As state anti-choice legislation shutters abortion clinics, abortion rights advocates say the country is beginning to see the impact on access to safe care. The last remaining abortion clinics in Mississippi and Alabama are just a court decision away from being closed. In parts of Mississippi, Black women’s maternal mortality rate is on par with countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Abortion rights advocates say unfettered abortion access is critical to the health and safety of Black women. But it is becoming challenging in states with large African American populations.
According to new Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) surveys, researchers estimate between 100,000 and 240,000 Texas women between the ages of 18 and 49 have attempted to terminate their pregnancies without the assistance of an abortion provider. The first of its kind study surveyed 779 women and conducted 18 in-depth interviews to explore the experiences of the 4 percent of women attempted to abort their pregnancies. Nationally, less than two percent of women attempt to self-induce an abortion before traveling to a clinic. But in Texas, the amount is significant in comparison to the population because the Black female population there is 1.8 million, more than 51 percent of the 3.5 million Blacks in the state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In addition, Black Texans, make up 12.5 percent of the population there, but 30 percent of people obtaining abortions, although the study found that self-induction was actually more prevalent among Hispanic Texas women.
Although she lives in Georgia, stories like that of Kenlissia Jones are similar. Jones, 23, was arrested in June after self-inducing her own abortion using Cytotec, an abortion which she purchased over the Internet from a Canadian seller. According to a police report, Jones went into labor while in a car and delivered en route to the hospital. The fetus was pronounced dead 30 minutes after arrival. Jones’ brother told the Washington Post she was unable to afford an abortion in a clinic, and took matters into her own hands.