According to the old saying, there are three types of lies–lies, damn lies, and statistics. But there’s a fourth and even more effective type of lie–the lack of statistics.
So it is that the state of Texas is attempting to conceal data on abortions from 2014, the first year that the TRAP laws in Texas HB2 were in effect. Those onerous restrictions on abortion clinics resulted in the closure of over half of the clinics in the state.
They also undoubtedly dealt a severe blow to the health and welfare of women in Texas. But we’ll never know that for sure unless we can get the numbers–and Texas seems determined to keep those numbers under wraps.
The ACLU has sent a letter to the Department of State Health Services demanding that Texas release the data. They note that for the last two decades the statistics were released in March. But this year–the first time that numbers from after the passage of HB2 were to be released–the state claims that the statistics are still “being processed” although the ACLU says they were ready in March.
The letter also accuses the DSHS of violating the Texas Public Information Act by telling employees to lie about and hide the statistics.
Terri Burke, executive director for the ACLU of Texas, says “The State of Texas claims that HB2 protects women’s health. If that’s true, why wouldn’t our public health agency want to trumpet its success?” Probably because “success” to them really means decimating abortion services in Texas, and that’s not the kind of success that lends itself to trumpeting.
The ACLU’s letter was sent to Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt–the “Hellerstedt” in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. That’s the current Supreme Court case challenging the harmful TRAP laws in Texas. If they can just be overturned, then Texas won’t have to keep on hiding the statistics that show how much harm they’re doing.
A TRAP doesn’t work unless you hide it. Support the ACLU’s efforts to stop Texas from hiding the effects of their TRAP laws.