Texas draconian bill wasn’t enough for extremists – now they’re coming for abortion pills too
Everyone deserves access to reproductive health care on their own terms, including all safe methods of abortion care. Whether a person prefers to have an abortion in a care facility, at home or wherever they feel most comfortable, we must fight to ensure that they not only have the right to seek care, but access to the exercise of this right in complete autonomy. determination and dignity.
Our Latina / x communities have used herbal teas and traditional remedies to end pregnancies for hundreds of years. It is not surprising that the use of misoprostol, one of the drugs used today for self-administered abortion, was discovered as a reliable option in the 1980s by a network of women in Brazil, where the abortion carries long prison sentences.
Since then, we’ve seen incredible gains with drugs that empower people to manage their own care. Medical abortion care has been safe, effective, and FDA approved for 20 years. But due to a political game, it continues to be subject to restrictions that cause serious harm to those seeking care.
And nowhere is this more evident than Texas, currently at the forefront of our fight for access. This year, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 8 (SB8), which bans all abortions as soon as heart movement can be detected in a fetus. It’s about six weeks before many people realize they are pregnant.
Texas already has many unfounded restrictions that add layers of barriers, including laws that require individuals to visit a vendor multiple times and take biased advice. Texas has banned telehealth providing medical abortion care, a ban on most insurance covering abortion – which means Texans have to pay out of pocket – and a parental consent law.
But passing SB8 was not enough for extremists. They have called a special session to ban abortion drugs, one of the safest and least invasive ways to end a pregnancy.
We know that our communities are the hardest hit by these attacks on reproductive health care. As with all other abortion restrictions, our communities will bear the brunt of this ban: due to structural inequalities, Latinas / xs, im / migrants, people of color, youth, people with disabilities, and people with disabilities. people living in underserved communities will be harmed. just to try to take care of themselves.
Last year, we saw cynical politicians use COVID-19 as a ploy to shut down abortion clinics in Texas, and people seeking care were left in limbo for over a month while this battle was taken to court.
Last week, an appeals court upheld a Texas ban on the most common method of second trimester abortion care, known as D&E, or dilation and evacuation. It is clear that these extremists have no interest in protecting the health of pregnant women, they just want to ban abortion by all means.
Unless a coalition of abortion rights advocates and providers can block it in court, SB8 will come into effect on September 1. While we’ve seen efforts like this before, SB8 is unique – it doesn’t carry criminal penalties; instead, it creates a bounty to encourage the public to bring civil lawsuits against providers, as well as anyone who helps someone to have an abortion.
This $ 10,000 incentive to sue a doctor, nurse or clinic receptionist, as well as anyone who accompanies someone, watches over their children as they seek care or helps raise funds for an abortion, constitutes a direct threat to our communities in Texas.
At the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, our staff have been on the ground in Texas for more than a decade, fighting for access to comprehensive reproductive care with dignity and justice for all Texans. We will not stop fighting to ensure that everyone has access to all safe methods of abortion care, including the standard method of D&E, medical abortion care through telehealth and self-managed abortion care. .
We will continue to fight the six-week ban imposed by SB8. We will continue to fight Senate Bill 4, which would criminalize physicians for providing FDA-approved abortion drugs, while stigmatizing those who have chosen this safe option for early abortion care. We will continue to fight to make sure our communities are not harmed for trying to take care of ourselves and our families.
Texans, as well as everyone else living in our country, should be able to receive their abortion medications in the way that works best for them, whether it is at a health center, pharmacy, or delivered to their homes.
We may not know what will happen in Texas after September 1, but we do know that FDA-approved abortion drugs – whether prescribed by your provider or purchased from a trusted source for health care. self-administered abortions – are safe to terminate a pregnancy.
The real harm is caused by barriers to care and criminalization in our communities, not by FDA-approved drugs that are safe, easy to use, and effective. We need to ensure that Latinas / x, people of color, im / migrants and low income people have access to all forms of abortion care and that we are not criminalized for taking care of us- themselves and regain control of our reproductive autonomy.
* Note: In order to be aware of the importance of the full range of gender identities, I am using gender neutral terms throughout this article. “Latina / x” is a term that challenges the gender binary in the Spanish language and embraces the diversity of genres that are often actively erased from spaces. Due to limitations in data collection, I use “Latina (s)”, “Latino (s)” or “women” where the search only shows results for cisgender people; and I use the term “Hispanic” when the cited research uses the term.
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