A new study by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project says the number of abortions performed in Texas has sharply declined since tough new abortion clinic regulations were approved by the Legislature one year ago, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

  "We found that overall the total abortion rate went down 13%, project spokesman Dr. Daniel Grossman said.

  The Legislature approved several measures designed to crack down on abortion clinics.  Clinics have to meet the tough standards of ambulatory surgical centers, clinics have to have doctors on staff who have admission privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the clinic, and restrictions were placed on the use of so called 'abortion pills' and when abortions can be performed.

  Before the restrictions were approved, there were 44 abortion clinics in Texas.  Today there are six, although Planned Parenthood says it plans to open two compliant abortions clinics this fall, in San Antonio and in the Dallas area.

  The restrictions have been upheld in the federal courts, and pro choice groups are appealing.

  Grossman says if the goal of conservative lawmakers was to cut down on the total number of abortions, they have achieved their goal.

  "The 13% decline in the past year is a steeper drop than has been seen in Texas in past years, and is steeper than declines in abortions nationwide.

  Dr. Grossman says the 13% drop translates into 9200 fewer abortions performed in Texas in the past year.

  Critics point out that the law has left women in large parts of the state without reproductive health services.  Hardest hit is the Rio Grande Valley.  All of the operating abortion clinics in the Valley were forced to close, because hospitals in the overwhelmingly Catholic region declined to grant admitting privileges to abortion clinic doctors.