girls (1/16/20)

Minors seeking abortions without notifying their parents in states that require it are denied by judges as much as 13% of the time, suggests a new TxPEP study published Jan. 16 in the American Journal of Public HealthThe study, which examined abortion records in Texas over 18 years, is the latest in a series of papers by Stevenson and her co-authors exploring the impact of the “judicial bypass” process on teens seeking to terminate a pregnancy. Read the full press release here.

Texas Abortion Patients’ Attempts to End Their Pregnancy on Their Own is Higher than the National Rate, New Study Finds (1/9/20)

A new study by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) finds that approximately seven percent of patients seeking abortion at Texas clinics had tried to end their current pregnancy on their own before coming to the clinic. This is higher than the national rate of 2.2 percent. The article was recently published in BMC Women’s Health. Read the full press release here.

Social Scientists File Amicus Brief Urging U.S. Supreme Court to Find Admitting Privileges Unconstitutional (12/3/19)

Leading social scientists filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court of the United States to reject Louisiana’s law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at hospitals. The brief points to the body of scientific evidence on these restrictions showing that admitting privileges are medically unnecessary and that laws that create barriers to abortion services harm, rather than improve, women’s health. The law will be reviewed in the Supreme Court case June Medical Services v. Gee, which will be heard on March 4, 2020. Read the full press release here.

Later Abortion Increased in Texas Due to Restrictive Law Creating Barriers to Care (3/12/2019)

A new study by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) finds that the number of second-trimester abortions in Texas increased 13 percent after the implementation of the restrictive abortion law known as House Bill 2 (HB 2), even as the total number of abortions declined by 18 percent. Overall, women received abortion care one week later on average in the period after the law took effect, compared to before the law. The study, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, concludes that the law’s provisions that resulted in the closure of half of the state’s abortion facilities and created provider shortages delayed Texas women in their efforts to access abortion care. These findings show that restrictive abortion laws reduce women’s access to care and force them to seek later abortions. Read the full press release here.

New Study Shows Use of Medication Abortion Rebounded in Texas after FDA Label Change (2/25/2019)

A new Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) study shows that use of medication abortion, also known as “the abortion pill,” bounced back in Texas after a March 2016 label change by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The label change impacted the use of mifepristone, one of the two medications used for medication abortion, and essentially nullified the restrictions put in place in 2013 by Texas House Bill 2 (HB 2), legislation that contributed to a large decline in medication abortion use. This study, published in Contraception and available open access, reports that medication abortion constituted 28% of all abortions before HB 2, 10% after implementation of the   HB 2 restrictions, and 33% after the FDA label change. Read the full press release here.

Study Shows Low-Income Women in Texas Are Not Getting Contraception After Childbirth (12/3/2018)

Low-income women in Texas who have delivered a baby are not getting the contraception they want at their six-week postpartum visit, a new study from TxPEP shows. Two-thirds of women did not receive the contraception they wanted at their initial postpartum visit, commonly known as the “six-week checkup,” leaving them at risk for an unintended pregnancy. While some women (8%) left the visit with a less preferred form of contraception, over half (58%) left with no method at all. By three months postpartum, the women who did not receive the contraception they wanted at the six-week visit were half as likely to be using it as the women who did receive it (41% versus 86%), indicating the crucial importance of the six-week checkup in establishing desired contraceptive use in postpartum women who wish to prevent pregnancy. Read the full press release here.

“Domestic Gag Rule” Will Negatively Impact Women’s Health Care (10/11/2018)

A new Texas Policy Evaluation Project study on Texas organizations receiving family planning funds finds that proposed federal guidelines restricting abortion counseling and referrals for Title X providers may adversely impact the health care of pregnant women. The study, published in Contraception, compares pregnancy options counseling and referral practices at state-funded and federal Title X-funded family planning organizations in Texas after the state enforced a policy in 2013 restricting abortion referrals for providers participating in state-funded programs. Read the full release here.

