“There is no alternative to abortion. Plan B is not an alternative to abortion. Adoption is not an alternative to abortion. Baby supplies are not an alternative to abortion.”
Content warning: sexual assault, forced birth, maternal mortality, and child welfare
Pol. adv. paid for by Texas Freedom Network
Op-Ed By Emily Witt
There is no alternative to abortion. Plan B is not an alternative to abortion. Adoption is not an alternative to abortion. Baby supplies are not an alternative to abortion. Dear Mr. Governor, surely you knew this when you signed the most extreme abortion ban in America last September.
Or it might’ve crossed your mind when our state’s trigger ban, which has no exceptions for rape and incest, went into effect after Roe fell? What about during the gubernatorial debate when you said, “The state, through our alternatives to abortion program provides living assistance, baby supplies, all kinds of things that could help them,” when asked if you think Plan B is an alternative to abortion for survivors of sexual assault?
Dear Mr. Governor, we heard your penchant for forced birth when you said the state offers “baby supplies” instead of answering the question.
We weren’t tricked as you spoke of your own daughter’s adoption—suggesting that every person who becomes pregnant—whether or not they were assaulted—should give birth to benefit people like you.
In a state where our foster care system is overwhelmed, understaffed, and under federal investigation, you really still think Texans should choose adoption—hoping the child they give birth to won’t end up in the state’s ill-equipped care, where children have died?
Should Texans be forced to carry pregnancies in a state where we’re ranked 50th in the U.S. for prenatal and maternal care?
Where our state government will let us suffer serious infections, risk death, and force us to carry a non-viable fetus should we need lifesaving medical care that’s designated as an abortion? Where we have one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country—rates that could be even higher since Senate Bill 8 and the overturn of Roe? Where your Republican-controlled House chose to cut back the postpartum Medicaid extension just before they gleefully celebrated the fall of Roe?
Should we even mention how woefully unprepared we are to help Texans prevent these pregnancies after decades of funding cuts?
We’re sure you’d like to blame these stumbles on President Biden, as you did all of your other failures during the debate–but we’re having trouble with the math here. Haven’t you been the governor for longer than he’s been the president?
You’ve been showing Texans your hand for a long time. We know this is about forced birth.
Dear Mr. Governor, before you try to answer these questions, we’d like to ask one more thing of you. Can you imagine you are actually one of the people you were elected to serve? Just for once?
Imagine your body is not your own—not in your state, not in your city, not in your doctor’s office, not in your own home, because your government has used its power to strip you of that freedom. Now, in the same state that has failed to “eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas,”—a promise made by you, Mr. Governor—you are assaulted.
You now have 24 hours to get medical care—exams, possibly talking to the police, and in that time, in the haze of the trauma you’ve just experienced, you have to decide if you want emergency contraception, gain access to it, and physically take it. This is all if you are able to find safety and care within 24 hours of your assault.
Judging from your answer during Friday night’s debate, Mr. Governor, we’re left wondering if you believe survivors are even owed these short 24 hours. What would you do when the 24 hours have passed? When you’re told, “Sorry, your time is up to make your decision for your body and your future. The government gets to decide now.” Can you feel the crushing weight of this reality in your stomach, sitting on top of your chest? Have you ever put yourself here, where you’ve chosen to put your constituents?
No matter what—we all deserve to make our own choice. We won’t ignore your poorly veiled attacks on emergency contraception. We hear you. You came for abortion, and we won’t let you come for Plan B next.
Even with access to Plan B, there is no alternative to abortion. But we do have an alternative to you, Mr. Governor.
The Texas Freedom Network and Texas Rising Action have endorsed Beto O’Rourke for Governor because he represents the progress, care, and empathy that Texans deserve. We know that Texans support access to abortion and the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare. We know that Texas is better than Greg Abbott. And we’re ready to fight for a future where our bodies are our own.
Early voting starts this month on October 24 and lasts until November 4. Election Day is November 8. Register by October 11 and vote for change. Vote for a new Mr. Governor.