The impact of Senate Bill 8 on access to abortion for women in Texas
Since abortion was legalized nationally in the United States in 1973, individual states have passed legislation to limit when, where, why, and how women may access abortion. Policies to restrict abortions have increased in recent years as public opinion, political figures, and the Supreme Court have become increasingly hostile towards abortion access. Previous research has established access to abortion is essential to a womenâ€™s ability to equally participate in society and being denied a wanted abortion has been associated with negative health, economic, and financial outcomes. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities within reproductive health and increased limitations upon abortion access; Texasâ€™s Executive Order GA-09 temporarily banned abortions from March to April of 2020. Additionally, Senate Bill 8 passed in Texas on September 1, 2021, limiting abortions to approximately six weeks gestation ageâ€” before most women are pregnant. I use data from SafeGraph to conduct a single group interrupted time series analysis on visitation data to abortion clinics in Texas, collected from mobile devices, to establish a correlation between the implementation of abortion policies and visitation trends to abortion clinics. The analysis of mobile data reveals that GA-09 had an immediate and prolonged negative effect on abortion clinic visitation, the lifting of GA-09 induced a positive rebound in visitation, and Senate Bill 8 had a negative effect on visitation trends. This analysis reveals the negative impact of Senate Bill 8, which has yet to be explored, and implies that restrictive abortion policies have a direct negative impact on abortion access which will likely have a negative spillover effect on womenâ€™s autonomy, future career options, and wellbeing.