Today, Board Member and Fellow of Physicians for Reproductive Health and ob/gyn in Texas Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi is testifying before the House Committee on the Judiciary in a hearing titled “The Texas Abortion Ban and its Devastating Impact on Communities and Families.” Alongside abortion storyteller and Co-Executive Director of Florida Access Network Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro and Professor of Law Khiara M. Bridges of Berkeley School of Law, Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi is testifying to share the dangerous impacts of abortion bans like the recent Texas Senate Bill 8 (S.B. 8) on her patients in Texas.
The following is from Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi’s statement submitted to the Committee:
“For over sixty days—since September 1—abortion has been nearly inaccessible in my home state of Texas due to Senate Bill 8 (S.B. 8). Texans have been waiting for the courts to intervene to halt this unconstitutional abortion ban and we are still waiting.
“As hateful and cruel as this law is, even before S.B.8 went into effect, accessing abortion care looked very different in our country depending on where you live. I’m a licensed physician who has practiced in Hawai’i, Texas, and Oklahoma providing expert abortion care. Abortion is exceedingly safe. This has been established through decades of rigorous clinical research, time and time again. And although I am the same physician, with the same expert skills and training in all of these places, by complying with the countless, cruel, and medically unnecessary abortion restrictions in Texas and Oklahoma, I am compelled by these states to provide substandard care for my community members compared to the people I have cared for in Hawai’i.
“I want the Committee to spend a few minutes thinking about what it is like to be a person needing abortion care in this country. Imagine Marie: a thirty-five-year old, American citizen, eighteen weeks pregnant, working a minimum wage job, and living in Dallas, Texas. Marie is seeking abortion care in August, just prior to S.B. 8 being enacted. She, like most people who have abortions, is already a parent and is resolute in her decision to end her pregnancy. Although Marie is confident and informed about her decision to end her pregnancy, even before the passage of S.B. 8, Marie is forced to endure multiple harmful restrictions when accessing abortion care.
This is what S.B. 8 is intended to do–deny people, both in and out of Texas, the ability to have abortions.
“Today, if Marie were eighteen weeks pregnant, she cannot get an abortion in Dallas. The next closest clinic is in Oklahoma City –where I am currently providing care –which, because of the massive influx of Texas patients, had a one month waiting list for an appointment before S.B. 8 even went into effect. I should not be forced to travel hours and hours away from my home to care for patients, my neighbors, who traveled hours and hours to see me. There is something incredibly wrong with this picture, and the impact does not end with the folks traveling to receive and provide care. An abortion ban in Texas impacts all of us. People in Oklahoma are already experiencing the ripple effect of this injustice. The influx of Texas patients is straining our neighboring states, pushing people in Oklahoma who need abortion care out of their communities to other states like Arkansas and Kansas. Now for Marie, by the time she is able to schedule her appointment with this increased wait time, she would be twenty-two weeks pregnant and unable to get care in Oklahoma, because of their state law. So now we’re moving in concentric circles, further and further away from home, and further and further away from hope. This is what S.B. 8 is intended to do –deny people, both in and out of Texas, the ability to have abortions.
“It is critical for this Committee to understand the dire consequences facing all of our communities right now. We need federal protection of abortion. We need laws that recognize the dignity and autonomy of people accessing this care. We need policies that elevate science and evidence, not politics. The Women’s Health Protection Act is an important and critical step, but it is not enough. We need legislation like the EACH Act, the Momnibus Bill, the HEAL for Immigrant Families Act–measures that will protect pregnant and birthing people in all of their decisions so that they can live their best and healthiest lives. But most of all, we need you to not forget us, the people of Texas and other heavily restricted states, who are trying our best to care for ourselves, our families, and our communities amidst efforts to completely control our bodies and lives.”