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Abortion rights activists rally to help Texas women get access out-of-state
Anna Rupani, co-executive director of Fund Texas Choice, talks with Rachel Maddow about the threat to women's right to an abortion posed by the new Texas anti-abortion law, and the outpouring of support to her organization that helps women access their right to have an abortion beyond the reach of Texas restrictions.
MSNBC, September 2, 2021
Two Frontline Workers on Day One of Texas’s New Abortion Ban
Extreme abortion restrictions took effect in Texas on September 1, after the Supreme Court declined to block S.B. 8, the state law that bans abortions as early as six weeks and gives private citizens the ability to enforce the law by suing abortion providers or people who helped someone obtain one. The New Republic spoke with two people directly and immediately impacted by S.B. 8 about the chaotic first day of its implementation. Sara, who asked that we use only her first name for privacy and security reasons, is a coordinator with Fund Texas Choice, a group that helps abortion-seekers with travel costs. Ghazaleh Moayedi is an ob-gyn who has provided abortion and birth care in Texas since 2004. Both of them warned that what is happening in Texas is a proving ground for abortion restrictions around the country.
The New Republic, September 2, 2021
“It’s Just Unbelievably Cruel”: Texas’s New Abortion Law Is Already Impacting People
Hours after Texas’s latest and most draconian abortion law went into effect, the few clinics left in the state opened their doors on Wednesday under a drastically different reality in which patients face a whole new set of challenges.
“It's hard enough yesterday for a person living in rural Texas to make it to one of the very few clinics we have serving our state,” Cristina Parker with the Lilith Fund told BuzzFeed News. “It creates all these hurdles that people have to jump over just to access basic, essential time-sensitive healthcare. It's just unbelievably cruel.”
Buzzfeed News, September 1, 2021
In the News
Legal Dangers Loom Large for Texas Abortion Care
“My staff and physicians are being forced to comply with a remarkably cruel law,” says Amy Hagstrom Miller. “They must enforce it even though they fundamentally disagree with it."
The founder and president of Whole Woman’s Health is talking about the latest attempt by Texas lawmakers to put her and other abortion care providers out of business. Hagstrom Miller and fellow plaintiffs have fought back and won before, notably in a landmark 2016 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, but things have changed. Barring a court order, Senate Bill 8 will as of Sept. 1 ban abortion care after embryonic cardiac activity is detectable via transvaginal ultrasound, which is typically about six weeks into a pregnancy.
Austin Chronicle, August 23, 2021
'Insidious,' 'draconian,' 'cruel': New Texas abortion law empowers vigilantism, experts say
For Anna Rupani, harassment comes with the job.
As the co-executive director at Fund Texas Choice — a practical-support abortion fund in Texas that helps women travel to places, both in and out of the state, where they can receive abortion care — she’s been the target of protests, violent threats, online bullying and terrifying mail.
But should a novel law in her state go into effect Sept. 1, those who oppose her work will be able to express themselves through the courts — with the likely practical effect of suing her fund and others like it into oblivion.
NBC News, July 24, 2021
How To Support Abortion Rights In Texas Today
A new Texas law could have devastating consequences for abortion access across the state. The law, which is slated to go into effect on Sept. 1, would ban the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy. And unlike other states’ so-called “heartbeat bills,” this particular law enables citizens — even those outside Texas — to sue clinics, providers, or anyone else who helps a patient seeking abortion care. The law also prevents state officials from enforcing the ban, in order to make it more difficult for abortion advocates to block the law in court. Instead, Texas is incentivizing private citizens to enforce the law by giving them at least $10,000 if they successfully sue someone who’s helped a patient obtain an abortion.
Bustle, July 22, 2021
The Power of the State and the Christian Patriarch Fully Align in Texas
If you are struggling to pay for an abortion, and you are in Texas, you are likely relying on an abortion fund, like the Texas Equal Access Fund or Lilith Fund. Those heading to the website of Fund Texas Choice now see this message: “Abortion is still legal in Texas!” Republican lawmakers have done an effective job in convincing the public that it’s not. In May, Republican lawmakers there effectively banned the procedure by prohibiting it before some people even know they are pregnant. They did so, in a provision that gained national attention last week, by essentially deputizing anyone who wishes to enforce the law against anyone in Texas.
The New Republic, July 13, 2021
Abortion access in El Paso goes from limited to nonexistent
The taupe building that was formerly Hill Top Women’s Reproductive Clinic now has an empty parking lot and sprawling real estate banners indicating the space is for sale.
A notice on El Paso Planned Parenthood’s website reads, “currently due to COVID-19, we are not providing abortion services at this location.” Spokesperson Sarah Wheat said there’s no telling when, or if, they will be able to provide abortion care in El Paso again.
That means there are currently no abortion providers in El Paso.
El Paso Matters, May 26, 2021
Texas Just Effectively Banned Abortions. Rights Groups Plan to Fight Back.
On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott posted on Twitter a video of himself sitting at a desk with dozens of lawmakers huddled around him, a sheaf of papers on the tabletop. He thanked the audience, insisted that God "endowed us with the right to life" and then got down to business.
