Latina Teen Birth Surged in This State From Abortion Restrictions
Remember all the times women took to the streets denouncing the right to legal abortion? Well, the legal ban has taken its toll, and the numbers show an alarming scenario.
According to a University of Houston study, the teen pregnancy rate for teens, especially Latinas, increased in Texas for the first time in 15 years in 2022. This comes one year after the state’s six-week abortion ban went into effect.
As reported by “NBC News,” Latinas of all ages experienced the largest increase in births and fertility rates compared to any other racial group in the state between 2021 and 2022.
The study, released last week by the University of Houston’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender & Sexuality, found that Texas women gave birth to 16,146 more babies in 2022 than in 2021. Of those, 13,503 were delivered by Latinas. This represents 84% of all babies born in the state.
In addition, the average fertility rate — the number of children born per 1,000 women — increased 5.1% among Latinas, compared with a 0.2% drop among non-Hispanic white women and a 0.6% drop among black women. Among Latinas aged 25 and older, the fertility rate increased by 8%.
Latina teens most impacted by lack of access to abortion
Figures from the University of Houston study suggest that Hispanic women face more difficulty obtaining reproductive care.
“We don’t see any other reason,” said Elizabeth Gregory, the institute’s director, to “NBC News.” “Given the study’s findings, policymakers should start thinking about the real-life effects of policy decisions.”
“Travel to access abortion in other states requires money, time off work, and in many cases, child care. The need to care for children already at home might be a key factor in the rising birthrates among women 25 and older,” she said.
The Dobbs v. Jackson decision ended Roe and dramatically altered the lives of millions of women. It handed the decision of whether and how to restrict or ban abortion to the states.
Since then, 21 states have instituted almost blanket bans on abortion (with limited exceptions) or banned it in the early stages of pregnancy — even earlier than legally set by Roe v. Wade. Twenty-four states still protect abortions to some degree.
The obstacles Latinas face are specific, and this makes the situation more worrisome
Between poverty, the pay gap, and lack of insurance coverage, Latinas have everything to lose.
Add to this a distrust of doctors following a history of forced sterilizations, anti-immigrant propaganda, and language and cultural barriers.
Of the nearly 6.7 million Latinas living in the U.S., 43% between the ages of 15 and 49 live in the 26 states that have banned or severely restricted abortion.
Nearly one-third of all Latinas of reproductive age live in Texas, Florida, and Arizona. These are the states that have banned abortion or severely restricted it.
In conclusion, the findings of the University of Houston study, while saddening, are not surprising.
Access to abortion is now more than a right. It is a solution to a human rights crisis.