Babe Monthly: What’s happening in Texas and what we can do about it

By Emily Park

At Catcall, we’re all about turning catcalling on its head and calling out the patriarchy with stories that inspire the shes, theys, and gays and highlight the work that needs to be done to dismantle systemic inequalities. 

We put together Babe Monthly to highlight the major headlines, stories, and stats—good and bad—in feminist news that have surfaced over the last month. The mission of this monthly column is to highlight the challenges we face in the fight for women’s, LGBTQIA+, and BIPOC rights, while uplifting and empowering our readers with the work that’s being done—and the amazing people who are doing that work. 

These last couple of weeks have been some of the most challenging weeks in the reproductive rights movement we have experienced in a long time. While we usually spend a couple of hours scouring headlines for the best feminist news that has come up in the last month, it’s hard to focus on anything but the abortion ban that went into effect in Texas on Sept. 1.

Banning abortions from taking place around six weeks after conception—before many individuals even know they are pregnant—the Texas law doesn’t include any exemptions for cases of rape or incest. The law is the strictest abortion ban to go into effect in the United States.

Other states have attempted to enact “heartbeat” bills like the Texas legislation that prevents abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, and failed. A key reason the Texas bill passed was that instead of leaving the responsibility of enforcing the ban to law enforcement, the responsibility is given to private citizens to launch civil suits against abortion providers. This paves the way for other states to do the same, threatening access to safe abortions across the United States.

The Texas law carries astronomically worrying implications for the future of reproductive health care. It’s tiresome. It feels like defeat. But it’s not over yet. 

Since the law in Texas has gone into effect there have been multiple challenges, and the Supreme Court will hear a case that directly challenges Roe v. Wade during their next term, which starts in October.

On Sept. 2, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the House will take up a bill aimed at preventing states from enacting anti-abortion regulations. The bill has a decent chance of passing the House, but is unlikely to pass in the Senate. Regardless, connect with your House and Senate representatives to advocate for the bill.

Meanwhile on Sept. 9, the US Justice Department launched a lawsuit against the Texas abortion law, arguing that it goes against the Constitution. The Justice Department is asking for permanent injunction from a federal court in the Western District of Texas, but the lawsuit is anticipated to make its way to the Supreme Court.

Until those attempts to squash the legislation are settled, reproductive rights activists in Texas are left scrambling. Here are some organizations on the ground in Texas that need support:

  • ACLU of Texas works to ensure that everyone in our great state can make the best decision for themselves and for their family about when and whether to have a child, without undue influence by politicians and special interest groups.
  • Avow works to secure unrestricted abortion access for every Texan. Avow Foundation for Abortion Access is a c3 non-profit that works to educate Texans on the importance of abortion access. Avow PAC is a political action committee that works to elect champions for abortion access.
  • The Bridge Collectives skilled volunteers provide transportation and accommodation for people seeking abortions and deliver reproductive health resources in the Central Texas area.
  • Buckle Bunnie Club came to be in April of 2020, when Texas temporarily banned abortions at the beginning of COVID-19. A group of young queer folks who were passionate about Reproductive Justice knew that we had the power to mobilize across Texas and help people get the abortions they needed. 
  • Clinic Access Support Network mobilizes the power of volunteers to provide transportation, meal stipends, accommodations, childcare assistance, and compassionate care to people seeking abortion services in Houston.
  • Frontera Fund aims to make abortion accessible in the Rio Grande Valley by providing financial and practical support regardless of immigration status, gender identity, ability, sexual orientation, race, class, age, or religious affiliation and to build grassroots organizing power at intersecting issues across our region to shift the culture of shame and stigma.
  • Fund Texas Choice is a non-profit organization that pays for Texans’ travel to abortion clinics. The organization formed in response to the passage of Texas House Bill 2, which closed nearly 75% of over 40 Texan clinics in 2013 and 2014. 
  • Jane’s Due Process helps young people in Texas navigate parental consent laws and confidentially access abortion and birth control. The organization provide free legal support, 1-on-1 case management, and stigma-free information on sexual and reproductive health. 
  • Lilith Fund provides financial assistance and emotional support while building community spaces for people who need abortions in Texas—unapologetically, with compassion and conviction. Through organizing and movement-building, the organization fosters a positive culture around abortion, strengthen people power, and fight for reproductive justice in and with our communities. 
  • Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas creates healthier communities by providing comprehensive reproductive and related healthcare services, delivering science-based education programs, and serving as a strong advocate for reproductive justice in Texas.
  • The Afiya Center (TAC) was established in response to the increasing disparities between HIV incidences worldwide and the extraordinary prevalence of HIV among Black womxn and girls in Texas. TAC is unique in that it is the only Reproductive Justice (RJ) organization in North Texas founded and directed by Black womxn. Texas Equal Action Fund provides funding to low-income people in the northern region of Texas who are seeking abortion and cannot afford it, while simultaneously working to end barriers to abortion access through community education and shifting the current culture toward reproductive justice. 

