Latinas in Texas had more teenage pregnancies after abortion ban

The teen fertility rate in Texas rose for the first time in 15 years in 2022, a shift driven by disproportionately high rates among young Latinas a year after a six-week state abortion ban went into effect, a study found. from the University of Houston.

Meanwhile, more than 64,000 women and girls are estimated to have become pregnant as a result of rape in states that implemented abortion bans after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, according to a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine and led by the chief medical officer. from Planned Parenthood of Montana.

Latinas of all ages experienced the largest increase in births and fertility rates compared to any other racial or ethnic group in the state from 2021 to 2022, said the research, published last week by the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality from the University of Houston, NBC News reported.

Frida Martinez, 17, prepares her baby’s bottles a day before going to Lincoln Park High School, a school for pregnant students and young mothers, at her home in Brownsville, Texas, on Nov. 6. Veronica G. Cardenas / AFP via Getty Images

Texas women gave birth to 16,147 more babies in 2022 than in 2021. Of those, 13,503 babies, or 84%, were delivered by Latina women, the study said.

Furthermore, the average fertility rate – the number of children born per 1,000 women – increased 5.1% among Latinas, compared to the drop of 0.2% for non-Hispanic white women and 0.6% for black women. Among Latinas age 25 and older, fertility rates increased 8%.

The state’s overall fertility rate increased 2% for the first time since 2014.

The birth rate among Texas teens increased slightly overall, while the birth rate among that same population group across the United States remained stable. Young Hispanic, Asian and black women had varying increases in their birth rates, while the rate among non-Hispanic white women continued to decline.

Among Hispanic adolescents in Texas, the rate increased 1.2%, or from 27.22 to 27.56 per 1,000 births. For non-Hispanic white teens, the fertility rate dropped 5%, from 11.71 to 11.13 births per 1,000. The fertility rate for black teenage girls increased 0.5%, from 22.29 to 22.41. In the case of Asian adolescents, the birth rate increased 8.2%, a higher proportion due to their smaller number, from 1.42 to 1.58 births per 1,000.

The numbers suggest that although other racial and ethnic groups of women may have been affected by the state’s abortion ban, Hispanic women faced more difficulties to obtain reproductive care, including abortions.

An exam room at Planned Parenthood in Flossmoor in 2018.
An exam room at Planned Parenthood in Flossmoor, Illinois, in 2018.Stacey Wescott/Tribune News Service via Getty Images file

The drama of rape

Research on the impact of the abortion ban on pregnancies resulting from rape indicated that nearly 520,000 rapes were associated with 64,565 pregnancies in 14 states, most of which had no exceptions allowing termination of induced pregnancies. for a rape, NBC News reported.

Texas topped the list, with 45% of pregnancies in the state related to rape, the study revealed. According to researchers, 91% of pregnancies related to rape occurred in states with no exceptions for rape cases.

“Few (if any)” of the women and girls who became pregnant as a result of rape “obtained abortions within the state legally, suggesting that rape exceptions do not provide survivors with access to reasonable to abortion,” the investigation indicated.

Rape abortion exceptions can be made “virtually meaningless” by rape reporting requirements, explained Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the research and a professor at Hunter College’s School of Urban Public Health.

“I think, frankly, they are figurative exceptions,” Himmelstein said. “They’re not really exceptions…(that are) effective in making abortion available in cases of rape.”

The researchers used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the FBI to come up with their estimates.

The numbers were “really shockingly high,” said one of the research’s authors, Dr. Kari White, executive director and scientist at the abortion rights group Resound Research for Reproductive Health.

“Unfortunately, I think reflects how common rape is in the United States“he stated in an interview.

Sexual violence affects millions of people each year in the United States, according to the CDC. More than half of women and nearly 1 in 3 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact, according to the CDC.