Texas & Harris County Reproductive Health Update: 2022 Fertility Rates, post 2021 Six-Week Abortion Ban
In an analysis of fertility dynamics after Texas’ 2021 six-week abortion ban, UH IRWGS found that Hispanic women in Texas and Harris County saw markedly larger increases in births and fertility rates in 2022 than women of other backgrounds. While individuals of other groups may also have been affected by the ban, results suggest that Hispanic women as a group faced more challenges in accessing reproductive care, including both contraception and abortion.
While the overall Texas fertility rate rose 2%, when analyzed by race/ethnicity that breaks out as a 5.1% rise among Hispanic women and a 0.9% rise among non-Hispanic (NH) Asians with declines of -0.6% to NH Black women and -2% to NH White women. Among Hispanic women 25 and older, fertility rates rose 8% in the state and 8.5% in the county.
The state’s controversial 2021 law forbid abortions in Texas after six weeks of pregnancy and was the most restrictive ban in the nation at the time. The effects of the ban on births and fertility rates began to be visible in 2022, and this report draws on CDC fertility analyses made public in October 2023.
Travel to access abortion in other states requires money, time off work, and in many cases childcare. Older women are more likely to already have children at home, so difficulty finding care and inability to leave and risk losing a job that supports a family could be differentiating factors in the rising birth rates among women 25 and older, especially those with low incomes.
The study also found a slight increase – by 0.39% – in Texas teen births, reversing the state’s steady teen birth rate decline since 2007 (which totaled 67.2% over 14 years). Broken out by race/ethnicity, the 2022 teen fertility rate continued to decline among white teens, while showing small increases among Hispanic, Black and Asian teens. Fertility rates among 20-24 year-olds of all races/ethnicities continued their ongoing declines.
2022 Texas teen birth rate rises for the first time in 15 years
Rising births to Texas Hispanic women in 2022, after 2021 6-week abortion ban
Rising births to Texas Hispanic women in 2022, especially those ages 25-44