Getting abortions in Texas has become harder for some women

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Texas Officials: Abortion Clinic Closures Aren't An Undue Burden For Women

(Reuters Health) - Some women in Texas have faced added obstacles in getting abortions after the state passed a law in 2013 that put restrictions on providers, according to a new study.

Compared to women whose nearest abortion clinic remained opened, those whose nearest clinic closed were more likely to report traveling long distances, spending more than $100 and other difficulties in accessing abortion.

"Clinic closures really compounded the burdens women were already experiencing and this study brings that to bear in a very detailed way," said study author Liza Fuentes, of Ibis Reproductive Health in Oakland, California.

U.S. states have added almost 300 abortion restrictions since 2010, according to Fuentes and her colleagues of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project.

They write in the American Journal of Public Health that under the 2013 law passed in Texas, doctors performing abortions must have admitting privileges to local hospitals and must follow specific rules for medication abortions, most abortions at or after 20 weeks are banned and abortion centers must meet the standards of surgical centers.

See protests outside of the Supreme Court as they take on Texas abortion laws:

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Getting abortions in Texas has become harder for some women
A demonstrator holds up signs in support of pro-life rights outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. Supreme Court justices clashed in their first abortion showdown in almost a decade as a pivotal justice suggested the court could stop short of a definitive ruling on a disputed Texas law regulating clinics. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Demonstrators hold up signs in support of pro-choice rights outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. Supreme Court justices clashed in their first abortion showdown in almost a decade as a pivotal justice suggested the court could stop short of a definitive ruling on a disputed Texas law regulating clinics. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Stephanie Toti, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, listens to a question from a member of the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. Supreme Court justices clashed in their first abortion showdown in almost a decade as a pivotal justice suggested the court could stop short of a definitive ruling on a disputed Texas law regulating clinics. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 2: Anti-abortion advocates stand in protest outside of the Supreme Court, March 2, 2016 in Washington, DC. On Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt case, where the justices will consider a Texas law requiring that clinic doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that clinics upgrade their facilities to standards similar to hospitals. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 2: Pro-choice advocates (left) and anti-abortion advocates (right) rally outside of the Supreme Court, March 2, 2016 in Washington, DC. On Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt case, where the justices will consider a Texas law requiring that clinic doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that clinics upgrade their facilities to standards similar to hospitals. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A demonstrators holds up a sign in support of pro-choice rights outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. Supreme Court justices clashed in their first abortion showdown in almost a decade as a pivotal justice suggested the court could stop short of a definitive ruling on a disputed Texas law regulating clinics. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A demonstrator holds up a sign in support of pro-life rights outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. Supreme Court justices clashed in their first abortion showdown in almost a decade as a pivotal justice suggested the court could stop short of a definitive ruling on a disputed Texas law regulating clinics. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A demonstrator holds up a sign in support of abortion rights outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. Supreme Court justices clashed in their first abortion showdown in almost a decade as a pivotal justice suggested the court could stop short of a definitive ruling on a disputed Texas law regulating clinics. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 2: Pro-choice advocates rally outside of the Supreme Court, March 2, 2016 in Washington, DC. On Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt case, where the justices will consider a Texas law requiring that clinic doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that clinics upgrade their facilities to standards similar to hospitals. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 2: Anti-abortion advocates rally outside of the Supreme Court, March 2, 2016 in Washington, DC. On Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt case, where the justices will consider a Texas law requiring that clinic doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that clinics upgrade their facilities to standards similar to hospitals. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 2: Pro-choice advocates rally outside of the Supreme Court, March 2, 2016 in Washington, DC. On Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt case, where the justices will consider a Texas law requiring that clinic doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that clinics upgrade their facilities to standards similar to hospitals. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Pro-abortion rights protesters rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 2, 2016. The abortion debate is returning to the Supreme Court in the midst of a raucous presidential campaign and less than three weeks after Justice Antonin Scaliaâs death. The justices are taking up the biggest case on the topic in nearly a quarter century and considering whether a Texas law that regulates abortion clinics hampers a womanâs constitutional right to obtain an abortion. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Pro-abortion rights protesters rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 2, 2016. The abortion debate is returning to the Supreme Court in the midst of a raucous presidential campaign and less than three weeks after Justice Antonin Scaliaâs death. The justices are taking up the biggest case on the topic in nearly a quarter century and considering whether a Texas law that regulates abortion clinics hampers a womanâs constitutional right to obtain an abortion. