Texas Advocates and Health Care Providers Condemn Six-week Abortion Ban

Today’s new law harms Texans needing essential health care and fuels anti-abortion stigma

For Immediate Release
Sept. 1, 2021

AUSTIN — Today, Texas’ six-week abortion ban, SB8, takes effect. In addition to banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, this law allows anyone—including anti-abortion vigilantes—to sue abortion providers and anyone who helps a person obtain an abortion. This ban is the latest in a series of severe restrictions on abortion access in the state, including existing laws that force providers to share false information about abortion with their patients, harsh constraints on public funding of abortion, and unnecessary regulations on abortion providers that have forced many clinics to shut down. 

In response to today’s implementation of SB8, Texas advocates and health care experts and providers have released the following statements:

Carisa Lopez, Political Director of Texas Freedom Network, said: “It’s a dark day in Texas. Politicians are supposed to put aside partisan differences for the common good, but Abbott has led Texas politicians into an extreme path for his personal gain. We know abortion is healthcare and education is power. It’s more important than ever for us to openly talk about abortion and the need to keep medical decisions between a person and their doctor. We want our government to guarantee access to a full range of reproductive care, and that includes abortion care. We’ll continue to educate people about their access to medical care and will advocate for the reversal of this hateful law.”

Marsha Jones, Executive Director of The Afiya Center, said: “The hypocrisy of Texas SB8 passing is that it was passed on the premise of saving or valuing life by a majority white men led legislative body that places no value on life. This is evident in the continued failure to provide the most vulnerable with healthcare, failing to be proactive in the face of natural disasters causing the lives of many and knowingly putting our children’s lives on the line by sending them unprotected into schools as we face this ever-changing pandemic. As with the many harmful restrictions that Texas politicians have placed on its constituency​, it will be those who continue to carry the disproportionate burdens of reproductive oppression, Black womxn, who will most expeditiously experience the impact of this most heinous law. ​Reproductive oppression of Black womxn’s bodies is rooted in this state and this law is a continuation of the history of the commodification, with the denial of bodily autonomy, of Black womxn bodies. The impact of this law is multilayered for Black women, and it heavily impedes on our ability to live and thrive. As stated by Audre Lorde, Black women cannot fight single issued fights because Black women do not have the luxury of living single issued lives.”

Aimee Arrambide, Executive Director of Avow, said: “Resiliency is powerful to possess in the face of disasters we can’t control, but Texans are tired of having to be resilient in the face of disasters the state manufactures. SB 8 is about succumbing to the wishes of an extreme anti-abortion lobby at the expense of Texans’ access to abortion and their wellbeing. SB 8 will not only curb access to abortion overnight, it will very likely decimate the already vulnerable care infrastructure that is in place, but most importantly, it will leave Texans who need access to compassionate care and support services scared to reach out for help, and advocates afraid to help them. SB 8’s clever strategy and legal maneuvering does not change the fact that banning abortion at six weeks is unconstitutional and creating this civil cause of action opens up the doors to an abuse of the justice system, and sets a dangerous precedent for abortion rights nationwide.”

Anna Rupani, Co-Executive Director of Fund Texas Choice, said: “Texas politicians’ insistence on policing individuals’ reproductive choices assumes that we are not deserving or able to make our own choices over our body. This law not only forces Texans to flee the state to access care, but it does it so in a way that Texans aren’t even aware they need to access services before they can’t. Therefore, Texans are going to be forced to flee the state; but for those most vulnerable, who cannot travel, they will be forced to carry their pregnancy to term. That is not fair or just. But we are STILL committed to our mission of helping pregnant Texans get to the care they need and will continue to push forward, even in the face of the worst abortion ban this nation has ever seen. Our fight is not over because we know that getting an abortion is a radical act of self-care and we will continue to help Texans get to the care they need.”

