Abortion is love. Abortion is moral. Abortion is essential. Abortion is healing. Abortion is health care. Abortion is compassion. Abortion is caring. Abortion is normal. Abortion is security. Abortion is safety. Abortion is selfless. Abortion is liberty and justice. Abortion is freedom.
And yet, here we are … reeling from a Texas law known as S.B. 8 that effectively undermines Roe v. Wade’s protections for folks in Texas and threatens our collective health and well-being.
There is no mincing words in this moment. This law is hateful and cruel. It restricts access to abortion care after six weeks of pregnancy and entices private citizens to sue abortion providers and any individual who helps someone get the care they need by offering a $10,000 bounty, minimum, should they win their case in court.
This law hurts. And its goal is clear – to prevent people from accessing abortion in the state of Texas and to try and intimidate providers from providing this essential health care to their patients.
And make no mistake. This law will fall hardest on those already experiencing the most barriers to care. Should most or all legal abortion care in Texas shut down, the average one-way driving distance to an abortion clinic would increase from 12 miles to 248 miles. Many people would be forced to travel to Louisiana, a state considered very hostile to abortion rights, and Oklahoma, a state considered hostile to abortion rights. Both of these neighboring states have burdensome, medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion care, including in Louisiana a two-visit requirements and in Oklahoma a 72-hour waiting period that starts after patient counseling on the phone. And because they are hostile to abortion, both of these states have limited capacity to absorb the influx of new patients, which will force people to travel even further for the care they need or, in reality, push this essential care entirely out of reach.
Here is the bottom line: this law, compounded with all of the other unnecessary restrictions on abortion, is going to make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for those facing various forms of oppression whether because of race, gender identity, financial resources, young age, disability, or immigration status to get the care they need.
And as if it couldn’t get any worse… it did. In a stunning decision, the Supreme Court declined to intervene and allowed this blatantly unconstitutional provision to go into effect. And this inaction means that S.B. 8 will likely become a playbook for other states who want to ban abortion care. We have already heard that anti-abortion politicians in Florida, Ohio, South Dakota, and Indiana intend to follow in Texas’ footsteps.
This law, and the ones likely to follow across the country, are intended to divide us. Anti-abortion extremists want states to pass laws like S.B. 8 because it creates fear and keeps us from helping each other and the people we love who need abortion care.
It’s what they want – but we won’t back down.
We must act now to help our colleagues, friends, and family in Texas and to prevent further restrictions on access to abortion. Here is what you need to know and what you can do right now.
1. Do what you can for folks on the ground. Abortion funds, abortion providers, and the communities they serve need us. Let’s show up for them.
Donate to Texas abortion funds who are providing resources and financial assistance to help people accessing abortion.
Support independent abortion providers in Texas and in surrounding states who are doing everything they can to get people the care they need.
Donate to advocates on the ground who have been raising the alarm about this law for months and telling all of us the time is now to invest in state and local efforts to stop abortion restrictions.
2. Share resources that are helpful and medically and scientifically accurate. Do not spread misinformation.
Reliable health resources:
- Society of Family Planning
- Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health
- Gynuity Health Projects
- Ibis Reproductive Health
- If you want to have compassionate, evidence-based conversations about abortion, check out our new reporter resource.
Information about where to find abortion care:
- M+A Hotline, the miscarriage and abortion hotline can be reached by phone or text and will connect you with physicians who can provide expert advice on self-managing your miscarriage or abortion.
- Women Help Women and SASS (Self-Managed Abortion; Safe and Supported)
Information about self-managed abortion:
- AMA, Oppose the Criminalization of Self-Induced Abortion, Resolution
- ACOG, Oppose Criminalization of Individuals During Pregnancy and the Post Partum Period, Policy Statement
- ACOG, Decriminalization of Self-Induced Abortion, Position Statement
- The World Health Organization has put misoprostol on the list of essential medicines and created a protocol for how people can manage their abortion with misoprostol without direct provider supervision
- If/When/How’s Repro Legal Helpline provides legal information, legal advice, legal representation and/or local attorney referrals to people who have questions about the law and self-managed abortion.
- Understanding and Advocating for Self-Managed Abortion, ReproAction.
- Medication Abortion & Self-Managed Abortion, Abortion On Our Own Terms
- Self-Managed Medication Abortion: Expanding the Available Options for U.S. Abortion Care, Guttmacher Institute
- Self-Managed Abortion: What Healthcare Workers Need to Know, Bixby Center, UCSF
- Fact Sheet: Self-Managed Abortion, Stop Criminalizing Self-Managed Abortion
- Open Letter – Medication Abortion Access Should be Based on Science Not Politics
- We Testify SMA Comics
- Meet the 21-year-old helping to fund abortions in Texas, Prism
- Ordinary Equality podcast, nonbinary storyteller with We Testify
- SMA Podcast, storyteller with We Testify
- VIDEO: Get the Basics About Self-Managed Abortion – Rewire News Group
- Abortion is an Essential Service Comic in The Nib by Caitlin Blunnie, storyteller with We Testify
3. Call your Member of Congress and tell them to support the Women’s Health Protection Act! It can’t wait.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently announced that the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) will be voted on in the House of Representatives the week of September 20, 2021. If signed into law, this bill would provide the tools advocates need to undo the abortion ban in Texas and would help stop other states from enacting similar bans.
- Send a message to your Member of Congress! Urge them to support WHPA.
- Sign our petition to show your support for WHPA and send a message to Texas politicians and other anti-abortion extremists around the country that we won’t let them violate our health, dignity, and autonomy by eliminating access to abortion.
Thank you for all you are doing to stand with us, and our colleagues, friends, family, and communities in Texas.
MiQuel Davies, Assistant Director of Public Policy