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Members of the public arrive to visit the Supreme Court as anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights protesters rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 2, 2016. The abortion debate is returning to the Supreme Court in the midst of a raucous presidential campaign and less than three weeks after Justice Antonin Scaliaâs death. The justices are taking up the biggest case on the topic in nearly a quarter century and considering whether a Texas law that regulates abortion clinics hampers a womanâs constitutional right to obtain an abortion. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Members of the public arrive to visit the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 2, 2016, as anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights protesters rally outside the court in. The abortion debate is returning to the Supreme Court in the midst of a raucous presidential campaign and less than three weeks after Justice Antonin Scalia's death. The justices are taking up the biggest case on the topic in nearly a quarter century and considering whether a Texas law that regulates abortion clinics hampers a woman's constitutional right to obtain an abortion. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. speaks outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 2, 2016, as the abortion debate returned to the Supreme Court in the midst of a raucous presidential campaign and less than three weeks after Justice Antonin Scalia's death. The justices are taking up the biggest case on the topic in nearly a quarter century Wednesday, considering whether a Texas law that regulates abortion clinics hampers a woman's constitutional right to obtain an abortion. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The flag flies at half staff in honor of Justice Antonin Scalia, as members of the public arrive to visit the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 2, 2016, as anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights protesters rally outside the court. The abortion debate is returning to the Supreme Court in the midst of a raucous presidential campaign and less than three weeks after Justice Antonin Scaliaâs death. The justices are taking up the biggest case on the topic in nearly a quarter century and considering whether a Texas law that regulates abortion clinics hampers a womanâs constitutional right to obtain an abortion. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. speaks outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 2, 2016, as the abortion debate returned to the Supreme Court in the midst of a raucous presidential campaign and less than three weeks after Justice Antonin Scalia's death. The justices are taking up the biggest case on the topic in nearly a quarter century Wednesday, considering whether a Texas law that regulates abortion clinics hampers a woman's constitutional right to obtain an abortion. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Supporters of legal access to abortion, as well as anti-abortion activists, rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, March 2, 2016, as the Court hears oral arguments in the case of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, which deals with access to abortion. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of legal access to abortion, as well as anti-abortion activists, rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, March 2, 2016, as the Court hears oral arguments in the case of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, which deals with access to abortion. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of legal access to abortion, as well as anti-abortion activists, rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, March 2, 2016, as the Court hears oral arguments in the case of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, which deals with access to abortion. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of legal access to abortion rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, March 2, 2016, as the Court hears oral arguments in the case of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, which deals with access to abortion. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of legal access to abortion rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, March 2, 2016, as the Court hears oral arguments in the case of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, which deals with access to abortion. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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To examine the effects of the law, the researchers surveyed 398 Texas women receiving abortions at 10 of the state's remaining clinics in mid-2014.

More than a third of the women - 38 percent - said their nearest clinic had closed after 2013. These women traveled an average of 85 miles each way to get an abortion, compared to 22 miles on average for those reporting that their nearest clinic had stayed open.

Overall, 44 percent of those whose nearest clinics closed had to drive more than 50 miles, compared to about 10 percent of those whose clinics remained open.

For women who had a clinic closure, "their distance to the nearest clinic (was) four times further than before the law," said Fuentes.

About a third of women whose nearest clinic had closed said they'd spent over $100, compared to a fifth of those who didn't have clinics close.

And 37 percent of women who lost their nearby clinics weren't able to have the kind of abortion they wanted (a medication abortion using the drug mifepristone), compared to 22 percent of those whose nearby clinics remained opened.

The only factor that didn't differ between the two groups of women was how far along they were when they got their abortion, the researchers write.

Fuentes told Reuters Health that the study couldn't account for women who had so much trouble accessing abortions that they didn't show up to the clinic.

"I think it's important to note what this study isn't able to do," she said.

In previous research, the same team found that after the law was passed, more women were delayed in getting abortions, didn't obtain abortions or even thought about self-inducing an abortion.

At current rates, about 30 percent of U.S. women will have an abortion by age 45, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of reproductive health.

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