The spread of COVID-19 has heightened and clarified things that were true before the pandemic. As always, Texas politicians have been doing the most to restrict abortion access and deny Texans their abortion rights, their voting rights, their right to health care and environmental justice. But in response, Texas abortion providers and advocates have been right there to fight back.
When Governor Abbott issued an executive order to suspend all abortion care under the guise of public health, providers quickly organized with their legal counsel to file a lawsuit and ensure abortion care continued. It was a confusing and scary time for both patients and providers, but Texas advocates did what they do best and coordinated with each other to make sure that everyone who needed an abortion was cared for, whether it was in a clinic in Texas or out of state. Never is the power of community organizing clearer than in a crisis, and this crisis showed that the coalition of abortion advocates is strong.
During this time, patients and clinic staff bore the brunt of the heartless politicization around abortion care. Patients were called to have their appointments canceled at the very last minute. Providers worked to identify those whose delayed abortion might mean they couldn’t get one at all to garner support, funding and appointments at clinics in other states. Some patients traveled out of state requiring them to arrange for extended time off work and childcare. These unnecessary hurdles compounded the stress and fear during an already challenging time due to traveling during a pandemic.
Due to the strong network of providers, abortion funds and advocates and a quick response to the punitive executive order, clinics were able to reopen and begin seeing patients. We quickly streamlined services to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID for our patients and staff. Abortion is essential healthcare and our staff have been on the frontlines for months making sure Texans get the care they need.
Texas Advocacy Director