As the Texas House debated changes in abortion law, state Rep. Jonathan Stickland said on Twitter, “Today is about the 80,000+ children” whose “life is stolen” per year in Texas.
That’s a widely used number — and it’s one we’ve cited in past fact-checks. But it’s also out of date and too high, according to the latest count finalized by a Texas state agency.
In February 2011, when state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, aired the 80,000 figure, we rated his statement True based on information from the Texas Department of State Health Services and the New York-based Guttmacher Institute.
According to the most recent data available at that time, the number of Texas abortions reported in 2008 was 81,591 according to the state agency or 84,610 according to Guttmacher, a research group focusing on reproductive health issues.
Luke Macias, a Stickland consultant, told us that the Bedford Republican made his claim based on our 2011 article. Macias said, too, that Stickland depended on Guttmacher’s figure for Texas abortions in 2008 when he and fellow Tarrant County lawmakers sent 84,610 pieces of blue and pink paper to state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, on June 25, the day she famously filibustered to stall abortion legislation.
But the number of abortions has decreased since Patrick’s statement, as we wrote in a Feb. 12 fact-check based on newer state information.
The Texas abortion tally has dropped for several years. Since topping out in 2008, abortions have dropped to 77,850 in 2009, 77,592 in 2010 and 72,470 in 2011, the latest year for which state data are available.
State figures come from mandatory reports that providers file each year with the Department of State Health Services.
Guttmacher says it sends a survey every four years or so to “all known abortion providers.” Guttmacher has not updated its count since its 2008 survey, a spokeswoman told us.
Our ruling: Stickland said there are “80,000+” abortions each year in Texas.
That was last true for 2006, 2007 and 2008, according to the state, but the number has declined since, with 72,470 Texas abortions reported in 2011. Still, Guttmacher, a respected source, hasn’t updated its data since its survey reporting 84,610 Texas abortions in 2008, arguably giving Stickland’s claim an element of truth.
We rate this statement Mostly False.
Statement: Says Texas has more than 80,000 abortions each year.