NRL News

The Texas Heartbeat Act Saved Thousands of Lives, More Research Shows

by | Feb 6, 2024

By Michael J. New

Last month, The University of Houston’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality released a report on the Texas Heartbeat Act. It found that the Texas fertility rate increased by 2 percentage points in 2022, in large part because of the Heartbeat Act. This was the first increase in Lone Star State’s fertility rate since 2014. The report was covered by a range of mainstream media outlets including NBC News, the HillAxios, and the Texas Tribune.

Breaking the numbers down: The Heartbeat Act resulted in nearly 8,000 more children being born in Texas in 2022. Since, the Texas Heartbeat Act took effect on September 1, 2021, it would not have had a substantial effect on the Texas fertility rate until March or April 2022. Given that, this finding is consistent with my November 2022 Lozier Institute study and with a June 2023 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study. Both found that the Texas Heartbeat Act resulted in approximately 1,000 more children being born every month.

The coverage of this report is disappointing. There is much discussion about a rise in fertility but little mention that thousands of innocent lives have been saved. Furthermore, media outlets reported that the Texas teen fertility rate increased in 2022.

While it did, the same outlets have neglected to note that this report shows a 35.7 percent decline in the Texas teen-fertility rate since 2016. Overall, the Lone Star State has seen impressive long-term reductions in teen pregnancies, teen births, and teen abortions.

This University of Houston report adds to an impressive body of research showing that recently enacted pro-life laws have saved lives. In addition to the analyses of Texas data, a November 2023 report by the Institute for Labor Economics in Germany found that there were increases in the birth rates in other states that enforced pro-life laws post-Dobbs. 

Many mainstream media outlets continue to downplay the impact of pro-life laws. However, a substantial body of research from the United States and abroad clearly shows that legal protections for preborn children reduce abortion rates and save lives.

Editor’s note. This appeared at National Review and reposted with permission. Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, NRLC’s Director of Education & Research, wrote about some of these same issues here.

Categories: State Legislation