It’s been a long 9 months since SB 8 has been the law of the land in Texas, and the fear and obstacles to receiving abortion care have weighed heavily on patients’ minds.
“I feel like it’s taking away more of women’s rights, their autonomy,” said one patient who made it to Whole Woman’s Health of McAllen 5 weeks and 6 days into her pregnancy, right on the cusp of the legal limit.
It was her second abortion at WWH of McAllen, which is the only abortion provider in the entire Rio Grande Valley. Her first was in 2019 after she was sexually assaulted at a party. She reflected on the attack and began to cry. She was eight weeks pregnant at that time and since SB 8 makes no exception for rape or incest, she would’ve had to travel out-of-state or carry a forced pregnancy.
If they’re ineligible for abortion care, the question echoed by many Texas patients we spoke with was “where am I going to go?”
Another patient, who struggled to get time off work for an appointment, considered that crossing into Mexico might be her only option. But she didn’t have a passport and feared repercussions for getting caught with abortion pills. The highly publicized lawsuit against Lizelle Herrera (who was charged with murder for a self-managed abortion) also bore down on her, and the risk of ending up in a hospital where she might be reported dissuaded her from this option.
If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which it is poised to do in just one month, abortion will immediately become illegal in Texas because of its trigger ban. For those who aren’t constrained by factors like income or immigration status, Texans will be forced to travel hundreds, even thousands, of miles to get the abortion they want or need.
Sadly, this is already the reality for folks who are ineligible for abortion under SB 8. One patient who came to the clinic was a little over seven weeks. Clinic staff comforted her and presented options for travel and financial assistance. Without going into much detail, she simply said, “I can’t travel, I have to keep it.”
The future ahead is uncertain, and our clinics and the patients we serve need your help now more than ever.