The attacks on our personal freedoms and bodily autonomy have taken over the airwaves. Every day, the abortion care landscape in our country gets worse. Texas Senate Bill 8 continues to wreak havoc in Texas and other conservative states, proving that unconstitutional abortion bans can withstand the federal and regional courts. Just last week, Kentucky became the first state to ban abortion entirely, signing a law that took effect immediately and shuttered the two remaining clinics in the state. This news came just days after the Governors in Florida and Oklahoma signed egregious abortion restrictions that will take effect this Summer.
We want to assure you that abortion providers and advocates are working tirelessly to protect your rights and access to care. That includes all of us at Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance. We know that providing abortion care takes ingenuity and grit, and our team continues to find innovative ways keep our clinics open, fight abortion bans in the courts, and change the rhetoric around abortion in our communities. We need your support now more than ever – and we thank you for it!
Amy Hagstrom Miller, President & CEO
Sonja Miller, MEd, MDiv, Interim Managing Director
Abortion is Our Work
230 days. That’s how long it’s been since Senate Bill 8 took effect, and there is still no end in sight. This ban has stuck around even though we’ve challenged it in every court. Earlier this month, a Texas woman was arrested for murder, accused of self-managing an abortion. Thanks to the advocacy and fast action of The Frontera Fund, South Texans for Reproductive Justice, and If/When/How, Lizelle has been released and all charges dropped. She should never have been arrested. No one should be criminalized for any pregnancy outcome. If the state of Texas wants to protect life, it should focus on ensuring that everyone can get the full spectrum of reproductive health care when they need it.
Though we’ve have lost a few battles to Texas’ near-total abortion ban, there is still a fight left and Texans deserve our support. Moments ago, a new challenge to SB 8 was filed in federal district court on behalf of the Stigma Relief Fund, an abortion fund that provides financial and practical support to patients in clinics managed by Whole Woman’s Health, and former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis. We are hopeful that our lawyers at The Lawyering Project can finally put an end to this inhumane law!
Whole Woman’s Health of Austin saw an increase of protesters during the ‘40 Days of Life’ and Easter holiday, but we have also seen an increase of support by within the community. Our clinic staff are dedicated to helping patients get seen as soon as possible, people who often must make an immediate decision on their abortion in order to be eligible for care in the state. Some patients are calling even before they’ve missed a period!
Earlier this month, Virginia legislators gathered for a Special Session ordered by Governor Youngkin. The main priority for special session is to pass a state budget. All of the anti-abortion bills introduced in the regular session were successfully defeated, and we’re continuing to work with our partners at the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance (VREA) to prevent any backsliding in Virginians’ reproductive rights and access.
In West Virginia, the largest state that Virginia shares a border with, politicians are stepping up their attacks on abortion. There is only one abortion provider in the state, and the Governor recently signed a law that prohibits patients from terminating a pregnancy based on the possibility of a disability. This law is just another tool to further limit abortion in West Virginia, which is currently barred after 20 weeks.
Whole Woman’s Health of Charlottesville has been welcoming and serving a multitude of Texas patients displaced due to Senate Bill 8 through the WWH Abortion Wayfinder Program. The team has stepped up to provide the compassionate, high-quality care Texans deserve.
In early April, a judge announced that he will allow Doe v. Minnesota, the case challenging Minnesota’s abortion restrictions, to proceed without delay. This case is scheduled to go to trial in late June. The evidence in the case shows that because access to abortion is so restricted, Minnesota residents have had to travel as far as Seattle to obtain abortion care.
In addition, over 250 people attended UnRestrict Minnesota’s Reproductive Freedom Lobby Day in late March, where our Minnesota Advocacy Coordinator participated in a panel. Attendees met with more than 50 legislators and made a big impact. Thirteen more legislators agreed to co-author the Patient’s Right to Know Act (HF 522/SF 963) and three joined the Reproductive Freedom Caucus! The Patient’s Right to Know Act would remove the requirement that providers read a medically inaccurate script to patients before providing abortion care.
Whole Woman’s Health of Minnesota continues to see a significant number of patients traveling from Texas and neighboring states, accounting for 20-30% of all patients seen at the clinic. In addition, 30% of patients the clinic staff are serving are in the second trimester, with the need only increasing as abortion bans and delays are passed in other states.
