Meet Telisa. She is a Patient Advocate at Whole Woman’s Health of Austin, Texas.
In 2010, Telisa had an abortion. Having spent her career working to support people affected by domestic violence and sexual assault, her eyes were now open to a new calling. She applied to Whole Woman’s Health and was offered a position two days later. She immediately fell in love with abortion care and the Whole Woman’s Health way. “All of the staff are compassionate and genuinely care about their patients. So many patients tell me that they didn’t know what to expect and we made them feel comfortable.”
Fast forward to 2021. A multitude of medically unnecessary restrictions are now law in Texas, including Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), the near-total ban on abortions that is enforced by private citizens. SB 8 has been in effect for 42 days, reinstated by the Fifth Circuit Court late last Friday – just 2 days after a federal judge blocked it. Its impact has been devastating, particularly for people of color and those struggling to make ends meet.
As Telisa shares, protestors are spreading misinformation, telling everyone who enters the clinic that abortion is illegal and they can be sued. Staff are fearful both about their job security and potential lawsuits made against them. Patients are downright scared, confused, and numb about what to do next.
But Telisa isn’t going anywhere. “I am still here – for the patients’ sake. I want to hear their voices, listen to their concerns, and be an advocate for them. Many of them don’t have someone they can talk to, but I’ll be here.”
She also knows that the Whole Woman’s Health staff and leadership have her back. They continue to fight and find innovative ways to provide care. “We can fight this bill and we are going to overturn it,” shared Telisa. “I want to be a part of that. I want to be in this as long as I can be.”
Without clinic staff like Telisa, compassionate abortion care ceases to exist in Texas. She knows we have her back, and I hope you do too.