Adolescents Seeking Abortion without a Parent’s Consent Face Numerous Legal Hurdles and Emotional Consequences (9/5/2018)

Adolescents under the age of 18 seeking abortions without a parent’s consent often undergo a series of humiliating, burdensome and unpredictable hurdles as they try to navigate the legal system, according to a new study led by Kate Coleman-Minahan assistant professor at the University of Colorado College of Nursing and co-investigator at the Texas Policy Evaluation Project. Coleman-Minahan, PhD, RN and other researchers investigated the judicial bypass experience by which adolescents seek legal permission to obtain an abortion without parental consent. Read the full release here.

Texas Women in Community Colleges Want to Use More Effective Birth Control but Face Barriers (3/20/2018)

Women in Texas community colleges cite cost and lack of insurance as top reasons for not using a more effective form of birth control, according to a new study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP). Sixty-nine percent of students reported they wanted to use a more-effective method and would use it if they could afford it or had access to insurance that covered it, but only 30 percent were actually using one. “More-Effective” contraception, such as the pill, patch, ring, injectable contraception, IUD or implant, means that nine or fewer women out of 100 will become pregnant while using the method over the course of a year. Less-effective methods include condoms, withdrawal, and natural family planning methods. Read the full release here.

New Research Details the Challenges of Integrating Family Planning and Primary Care in Texas (10/25/2017)

A new study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) at the University of Texas at Austin shows that it was difficult for some primary care organizations in Texas to expand family planning services after the state’s exclusion of Planned Parenthood from publicly funded programs. In 2013, Texas created the Expanded Primary Health Care (EPHC) program to integrate family planning services into primary care. The study assessed the experiences of EPHC program participants including women’s health organizations and two categories of primary care organizations: those that had provided family planning services through state contracts before 2013 and those that were new family planning contractors. Read the full release here.

Research Finds Abortion Safety Information May Reduce Support for Restrictive Laws (9/25/2017)

New research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) at The University of Texas at Austin shows that providing information about abortion safety may reduce support for laws restricting abortion. The study assessed the opinions of Texas voters on two provisions of House Bill 2 (HB 2)—the restrictive Texas abortion law that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016. Half of participants received scientifically accurate statements about abortion safety, and the other half did not receive any information. Voters who received the information were less likely to report that ambulatory surgical center (ASC) requirements for abortion facilities and hospital admitting privileges for physicians would make abortion safer. Read the full release here.

Research Shows Unmet Demand for Long-Acting and Permanent Contraception Among Recent Mothers in Texas (7/11/2017)

New research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) at The University of Texas at Austin identifies unmet demand for long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)—IUDs and implants, and permanent contraception—sterilization and vasectomy. The study assessed the types of contraception publicly insured women would prefer to use after delivery, and found a much higher percentage of women prefer LARC and sterilization than the percentage of women who actually use these methods. Read the full release here.

New Research Examines Barriers to Texas Clinics Providing Vasectomies (1/27/2017)

New research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) provides insight into why vasectomy is not more widely available at family planning clinics in Texas. Vasectomy is a highly effective contraceptive option for men and couples who do not want more children; however, few publicly funded family planning clinics in the United States offer the procedure as part of their comprehensive contraceptive services. Read the full release here.

STUDY: Increased Distances to Nearest Clinic in Texas Associated with Declines in Abortions (1/19/2017)

New research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) exploring the impact of House Bill 2 (HB 2) – the restrictive Texas abortion law that was struck down by the Supreme Court – found that increases in travel distance to the nearest abortion clinic caused by clinic closures were closely associated with decreases in the official number of abortions. The study, published online today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that counties where the distance to the nearest facility increased 100 miles or more saw a 50% decline in abortions. Meanwhile, counties that did not have an abortion provider in 2014 and did not experience a change in distance to the nearest facility had essentially no change in the number of abortions. Read the full release here.