Veronika Granado, Jane’s Due Process Advocacy Fellow, said: “SB8 going into effect is extremely harmful to Texans. With the fear of getting COVID and the unnecessary amount of barriers it takes to get an abortion, the 6-week ban will further harm people who are seeking an abortion by adding another element of fear. The only purpose of this law is to instill fear into those people who want and need to get an abortion and to try and get them to change their minds about getting one. This is another way of restricting access to those who need an abortion, and another component of control. It is extremely upsetting and disappointing that this ban is going into effect. SB 8 is an extra tactic of restricting access and continues to make abortion inaccessible in Texas.”

Neesha Davé, Deputy Director of Lilith Fund, said: “This is a dark day for Texans. Our hearts break for the people who woke up this morning unable to access the essential, time-sensitive healthcare they need. The Texans who will be most harmed by this ban are low-income people of color— the majority of whom are parents caring for their children. We all deserve better. Abortion funds are here to affirm that no matter what barriers you are facing, you have the right to access abortion and we will keep fighting for you.”

Nancy Cárdenas Peña, Texas State Policy and Advocacy Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, said: “Texas has declared open season on harassment with a $10,000 bounty that encourages neighbors, friends, and family members to pry into each other’s most intimate lives. It wasn’t enough for extremist politicians to ban insurance coverage for abortion and add layers of baseless restrictions. Texans are now facing a radical 6 week ban on abortion care that, like all other abortion restrictions, will impact our im/migrant communities the most. The checkpoints set up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that surround the southern border region of Texas prevent people without documentation from crossing to another state to seek abortion care. Thanks to SB 8, our undocumented communities will lose what little access they had to safe abortion care, and anyone who helps a Texan obtain care – from physicians to nurses to friends and family who offer childcare or a ride to the clinic – is now subject to being investigated, targeted, and sued for providing support.”

Diana Gómez, Advocacy Manager of Progress Texas, said: “When Texans decide to have an abortion, they should be able to do so safely and with dignity – and without fear of legal retribution. This abortion ban is cruel, unconstitutional and an affront to our legal system. At a time when Texans are suffering from multiple crises, including a global pandemic, Governor Abbott and anti-abortion legislators have prioritized extreme measures to push abortion care out of reach. All Texans deserve control over our own bodies and access to essential health care, which includes abortion. SB 8 is the most extreme abortion ban in the country, but regardless of whatever draconian anti-abortion laws are passed in our state, abortions will still happen. Abortion supporters are the majority. We are everywhere, and will not be silenced.” 

Kamyon Conner, Executive Director of Texas Equal Access Fund, said: “In the last decade, the Texas legislature has passed many racist, classist, and dangerous abortion restrictions that have made it very difficult to access care. SB 8 essentially bans abortions and codifies intimidation, which will have the most impact on communities that already struggle to access health care. Anti-abortion politicians are empowering extremists to use lawsuits to harass and intimidate anyone who helps someone get an abortion. Abortions help people plan their futures and thrive. Everyone should be able to get abortion care when they need it—without stigma or harassment. These extremists are relentless, but we’re ready to fight so that we can continue helping each other, the way abortion funds always have.”

Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, OB/GYN and abortion provider, said: “As a mom, a physician, and a Texan, I am deeply concerned for the people I care for and for my community. Every person in this country has the human right to control their reproduction, and that includes us in Texas. This law deprives us of our basic humanity – the ability to make our own healthcare decisions. This law intends to intimidate and harass my colleagues and me, simply for doing what we were trained to do: provide high quality, evidence-based healthcare to our fellow Texans. This law will have a devastating effect on the health and wellbeing of every pregnant person in this state.”

Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, said “As Senate Bill 8 nearly closes down abortion care today, our ability to provide the best health care for our patients has been turned over to self-appointed vigilantes and whoever holds the power at any moment. Anti-abortion politicians in Texas can no longer hide behind the guise of health or safety — this is an abortion ban, plain and simple. It robs Texans of their ability to make decisions about their health and their futures. We have been here before, and we’ll continue serving our patients however we legally can and fighting for their right to safe, compassionate abortion care.

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