abortion texas

A Republican Senator got so angry at a 24-year-old intern testifying about abortion that he broke a table with his gavel

Hennessy was testifying against SB 415, a bill that would limit doctors’ ability to perform dilation and evacuation, a common abortion procedure. The Senator reacted disturbingly as she urged lawmakers to “stop playing with women’s health care as if it’s your own political puppet.”

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Texas has passed a humiliating law that requires fetal remains from abortion or miscarriage to be buried or cremated

Under the new rule, hospitals, abortion clinics, and other health care facilities are prohibited from disposing of fetal remains in sanitary landfills. Instead, they must finance cremation or burial of the remains. Texas made this clarification in response to outrage about privacy concerns.

More than a natural disaster: How Harvey and Irma put health care, immigrant communities, the environment, and more at risk

In the past few weeks, severe storms including Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the southwest U.S., Mexico, and island territories including the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. Dozens of people perished, and many more were displaced from their homes. Some people’s lives will never be the same again.

The truth is that horrifying storms like Harvey and Irma — as well as the earthquake that shook Mexico — reveal the intersections of how natural disasters can impact access to health care, the environment, immigrant communities and folks with low incomes. Here’s how these crises are affecting real people, right now.

Natural disasters = heightened fear for undocumented communities

Donald Trump’s xenophobic plan to end DACA makes Hurricane Harvey even more dangerous for some folks. In Houston, the city with the third largest population of undocumented immigrants, Harvey forced many DACA recipients and mixed-status families to face difficult choices. Already anxious over Trump’s threats of deportation, undocumented people may be even more reluctant to seek out shelter and health care in Harvey’s wake, for fear of being turned away at shelters or facing hostile ICE agents.

The most vulnerable people at risk

Natural disasters affect people with low incomes the most. In Texas and Florida, folks with low incomes are more likely to live in flood-prone areas with deficient infrastructure. This means that evacuating and traveling to get medical assistance is much harder — especially for low-income people with disabilities. There’s an assumption that everyone can and should evacuate when natural disasters happen, but that’s not always possible for everyone. Not everyone can get time off of work, access resources to relocate their family, or find a place to stay.

And in Houston, many families with low incomes live near the city’s oil refineries and petrochemical plants — putting them at risk of contamination, leaks, explosions, and other hazards.

A threat against women’s health

We also can’t forget the danger that natural disasters pose for women. Because of the devastation brought on by Harvey and Irma, women looking for preventive or maternal care and women who need abortions might be blocked from getting help. What’s more, these women could be forced to travel in sometimes dangerous conditions to access the care they need, if they can at all.

In addition, Texas lawmakers have passed medically unnecessary restrictions that have led to health centers closing, jeopardizing women’s health even further. In parts of Texas, some abortion providers offered free safe, legal abortion for survivors of Harvey. But elsewhere, a lot of women don’t have this option.

And it gets worse

Folks with chronic conditions — such as diabetes, endometriosis, or chronic kidney disease — are also at risk. During evacuation, their medications can get lost or destroyed. With dialysis centers, pharmacies, and hospitals closed, there are fewer places for people to get care.

The environment suffers, too

Houston is home to America’s petroleum industry. Significant amounts of flooding spell disaster for those living near chemical factories — and the environment.

With dozens of chemical plants flooding and shutting down due to Harvey, more than one million pounds of toxic pollutants have been released into the air. A flooded factory outside of Houston burst into flames twice, leaking toxic chemicals and sending 15 people to the hospital.

And drinking water — which may have come in contact with sewage systems and contaminated with bacteria like E. coli  — is unsafe to drink in some areas of Houston and Florida. Having safe, healthy environments and clean water is a basic human right, as well as an issue of reproductive rights. Mothers, for example, need clean water to prepare infant formula or to breastfeed their babies.

We stand in solidarity with those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma

The impact of these natural disasters is personal. Planned Parenthood is an essential health care provider in many of the communities hit hard by these disasters. Several organizations are coming to the aid of those affected by Harvey and Irma. Here’s how you can help:

Texas

Hit by: Hurricane Harvey

Help NOW:

  • Volunteer with Planned Parenthood supporters in relief efforts. Already, more than 150 Planned Parenthood supporters assembled 4,000 period kits for Harvey victims in Houston.

Mexico

Hit by: Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Katia, earthquake

Help NOW:

Florida

Hit by: Hurricane Irma

Help NOW:

  • Volunteer with Planned Parenthood and other coalition partners to help communities that are most vulnerable. Volunteer Anna Eskamani says, “I volunteered with this effort last night to pass out free food, and the Friday before Irma made landfall, I also volunteered with a homeless outreach group to let the homeless know of their shelter options.”
  • Chip in to the Irma Community Recovery Fund to stand with folks in Florida.

