The situation for women’s rights in Texas has been critical for the past few weeks. Many Texans who require abortions have fled home since the passing of Senate Bill 8, which bans access to abortions after 6 weeks (where more than 80% of abortions happen). It has resulted in an influx of patients at clinics in neighboring states.
Planned Parenthood clinics in South Texas would normally have plenty of patients receiving different types of care for abortion. However, Jeffrey Hons, the president and CEO of the reproductive rights organization, says they had no choice but to shut down those procedures.
Abortion providers in neighboring states, such as Louisiana, New Mexico Oklahoma, are seeing an increase in the number of patients who are reporting Texas zip codes as their home addresses. It must be hard to have to flee your home, your city, and your state in order to exercise your most basic human rights.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice in New Mexico is witnessing this firsthand. The program manager, Brittany Defeao, provides additional context. According to her, they conducted 20 abortions in September 2019, 15 in September 2020, and 50 this year, with 80 percent of the people being Texans.
Brittany commented their phones have not stopped ringing. People are too scared to submit an application while still in Texas since they are not aware of the limits around Senate Bill 8.
“So, we have the people who are afraid to travel, the people who are afraid to travel in a pandemic, and the people who are afraid that they are going to go to jail if they come out here to access care,” Defeao said.
The cherry on top of the pie? They don’t have enough resources.
“So, what we’re seeing is really low income, marginalized communities, the people that need the help the most,” Defeao said. “These are people that have nothing, that don’t have access to birth control, to health care, to food, to safety.”
This clinic in New Mexico is trying to make sure the people of Texas are reminded that they do have options. That there is a thing called “constitution” and that they have rights. New Mexico is now showing the kind of “southern hospitality” that Texas is failing to show.