For 6 months now, our Texas abortion providers have faced unimaginable circumstances. Our clinic staff and doctors have worried they may be sued, just for showing up to work. For 6 months, we have heard the cries and pleas of Texans who have had their healthcare freedoms stripped away. For 6 months, clinics in neighboring states have strained to accommodate displaced Texans.
Every abortion ban creates a human rights tragedy, and Senate Bill 8 is a preview of a potential post-Roe America. Data from Texas HHS shows a 60% drop in abortions across all age groups within the first 30 days of Senate Bill 8’s enforcement. At the same time, Planned Parenthood’s new data shows that clinics surrounding states are seeing a nearly 800% increase in abortion patients from Texas.
SB 8 is especially devastating for people who are already navigating hardships and disparities. Our Texas clinic staff have transformed clinic counseling sessions into grief support. They help patients manage the trauma of being denied the care they need and support them to make sense of the very personal and scary struggles that come with a forced pregnancy. In many cases, there is nothing we can do for them but listen, hold their hand, and dry their tears.
What’s more, the U.S. Supreme Court left this cruel law in effect when they had the power to block it twice. Their inaction in Texas coupled with their awaited decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health (a case that experts believe will weaken or overturn Roe v. Wade) has emboldened our opposition. In 2022 alone, 39 state legislatures have filed more than 230 bills restricting abortion access and 7 states have filed SB 8 copycat bills.
To combat these bills, the U.S. Senate took its first-ever vote yesterday on the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). This federal legislation would protect access to abortion across the country. It was blocked by a 46-48 vote, but it brings us one step closer to realizing a future in which we all have equal access to abortion care, no matter who we are or where we live.
These 6 months with SB 8 are indescribable, but we are not backing down. While WWH and WWHA fight this ban in the courts, we are doing innovative work on-the-ground:
- Last week, we opened a nonprofit clinic in Minnesota, where Roe is codified, just five miles from the state’s largest airport and at the intersection of two interstate freeways.
- We are piloting a program to help people migrate out of Texas for abortion, working alongside abortion funds and our allies to secure support for our patients.
- WWH has launched a Virtual Abortion Care program using telemedicine to provide medication abortion by mail in New Mexico, Virginia, and Minnesota.
Like many abortion providers, we are doing everything we can to try to meet the needs of pregnant people in the U.S. But this is not a hero’s narrative; it is a tragedy. Abortion providers alone cannot fix this, and we need your help. Please donate today so we can sustain our clinics and continue to launch innovative programs that support the reproductive freedoms of ALL Americans.
P.S.: TODAY is Primary Election Day in Texas. Vote and make your voice heard against unjust abortion bans like SB 8. Before you head to the polls, here’s what you need to know.