U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean

Hit by: Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma

Help NOW:

List of abortion clinics in Texas:

Austin:

Austin Women’s Health Center

512-443-2888

Planned Parenthood-Austin

512-276-8000

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Dallas:

Planned Parenthood- Dallas

214-373-1868

Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center

214-742-9310 

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Fort Worth:

Whole Woman’s Health of Fort Worth

800-778-2444/ 817-924-6641 

Planned Parenthood-Fort Worth

817-276-8063

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Houston:

Houston Women’s Clinic

713-868-4483

Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center

713-272-6900 

Suburban Women’s Clinic

713-222-9832

Planned Parenthood- Center for Choice and Ambulatory Surgical Center

713-535-2400

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McAllen:

Whole Woman’s Health

956-686-2137

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San Antonio:

Alamo Women’s Reproductive Services

210-816-2307


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For Financial Assistance: 

Nat. Abortion Federation: 1-800-772-9100 

Planned Parenthood: 1-800-230-7526

 Lilith Fund: 1-877-659-4304 ( for areas south of Waco, panhandle, and east and west tx.)

Texas Equal Access Fund: 1-888-854–4852 (dfw, Waco, panhandle, east and west tx.)

West Fund: 915-213-4535 (English) 915-213-4578 (Spanish) (for el paso and surrounding areas)

La Frontera Fund: 956-508-3329. (for the rgv and surrounding areas)

Make sure to ask your clinic if they have any discounts or “hardship” prices if you are unable to afford your procedure.

For Transportation and Lodging:

Fund Texas Choice: 512-900-8908/ 1-844-900-8908

Clinic Access Support Network: 281-947-2276 (Houston only)

The Bridge Collective: 512-524-9822 (Austin area only) 

FOR JUDICIAL BYPASS INFORMATION CALL:

1-866-999-5263

After the Supreme Court struck down harsh and unnecessary clinic regulations across the state of Texas earlier this year, it seemed like safe, straightforward, legal access to abortion was going to be the new normal for people in the Lone Star State. However, on Monday, the Texas State Health Department released an updated edition of a government-issued booklet about abortion that’s got one glaring issue: it reproduces a known, scientifically disproven lie.

The reduced funding in Texas has led to a drop in women receiving services through the program. The Texas program had an average monthly enrollment of about 79,000 last year, according to the state, down from 126,000 before it cut out Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. In the first 18 months after the change — which resulted in a loss of $35 million a year in federal Medicaid funds — thousands of women stopped getting long-acting birth control, and Medicaid pregnancies increased by 27 percent, according to a research paper published last year in The New England Journal of Medicine.

In its draft waiver application, the state said it hoped that by turning Healthy Texas Women back into a Medicaid waiver program, it would improve access and participation. The application noted that Texas had the nation’s highest birthrate, with more than 400,000 births in 2015, more than half of which were paid for by Medicaid. It also noted than more than one-third of pregnancies in the state were reported as unintended, and that Texas had one of the highest teen birthrates in the country.
Why do we still need feminism?

To everyone wondering why those loud, obnoxious feminists are still protesting today: American women have had mostly-equal rights for less than 40 years out of the entire recorded history of the Western world, thanks to loud, obnoxious feminists like the ones marching and protesting in cities across the US as I type this. There is currently a considerable and disturbing push by some conservative/religious groups to revert some of our hard-fought rights and freedoms to what they were back when we were considered property more than people.

To outline some of the injustices American women face, in case you’re wondering what’s wrong with our current set of rights and freedoms:

1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted or raped during her lifetime. Of those, fewer than 1/3 are reported to police.

For every 1000 women who are raped by men, 994 of the men who rape them will never see the inside of a jail cell for that crime.

As of 2014, US police departments had 400,000 untested rape kits sitting around, gathering dust.

31 US states allow a rapist to sue for custody of a child conceived during that rape, and most of those states will not allow the mother to give the child up for adoption unless the rapist father is notified and gives consent. There are currently multiple bills in state senates which would also prevent a woman from aborting a child conceived by rape unless the father gives consent.

It is still an extremely common tactic for a rape trial to focus not on the rapist’s crime, but on the entire sexual history of the female victim, what she was wearing, who she was with, whether or not she had been drinking, and often trying to coerce her into admitting it was consensual all along and she’s just trying to save her reputation by calling it rape.

Rape is the only crime for which arguing that the temptation was too clear and obvious to resist is treated as an admissible and sometimes clearing defense.

1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence. 1 in 4 women will experience *severe* domestic violence.

As of 2014, 38 million US women had experienced domestic partner violence.

Also as of 2014, 4.77 million US women experience domestic partner violence every year.

Between 2001 and 2013, more than twice as many women were murdered by their male romantic partners than there were soldiers killed in our overseas war efforts.

Disabled women are 40% more likely to experience domestic violence than normally-abled women, and it’s more likely to be severe violence.

Marital rape has only been illegal in all 50 states since 1993. Many states still have exceptions to the law, limit the degree of assault it can be considered as, and/or do not prosecute it as seriously as other rape and assault.

Most domestic abuse is never prosecuted.

Abused women lose a collective 8 million days of paid work every year directly as a result of their abuse.