Abbott lamented that “millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion,” explaining that Texas lawmakers had fought to preserve life. When he signed Senate Bill 8 into law, the state legislators around him broke out in applause.
With the stroke of his pen, SB 8 became one of the harshest anti-abortion laws on the books across the nation. It will go into effect on Sept. 1, barring the inevitable court battles.
Dallas Observer, May 19, 2021
As the Pandemic Raged, Abortion Access Nearly Flickered Out
The door of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbus was locked when Larada Lee arrived for the first of two appointments she needed to get an abortion under Ohio state law. About a dozen anti-choice protesters had gathered outside, without masks, calling Lee a baby killer as she approached the door. Lee felt nauseated from her pregnancy, at times unable to keep down even water. Her bones ached. She was missing her classes at Ohio State University. The fatal shootings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor in recent weeks were weighing her down with a sense of hopelessness. Meanwhile, Ohio officials had sparked confusion by ordering a halt to “nonessential” abortions. “Being Black in the middle of trying to seek an abortion in the middle of a pandemic—it was really difficult to navigate all of those feelings while also trying to focus on ’I hope that they don’t take this away from us,’” Lee said in a recent interview with The Nation, recalling her experience back in March and April. The day before, when she went to an urgent care clinic wearing her hijab, the white male doctor had seemed to belittle her, calling her brave for coming out in a pandemic just to get a pregnancy test. “You could tell that they just were being, like, really short because it wasn’t at the forefront of their concerns—which, it was at the forefront of mine, because I’m pregnant in the middle of a pandemic,” Lee said.
The Nation, February 23, 2021
Legislators Take Direct Aim at Austin’s Support for Abortion
A pair of bills by state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels (Senate Bill 650) and Rep. Candy Noble, R-Allen, (House Bill 1173) would prohibit local governments from funding any logistical support for abortion, a direct shot at Austin.
In a historic move, the City Council invested $150,000 in logistical support for abortion access in 2019, said to be the first effort of its kind by any city in the nation. Last year, they infused that investment, meant to help low-income women overcome the myriad barriers they face seeking abortion care, with another $250,000 reallocated from the Austin Police Department budget. The bold provision of direct financial support pushed back against the wave of local anti-choice ordinances passed by small towns across Texas and the constant barrage of attacks on abortion rights from the Legislature.
The Austin Chronicle, February 12, 2021
Donate to an Abortion Fund Right Now
The Senate just confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. It is just one month after she was nominated by Donald Trump. The presidential election is in one week.
By now, you’ve likely heard Democrats and reproductive-rights activists sound the alarm on Barrett’s views on abortion. Her record certainly indicates that Roe v. Wade could be imperiled with her confirmation to the court: She is supported by anti-choice fundraising organization the Susan B. Anthony List; she has given talks to multiple right-to-life groups at Notre Dame; she has signed a letter calling Roe “barbaric.” (During her confirmation hearing, she refused to comment directly on the ruling, demurring, “I can’t express views on cases. I can’t pre-commit.”)
The Cut, October 26, 2020
The Struggle for Abortion Access During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Heather* is a 30-year-old single mom living in Texas. She was just laid off from her full-time job as a result of Covid-19. She has no health insurance, no additional source of income, and she has no idea how she’s going to continue to pay her bills or provide for her two sons.
She’s also six weeks pregnant and unable to get the abortion she wants and needs.
“A pregnancy, for me, has the potential of being high-risk,” Heather tells Marie Claire. “I have a prolapsed uterus, cervix, and bladder. I would not be able to work full-time, and could be bedridden for a majority of my pregnancy. And I just do not want to have a child right now. Beyond all of the logical reasoning against continuing a pregnancy, I just don’t want to be pregnant.”
Marie Claire, April 8, 2020
As Texas Cracks Down On Abortion, Austin Votes To Help Women Defray Costs
Austin is about to become the nation’s first city to fund groups that help women seeking abortions pay for related logistical costs, such as a babysitter, a hotel room or transportation.
The move pushes back against a Texas law that took effect Sept. 1. The state law bans local governments from giving money to organizations that provide abortions — even if that money doesn’t pay for the procedure.
Last week, the Austin City Council approved the related line item in the city’s latest budget. Starting Oct. 1, it sets aside $150,000 to be passed along to nonprofits that provide “logistical support services” for low-income women in the city seeking an abortion.
NPR, September 17, 2019
For some Texans, nearest abortion clinic is 250 miles away
After seven states passed sweeping abortion bans this year, speculation soon arose about the potentially onerous travel burdens the laws could someday impose on women seeking to end unwanted pregnancies.
Across a huge swath of West Texas and the Panhandle, there’s no need for speculation. The nearest abortion clinics are more than 250 miles away, despite the region having several midsize cities and a population of more than 1 million people.
“I’ve been telling folks, if you want to see the future, we’ve been living that since 2012,” said Denise Rodriguez of the Dallas-based Texas Equal Access Fund, which helps women across much of the state pay for abortions they could not otherwise afford.
Faced with drives of four hours or more to Fort Worth, Dallas, El Paso or out-of-state clinics, many women need at least two days to obtain an abortion — a situation that advocates say exacerbates the challenges of arranging child care, taking time off work and finding lodging. Some end up sleeping in their cars.
