Yesterday the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the provisions of House Bill 2 that have decimated abortion access in Texas to a mere 8 clinics for a state of over 26 million people. Last month, we were able to reopen our McAllen clinic after getting an injunction in our first trial, restoring access to the people of the Rio Grande Valley even if it was short-lived. MSNBC did a video segment on our clinic’s reopening and how important it was, and released it today after we were forced to shut our doors again. You can watch it here.
Our Corporate Vice President, Andrea Ferrigno, worked tirelessly to get the clinic back up and running again, and wrote a statement today on having to close the clinic again. Here is her statement:
Good morning, my name is Andrea Ferrigno and I am currently the Corporate Vice President with Whole Woman’s Health where I’ve worked for over a decade offering holistic abortion care. However, I have not always held this position. I actually began my career in Reproductive healthcare over 15 years ago working with a provider that offered obstetrics, gynecology and abortion care in the Rio Grande Valley for over 40 years where our clinic is located today. This location being a landmark for comprehensive healthcare is why I felt so thrilled about Judge Yeakel’s injunction nearly a month ago. I was passionate about returning to my community to personally facilitate re-opening our clinic that had to previously cease providing abortion services in October, 2013 – all direct byproducts of House Bill 2.
At that moment, it was and still is important to me to be on the ground to directly help women and families in the Rio Grande Valley access safe, professional abortion care.
The first day we reopen our doors in McAllen, we helped over 20 women; it was astounding to see the faces and hear individual stories of how they were connected to our clinic. How Whole Woman’s Health has remained a vital staple in that community. It was refreshing and inspiring for us to us to do our due diligence to keep providing the care that the valley so desperately needs and deserves. And every week since the injunction, nearly 30-40 women have visited our clinic in McAllen.
Seeing firsthand what HB2 has done, not only to our clinic, but to the women of the Rio Grande Valley and all of Texas is absolutely infuriating. I’ve worked directly with women from the valley for nearly a month and I hear their stories. I have explained the Texas laws to them through their confusion. They have acknowledged our staff and physicians and expressed appreciation for us continuing to fight for their health care options as well as remaining in their communities despite the legal interference.
What we have to remember is that even though 6 months ago HB2 shuttered our doors, it did nothing to take the need away. Texan women still sought abortion care yesterday- as they will continue to do today, tomorrow, and in the future no matter what community you are located in.
That is the reason why we, at Whole Woman’s Health, are committed to this fight.
I am so proud and honored to be able to work with a team of skilled staff, physicians, nurses, and volunteers who respect every woman’s experience, values, family and community. It’s a shame that our Texas politicians can’t do the same. In the end, it’s hurting thousands of Texans and perpetuating a cycle that eliminates empowerment and prevents women and their families from planning and choosing what is best for their lives, and this harassment has to stop
Thank you for the opportunity to share on behalf of the women that we serve.