HOUSTON – This week, the Texas Department of State Health Services responded to an ACLU of Texas demand that Commissioner Hellerstedt release the 2014 abortion statistics, which have been finalized for months. The statistics account for the first full year that provisions of the controversial anti-abortion law, known as Texas House Bill 2, were in effect.
In an email sent to the ACLU of Texas Wednesday, DSHS responded by stating, “DSHS does not intend to withhold the information you have requested and will make it available to the public on the DSHS website no later than the close of business on Friday."
Trisha Trigilio, staff attorney for ACLU of Texas, issued the following statement:
“We are pleased the Texas Department of State Health Services finally agreed to comply with our demand to release abortion statistics for 2014, the first full year that provisions of Texas’s anti-abortion law — recently struck down by the Supreme Court — were in effect. While questions remain as to why DSHS withheld the data and concealed the fact that it was finalized as early as March, this release is a first step toward government transparency.”
Update: DSHS released the 2014 abortion statistics on Thursday afternoon. They may be found here.
Upon DSHS's release of the data, Trisha Trigilio, staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas, issued the following response:
“We will leave it to statisticians to undertake deeper analyses of this data, but at first glance the numbers demonstrate the devastating effect House Bill 2 had on the women of Texas. Given the overall drop in abortions – especially in vulnerable communities along the border – as well as the precipitous 70 percent drop in medication abortions, these numbers show that this law never had anything do with women’s health. It’s clear why lawmakers might have wanted to keep this information out of the public eye before the Supreme Court made its decision.”