AP, September 9, 2019
Austin City Council Members Propose Budget Amendment to Fund Abortion Logistics
The Texas Legislature passed a law earlier this year banning cities from funding Planned Parenthood and affiliated entities, but some members of the Austin City Council are trying to find a way around the legislation.
“Today we are announcing that Austin is fighting back on behalf of our constituents,” One council member, Greg Casar, told the cameras at a press conference on Monday. “These far right-wing, anti-abortion extremists have created barrier after barrier trying to make abortion impossible to access for our constituents, and we refuse to let that happen.”
The Texan, August 20, 2019
How an Abortion Transportation Service Makes Choice Possible for Hundreds of Women
A slew of state-level laws limiting access to reproductive health care have prompted devastating headlines in recent weeks. It’s 2019, and yet the concept of reproductive freedom is under attack. At the same time, organizations large and small have stepped forward with a counter punch. Together, they form a network with a unified agenda: To make sure everyone—no matter location, socio-economic status, race, or gender identity—can take ownership of their own reproductive health.
Well and Good, June 4, 2019
“People’s Lawsuit” Challenges Texas Abortion Restrictions
Imagine if nearly all of Texas' onerous and most restrictive abortion laws over the past two decades were struck down in one fell swoop. That's what abortion providers and funding groups are hoping to achieve with their latest suit, Whole Woman's Health Alliance v. Paxton, a sweeping challenge to dozens of the state's anti-choice laws.
Dubbed the "People's Lawsuit" by abortion rights advocates, the ambitious action filed in June argues that those burdensome laws, including the 24-hour pre-procedure sonogram and a rule that forces doctors to provide state-mandated misinformation about abortion, can now be undone in light of the 2016 Supreme Court Hellerstedt decision ("Groups File Expansive Suit to Challenge Dozens of Abortion Restrictions," June 14, 2018) that overturned Texas' House Bill 2.
The Austin Chronicle, January 11, 2019
Lawsuit Challenges Texas Abortion Laws That Target Women of Color
A coalition of reproductive rights advocates are working on what they call a “big fix” to Texas’ restrictive abortion laws.
Yesterday (June 14), a coalition of doctors and reproductive rights organizations filed a lawsuit challenging a wide range of the state’s abortion laws. Dozens of existing, restrictive policies were targeted. Per Rewire.News:
The lawsuit identified five categories of laws being challenged, including targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) laws, restrictions on medication abortion and telemedicine abortion; requirements that patients receive state-mandated forced counseling; parental involvement requirements that restrict minors’ access to abortion services; and laws that criminalize abortion providers.
Nan Little Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Texas Equal Access Fund, said in a statement that these laws create a burdensome regulatory regime for providers and uncertainty for people seeking abortion care.
Color Lines, June 15, 2018
With More Texans Traveling for Abortions, Meet the Woman Who Gets Them There
Natalie St. Clair is a travel agent of sorts, and lately she’s been busier than ever. Every month, the 23-year-old Austinite makes arrangements for about 30 Texans who must travel to get an abortion. The sole employee of the 2-year-old nonprofit Fund Texas Choice, she books flights and hotels, provides gas money, arranges local transportation and lends a compassionate ear to women in need.
Because of anti-abortion laws passed in Texas and neighboring states, St. Clair is now guiding many Texans to clinics in New Mexico, which hasn’t passed an abortion restriction in 15 years. About 10 of her clients go there each month — either because they live closer to one of New Mexico’s five clinics, or because they need an abortion after 20 weeks.
Texas Observer, June 9, 2016
‘I’m an abortion travel agent’ and other tales from Texas’ new desert
Austin, Texas CNN — Daytime turns to dusk as Natalie St. Clair’s phone lights up with text messages. They come from clients across the vast Lone Star State.
One needs a bus from Texarkana to Shreveport, Louisiana. Another traveling from Corpus Christi to San Antonio has to find a hotel room. A third must get to Fort Worth from a small town in the western part of the state. A fourth reaches out from Lubbock to say she missed her appointment in Dallas.
To the stranger at a party who asks what she does, St. Clair keeps her answer vague: “Just feminist stuff.” But the truth is blunt, bold and a sign of the times: “I’m an abortion travel agent.”
CNN, March 2, 2016
Activists Help Pay for Patients’ Travel to Shrinking Number of Abortion Clinics
AUSTIN, Tex. — The young woman lived in Dallas, 650 miles from Albuquerque, but that was where she would have to go for an abortion, she was told. New state regulations had forced several of Dallas’s six abortion clinics to close, creating weekslong waiting lists. By the time the woman could get in, she would be up against the Texas ban on abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation.
But she could not afford the trip to New Mexico.
So it was that she had left a phone message with a hotline in Austin and, on a recent evening, heard back from Lenzi Sheible, the 20-year-old founder of a fund to help low-income women pay the unexpected costs of traveling for abortions in Texas — or to states beyond. They spoke four times that night as the woman wavered about going to Albuquerque alone.
New York Times, November 27, 2014