The Indiana state legislature has adjourned for this session, but a majority of conservative legislators asked the Governor to call a special session on abortion this summer following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. Governor Holcomb said he “is absolutely considering” that. The goal of the special session would be to pass legislation that bans or severely restricts abortion in the state. Your voice matters and is making a difference. In late March, Governor Holcomb vetoed a bill that would ban transgender girls from playing on K-12 girls’ sports teams. This win wouldn’t have been possible without the thousands of Hoosiers who voiced their strong opposition to the bill and showed up at the Statehouse. Our allies at the ACLU of Indiana released their 2022 Legislative Report. Read it now to stay informed about the state of human rights in Indiana.
Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend welcomed the National Abortion Federation (NAF) to our clinic in early April for two days of training for our staff in ultrasound skills. The team is already putting their new skills to use!
The fate of abortion care in our country is in limbo as we await an expected June decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a U.S. Supreme Court case out of Mississippi that has the power to overturn Roe v. Wade. Jackson Women’s Health is the only clinic that provides abortion care in Mississippi and if Roe falls, their doors along with clinics in 24 other states will be forced to close. Watch this brief video where staff at Jackson Women’s Health discuss their work and what’s at stake.
More employers are taking steps to support employees in states hostile to abortion care. Yelp is the latest company to announce it will cover costs for employees and their spouses who must travel out of state to access abortion care. Yelp joins Citigroup, Apple, Lyft, Uber, Bumble, Match, and more companies who are affirming that abortion is healthcare. Please join us in thanking these companies for affirming their employees’ access to safe abortion care as a company value!
While it may feel like it lately, it’s not all bad news on abortion rights. There have been promising advances in Maryland, Colorado, California, Washington, and Oregon this month as lawmakers are pushing back against these restrictions.
In other good news, a historic vote confirmed Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court this month. Her confirmation makes her the first Black woman to sit on the High Court. Justice Jackson has spent the majority of her career fighting for our basic rights and has an impressive track record of defending the constitutional rights of all people. While Justice Jackson’s confirmation does not change the political makeup of the Supreme Court, her seat on the court as the first Black woman is nonetheless incredibly significant. We say it’s about time!
Shifting Abortion Stigma
We are committed to fostering open and honest conversations about abortion and advocating for reproductive freedom. We continue to provide thought leadership on social media with timely, shareable posts and graphics. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation!
Inside Our Abortion Clinics
Here is a patient testimonial from Whole Woman’s Health of Minnesota: “A friend of mine scheduled an appointment at this clinic but called to cancel her appointment because she changed her mind. I overheard the conversation and the person on the phone was a GEM! They didn’t force my friend to get the procedure like most pro-lifers had portrayed in the media. Instead, they offered their best wishes to my friend and said, “we wish you a healthy pregnancy and only you know what’s best for you”. They even offered her reputable resources for prenatal and maternity care, but my friend declined since she had an OBGYN. Overall, this clinic does a wonderful job being supportive of their patients’ decision!”
In the News
If you’ve been plugging in to abortion news, you’ll know that conservative states are pushing a flurry of abortion restrictions in 2022 – 519 restrictions introduced in 41 states, to be exact. Anti-abortion lawmakers are eager to restrict abortion access ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. We’re grateful for the swift coverage of these medically unnecessary bans and restrictions in local and national news outlets. Many of the reporters we’ve spoken to are eager to know how we’re preparing for the potential gutting of Roe v. Wade, the impact SB 8 continues to have on Texans, and the ripple effect of abortion bans being passed in other states.
Make sure you check out this Spectrum News feature on Whole Woman’s Health of Baltimore helping displaced Texans, this Refinery 29 story about abortion access in Texas, and this CNN interview on the future of abortion access in the U.S.
How You Can Help
During this critical time in history, it’s easier than ever to show your support for Whole Woman’s Health Alliance. First, we hope you will donate to fuel our vital work. Second, we have officially launched an online store! If pro-abortion t-shirts, totes, or mugs are your thing, we’ve got them all, including our popular Supreme Court tees. Check out our store now and proudly sport that you’re pro-abortion. Donate Now
Abortion Fact of the Month
Medication abortions now account for the majority of abortions in the United States, but in the first three months of 2022, conservative lawmakers introduced more than 100 restrictions on medication abortion in 22 states.