There’s also a lot to be done to protect and strengthen reproductive rights across the United States, as the situation in Texas rips open wide concerns about the future of abortion access. Here are a few things you can do to continually support access to safe abortions:

Speak up and march.

There will be women’s marches across the country on Oct. 2 to defend reproductive rights. Check out the Women’s March Network to keep up with local and national activism and education events. The mission of Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change. 

Become an abortion clinic escort

Accompany women seeking reproductive care on the walk from their transportation to the clinic, during which it’s likely the women will encounter anti-abortion protesters who attempt to shame or dissuade them from going through with the procedure. Check out this great article from The Cut that dives into how to become a clinic escort.

Talk to local, state, and national representatives

Encourage them support abortion, contraceptive, and reproductive care access in your city and state. You can connect with your representatives through applications like Resistbot or You Lobby.

Elect and campaign for political candidates

Ones that advocate for abortion, contraceptive and reproductive care access. You can learn more about where representatives and candidates stand on reproductive issues through Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List.

Support access to free contraception and emergency contraception. 

  • Organizations like Power to Decide work to ensure that all young people—no matter who they are, where they live, or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. They do this by increasing information, access, and opportunity. 
  • The Pill Club offers free access to emergency contraception, as well as access to contraception through mail subscription. 
  • Aid Access helps patients get contraception through the mail as well. 
  • Meanwhile, Women Help Women launched SASS (Self-Managed Abortion; Safe and Supported) to support people in the United States who choose to have an abortion with pills outside of the healthcare system. SASS provides information and support around self-managed abortion to reduce the use of unsafe abortion methods and to ensure that self-managed abortions are medically and legally as safe as possible. SASS coordinates its activities with a broad network of allies in the US to build the movement to demystify, demedicalize, decriminalize, and destigmatize abortion with pills, by raising the visibility of the safety and prevalence of self-managed abortion.

Volunteer for and support organizations that advocate for reproductive rights and provide reproductive resources across the country. 

  • Center for Reproductive Rights is a global human rights organization of lawyers and advocates who ensure reproductive rights are protected in law as fundamental human rights for the dignity, equality, health, and well-being of every person.
  • If/When/How transforms the law and policy landscape through advocacy, support, and organizing so all people have the power to determine if, when, and how to define, create, and sustain families with dignity and to actualize sexual and reproductive wellbeing on their own terms.
  • NARAL Pro-Choice America organizes and mobilizes to protect that freedom by fighting for access to abortion care, birth control, paid parental leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination.
  • National Abortion Federation aims to unite, represent, serve, and support abortion providers in delivering patient-centered, evidence-based care.
  • Planned Parenthood aims to to ensure all people have access to the care and resources they need to make informed decisions about their bodies, their lives, and their futures.
  • Whole Woman’s Health Alliance – Whole Woman’s Health Alliance is a non-profit organization committed to providing holistic reproductive care for patients, including abortion care and advocacy to eradicate abortion stigma,

Emily Park is a Kansas City-based journalist, passionate about giving a voice to those who don’t always have one. From news to features to business-to-business reporting, she’s done it all. (Features are her favorite though.) In her free time you can find Emily playing games, reading, streaming, or hanging out with her furry babies, Sutton the dog and Salem the cat.

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