The leading cause of death among pregnant women is being murdered by the father of their child.

The US has the highest maternal mortality in the developed world.

The US is one of two countries in the entire world without paid maternity leave, the other being Papua New Guinea.

Right-to-work states routinely overlook the firing and laying-off of pregnant women because employers abuse the loophole of not explicitly stating that as the reason.

Pregnant women are routinely denied even minor accommodations by employers, such as carrying a water bottle or being allowed to use the restroom more than once every four hours.

Access to contraception is still a hotly-debated subject, and a woman’s employer can legally dictate her reproductive choices based on THEIR religious beliefs.

The most effective contraception methods are an entire month’s wages for a woman earning minimum wage and who has no access to insurance.

Hormonal contraception has significant and sometimes fatal side-effects that were only approved because the testing was done on impoverished minorities, and it was assumed this would be the primary market for hormonal contraception.

Access to abortion is being increasingly restricted in many states, which has seen a corresponding rise in maternal mortality, infant mortality, and suicide by pregnant women.

Women accessing health care reproductive health clinics such as Planned Parenthood frequently face angry and even violent protestors.

Fake “crisis pregnancy centers” are legal in many states. These are not bound by HIPAA laws and often put their duped patients in actual physical danger.

A Texas anti-abortion group with 30,000 members infiltrated pro-choice groups and hatched a scheme to literally kidnap pregnant women by offering them rides to Planned Parenthood and holding them captive until they’d missed their appointment and/or agreed not to abort. None of them got into any legal trouble for suggesting this.

It is legal in some states for the state to keep a brain-dead pregnant woman on life support indefinitely, regardless of her wishes, her family’s wishes, and the stage of pregnancy.

Women are more than twice as likely to die of a heart attack than men are, for the sole reason that their symptoms aren’t taken seriously.

Obese women, especially minorities, frequently go without adequate care or any care at all in all levels of medical care, from the general practitioner’s office to the emergency room.

35% of single mothers live at or below the poverty line, even though most of them have full-time jobs.

68% of the elderly poor are women.

60% of minimum-wage workers are women.

More than 70% of those living at or below the poverty line are women and children.

There is no affordable child care. A single mother working at a full-time minimum wage job is likely to spend half her income on day care. This forces her to either drop out of the workforce entirely and take government benefits, or to take a second job and essentially never see her own child.

The gender wage gap is real. At all levels of employment in all industries, women are frequently paid less than their male coworkers despite having the same experience, the same seniority, and the same education.

Sexism is rampant in many industries, particularly STEM and manual labor. This leads to less participation by women who feel they will receive unfair treatment from employers and coworkers alike.

The number of women earning degrees in computing-based STEM fields has dropped from 37% to 18% since the 1980s. This was largely due to the creation of hierarchies, hiring practices, and social networking in the 1990s that explicitly favoured men.

Female video game developers routinely receive gender-based harassment online, with an entire socio-political movement of angry young men (GamerGate) emerging because a female game developer was given what they perceived to be an unfairly-high rating on her game by a journalist with whom she subsequently entered into a relationship.

Female celebrities routinely deal with dangerous stalkers, with a number of them being assaulted and/or murdered by such, and our cultural reaction is to tell them that’s what they get for being famous. Meanwhile, John Lennon’s killer has been in prison since 1980 and is one of the most widely reviled men in America.

Women online in any capacity routinely receive gender-based harassment, demeaning comments, and unsolicited photos of male genitalia.

Women on dating sites frequently receive so much harassment that they are forced to delete their profiles.

The cultural reaction to nude/topless photos of any woman being stolen and posted online is that she got what she deserved for taking them in the first place. Revenge porn (selling nudes/sex tapes of your ex to shame them and ruin their lives/careers by sending links to their family and coworkers) is legal in most states, with females comprising almost 100% of victims. Very little legal recourse exists for victims.

Filming yourself having sex with a woman without her knowledge and selling the video to a porn site is not only legal, but is a popular category amongst viewers.

Womens’ Studies is the most frequent butt of every joke made about “useless” college degrees.

Career fields that are high-paying, high prestige, and male-dominated lose their prestige and wages as more women enter the field. This is an observable and frequently repeated trend, and it generally only takes 5-10 years from the time when the number of women in the field exceeds 15-20%.

2017 marks the first year EVER that women have exceeded 20% representation in the Senate, and 19% in the House. Only four are minorities, with three newcomers joining Mazie Hirono, who had been only the second minority woman to ever sit on the Senate until the Nov. 2016 election cycle.

The first and only female Native American federal judge was appointed in 2014. The first white female federal judge was appointed in 1933, the first black female federal judge was appointed in 1966, and the first Asian female federal judge was appointed in 2010. Despite these minor gains, 73% of state and federal judges are still male.

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This seems like an exhaustive list, doesn’t it? Imagine how exhausting it is to be living it and having to explain it nearly 100 years after the Suffragettes were cruelly derided in editorials, comments, and assaulted on the streets over wanting something to be done about many of these very same issues.