STUDY: Texas Law Placed Burdens on Women Seeking Abortion (11/3/2016)

New research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) provides insight into how abortion facility closures and restrictions on medication abortion due to Texas House Bill 2 (HB 2) reduced access for women seeking abortions in the state. In a paper published recently in the journal PLOS ONE based on in-depth interviews with 20 women seeking abortion in 2014, researchers found that women faced a range of barriers to accessing care. The study focused on the experiences of Texas women who traveled more than 50 miles to obtain care, as well as women who wanted a medication abortion, or the abortion pill. Women encountered barriers to finding information about open clinics providing services as well as logistical barriers to getting care. Read the full release here

Research Suggests Mexico’s Family Planning Initiative Could Serve as Template for Texas (10/21/2016)

New research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) shows unmet demand for postpartum long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) among Mexican-born women in Texas. Mexico’s family-planning initiative, launched in the 1980s, made postpartum LARC—including the Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)—widely available to women at no cost. Recently, there has been considerable interest in the United States for postpartum access to highly effective contraception such as the IUD. The research, based on a 2013 survey of postpartum Mexican-born women in Austin and El Paso, as well as reanalysis of surveys conducted in Mexico between 1987 and 2014, was recently published online in Maternal and Child Health Journal. Read the full release here

Texas Women Lack Knowledge of Recent Abortion Restrictions, Do Not Support HB2 (5/20/2016)

New research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) shows that over half of Texas women had not heard of recent abortion laws, or, if they had, did not know much about the laws’ restrictions—including the House Bill 2 (HB2) requirements that physicians have hospital admitting privileges and clinics meet ambulatory surgical center (ASC) standards. Of those women who were aware of the laws, only nineteen percent said that they strongly or somewhat strongly supported them. The article, based on a statewide representative survey of Texas women of reproductive age, was recently published in the academic journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Read the full release here

New Research Shows Burdens of Texas Abortion Clinic Closures Due to House Bill 2 (3/17/2016)

New research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) shows that the closure of over half of abortion clinics in Texas after the introduction of House Bill 2 (HB2)—one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country—has resulted in significant burdens for women, including increased travel distances, high out-of-pocket costs, overnight stays, and decreased access to medication abortion. For women in the study whose nearest abortion clinic closed after HB2, the average distance to the nearest provider increased fourfold. Read the full press release here.

New Research Shows the Impact of Defunding Planned Parenthood (2/3/2016)

New research from TxPEP in collaboration with other researchers shows the impact of defunding Planned Parenthood in Texas. Excluding affiliates of abortion providers led to decreased provision of highly effective contraception and subsequently led to increased Medicaid-paid births. This article was published February 3, 2016 in the New England Journal of Medicine

For the First Time, New Research Details the Impact of Texas' Abortion Law on Women (1/19/2016)

A new study by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) finds that following the enactment of Texas’ law restricting abortion, HB2, women who sought abortion care at Texas clinics experienced numerous barriers accessing care, forcing some to obtain abortions later in pregnancy, and in a few cases, continue an unwanted pregnancy. The study, which was published online in the peer-reviewed journal Contraception, is the first study to document women’s experiences seeking abortion care shortly after clinic closures associated with the enforcement of a restrictive abortion law. 

Study Shows 95% of Women with Unintended Pregnancies in the Two Years After a Delivery Had Unmet Demand for Implants, IUDs or Sterilization (1/14/2016)

A new study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) has shown that a large fraction of unintended pregnancies in the two years after a delivery may result from barriers to accessing their preferred method of contraception. Women who experienced barriers to their preferred method were three times as likely to become pregnant than women who did not, and were much less likely to have initiated use of a highly effective method. Most surprising is that 95% of women who had unintended pregnancies had expressed interest in implants and intrauterine devices and/or sterilization before they got pregnant. 

Study Finds At Least 100,000 Texas Women Have Attempted to Self-Induce Abortion (11/17/2015)

Today, the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) released first-of-its-kind research that finds at least 100,000 Texas women ages 18 to 49 (estimated to be 1.7% of Texas women of reproductive age) have ever attempted to end a pregnancy on their own without medical assistance. Other TxPEP research suggests self-induction may be more common in Texas compared to other states. This is the first time a statistic on self-induction in the general population has ever been calculated. 

