Waiting is hard. As we walk through life, there are a myriad of moments that force us to surrender to patience. But nothing has been more excruciating than the long wait for the Supreme Court to decide on Texas Senate Bill 8. For 80 days, we’ve been forced to tell Texans that we can’t give them the care that we are so PROUD to provide. For 19 days, the Supreme Court is sitting on a decision from our November 1st expedited hearing. Every hour that SB 8 is allowed to stand is a human rights crisis. Every day, we are haunted by the pleas, tears, and stories from patients who want and deserve the power to control their own lives. Every night, we feel hope slipping as states elect anti-abortion politicians and the December 1st Supreme Court hearing approaches, which may threaten the constitutional right to abortion care. We dig deep, nonetheless, as we know that we stand in the light, providing a moral good to communities and fighting for the majority of Americans’ beliefs. Stand with us as we navigate the end of the worst year on record for abortion rights.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, President & CEO
Jesse Torrey, Managing Director
Abortion is Our Work
Virginia has become a target for anti-abortion politicians that could overturn years of progress. November’s elections flipped seats for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and the House of Delegates to politicians with anti-abortion agendas. We, along with our partners in the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance (VREA), are disappointed, but we remain steadfast. This is a major blow to Virginia and could signal another long, hard fight to protect access to compassionate and quality abortion clinics like ours. Read more from our President and CEO, Amy Hagstrom Miller, on what this election could mean for the future in her interview with WaPo’s The Lily. The Virginia General Assembly begins its 2022 legislative session in just two short months, on January 12th, so we will be working hard with the VREA to uphold abortion rights and access across the state.
On November 1st, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in an expedited hearing of Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson. They refused to block SB 8, once again, as they deliberate their decision. Even if they ultimately overturn the law, the conservative majority is sending a strong message with their silence. Senate Bill 4 is also set to take effect on December 2nd, which limits medication abortion care to just 7 weeks of pregnancy and bans medication abortion by mail.
The Texas Abortion Access Network (TAAN) launched a new cohort on November 4th. The academy prepares leaders in the community and the reproductive rights movement by helping them develop the skills needed to be a powerful and effective advocate. All classes are held virtually, including an Abortion 101 and Clinic Tour at WWHA’s Austin, Texas clinic. If you’re interested in learning more about advocating for abortion rights in your community or joining the next cohort, click here.
Yesterday was Give to the Max Day, an annual day to give thanks and support to Minnesota nonprofits, including WWHA! In addition to providing compassionate abortion care in our clinics, WWHA engages in advocacy and supports purposeful litigation to push back against existing and emerging abortion regulations in Minnesota. We hope you’ll support our important work.
Gender Justice, a Minnesota-based gender equity advocacy organization, released a startling new report on crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) across the state. The report provides an in-depth look at how CPCs target pregnant people of color and pregnant people with lower incomes with deceptive marketing; provide no real medical services; and systematically mislead clients about services they do provide. GJ is using these findings to call on Minnesota state lawmakers to review grant funds that support CPCs and investigate if they served their stated purpose.
While we continue to move through the appeals process for Whole Woman’s Health Alliance v. Rokita, a previously passed law was allowed to go into effect that requires abortion providers to report alleged “complications” from abortion. The “complications” are steeped with abortion stigma, such as complications in subsequent pregnancies, and “psychological or emotional complications” including depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. There are criminal penalties for failure to report. Keep in mind, the American Psychological Association reports that “research has shown that having an abortion does not increase a woman’s risk for depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.” This is yet another example of a burdensome law that provides no health benefit to patients and serves only to make providing and seeking abortion care more COMPLICATED.
Abortion advocates around the country are preparing for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a Supreme Court case that directly challenges Roe v. Wade. Oral arguments will be heard on December 1st, and major rallies are planned in both Jackson, Mississippi and Washington, DC. If you live nearby, we hope you’ll join us or participate in a solidarity event that may be happening in your hometown.
Here’s what else you should know about:
- Anti-abortion lawmakers are already copying Texas Senate Bill 8. Just this month, Ohio lawmakers proposed an even more restrictive version of the ban.
- The Abortion Care Network (ACN) just released the 2021 Communities Need Clinics report, which is a stark reminder about important it is for communities to support independent abortion clinics like ours.
- WWHA’s leadership has been busy lending expertise and support in national coalitions and tables, including in the National Abortion Access Campaign Coalition (NAACC) and the Generative Learning Community (GLC) on Self-Managed Abortion. The NAACC is building a groundswell of support for abortion access while the GLC aims to promote a positive narrative about SMA. Stay tuned for more news from these groups!
Shifting Abortion Stigma
WWHA is committed to fostering open and honest conversations about abortion and advocating for reproductive freedom. Below are some recent stigma-busting social media posts. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation!
Inside Our Abortion Clinics
Here is a recent testimonial from Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend.
“This place is such a blessing! The staff is always courteous and informative. There were even volunteers outside with bright umbrellas helping guide us in. Thank God for clinics like this.”
Keep an eye on your inbox for more stories from WWHA and WWH staff and physicians.
In the News
We continue to work hard to humanize abortion providers and give voices to the thousands affected by abortion bans and restrictions. Since our last newsletter published on October 19th, WWHA staff, Board members, and doctors have participated in 33 more interviews. Don’t miss Cheddar News’ spotlight on our Austin clinic. Our President & CEO was also at the Supreme Court for the November 1st hearing and spoke to many Texas-based and national media outlets on-the-ground about the devastation our staff and patients are facing. We also participated in an Instagram takeover of the Women’s March account alongside TEA Fund. Visit the Whole Woman’s Health press room for all the latest.
How You Can Help
The holiday season is here, and Giving Tuesday is just 12 days away. We hope you’ll support Whole Woman’s Health Alliance in our increasingly vital work to operate clinics in states that are most politically hostile to abortion care, take a stand as lead plaintiffs in major lawsuits, and ensure everyone can afford the care they need and deserve. Save the date and encourage your friends and family to join in!