In March 2020, Texas issued an executive order prohibiting most abortions for a 30-day
period (March 22, 2020–April 21, 2020). We assess whether patients who attended the
state-mandated ultrasound visit during this period returned for their abortion and
the interval between visits among those who returned compared with a 2019 cohort.
We collected individual-level data on ultrasound and abortion visits from February
to May 2019 (2019 cohort) and February to May 2020 (2020 cohort) at 13 Texas facilities.
We used logistic regression to assess changes in the proportion of patients who had
an ultrasound during the executive order and returned for their abortion compared
with the same 30-day period in 2019. We used linear regression to assess changes in
the interval between ultrasound and abortion visits between the two time periods.
Of the 1,640 patients in the 2020 cohort, 1,358 (83%) returned for their abortion
compared with 2,987 of the 3,304 (90%) in the 2019 cohort (p<0.001). Of the 1,358
who returned in the 2020 cohort, 813 (60%) got their abortion within the 30-day executive
order period compared with 2,621 of the 2,884 (88%) in the 2019 cohort (OR, 0.44;
95% CI, 0.34–0.56). Median wait times for the 2020 cohort were longest for patients
who had a procedural abortion vs. a medication abortion (Coefficient, 9.55; 95% CI,
8.21–10.89) and increased from two days (IQR, 1–5) in 2019 to nine days (IQR, 6–15)
in 2020 (Coefficient, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.49–1.34).
Fewer patients returned for their abortion in 2020 and those not eligible for medication
abortion had longer wait times.