Family Planning Funds Shift, Physicians May Not Be Ready (10/28/2015)

Survey research has shown that most Texas family physicians (79%) were not aware of recent changes to the state family planning budget, and 65% had not heard of funding structures such as the Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP) that direct family planning funds to primary healthcare providers offering care to low-income Texas women. Provision of contraception among this sample of Texas family physicians varied, with very few offering the most effective methods for preventing unwanted pregnancies such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) or the contraceptive implant (18% and 11%, respectively). Provision of comprehensive contraception is likely a new role for many of these physicians who were previously able to refer patients to specialized family planning clinics such as Planned Parenthood that have either been cut off from state funds or closed due to funding restrictions. 

Abortion Wait Times in Texas (10/5/2015)

The amount of time women have to wait before they can get an appointment at an abortion clinic in Texas has increased, according to research performed by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP). Wait times have gotten particularly long in Dallas and Ft. Worth after a large-volume clinic closed in June 2015, with women having to wait up to 20 days on average in these cities. There were 8 facilities providing abortion care in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area in April 2013; now there are only 4. Wait times have also been as long as 20 days at some clinics in Austin, while wait times have been stable and short in Houston and San Antonio.

35 Years of Medical Research Shows Abortion Safety Will Not Improve with HB2 Requirements (9/10/2015)

A systematic review of 57 studies from the past 35 years on abortion safety shows that complications from first-trimester surgical abortion were similar whether the procedure was performed in an office setting or a hospital setting, indicating that neither hospital admitting privileges requirements nor ambulatory surgical center (ASC) requirements, such as those included in Texas’s House Bill 2 (HB2), would improve abortion safety. In fact, complications overall from abortion were rare. 

Providing Highly Effective Contraception After Childbirth Can Reduce Unintended Pregnancy (6/24/2015)

Half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. The majority of these pregnancies occur among women who already have children, and often happen within two years of women giving birth. In a study recently published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers at the TxPEP set out to find out how many women adopted highly effective methods, when they did so postpartum, how much this reduced risk of pregnancy within 18 months of delivery.

2011 Texas Legislation Lead to Family Planning Clinic Closures, Reduced Services, and Uncertain Future (4/6/15)

Legislation enacted in 2011 by the Texas legislature left large gaps in the reproductive health care safety net for low-income Texas women by cutting funds for family planning and restricting which providers could deliver services. In a recently published study, TxPEP researchers found that 25% of publicly funded family planning clinics in Texas closed in 2011-2013, and the ones that remained opened served 54% of the clients that they had in the previous period. Planned Parenthood affiliates and other specialized family planning providers, which were the targets of the legislation, experienced the largest reductions in services, but other agencies were also adversely affected.

Tweets Supporting Abortion Rights Came From All Over Texas (7/29/14)

According to a recent study by TxPEP researcher Amanda Jean Stevenson, Twitter users from Texas and beyond posted 1.66 million tweets about Texas Democratic Senator Wendy Davis’s filibuster of the restrictive abortion bill House Bill 2 (HB2).  Ninety-seven percent of the tweets were against the bill and nearly half of the tweets came from users living throughout Texas, representing 192 of its 254 counties.

Study Finds Texas Women Are Not Receiving the Highly Effective Contraception They Desire (7/25/14)

A recently published paper from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project found that nearly 75% of Texas women surveyed want to use highly effective methods of contraception like the intrauterine device (IUD), contraceptive implant, or sterilization in the postpartum period. However, six months after giving birth, only 27% were using these methods.

Texas State Abortion Rate Decreases 13 Percent Since Implementation of Restrictive Law (7/23/14)

A new paper from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project demonstrates a 13% decline in the abortion rate in Texas and a sharp reduction in medical abortion since House Bill 2 (HB2) went into effect in November 2013.  The law includes provisions restricting medical abortion, banning most procedures after 20 weeks post-fertilization and requiring physicians to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.  

  • Texas Policy Evaluation Project

    Population Research Center
    University of Texas at Austin
    305 E. 23rd Street
    Stop G1800
    Austin, Texas 78712