Any Texan, Including Abortion Providers, Who Helps Another Person Get an Abortion Can Be Sued Under the Law; Even for Driving a Patient to Their Appointment
AUSTIN, TEXAS – Whole Woman’s Health (WWH) & Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA) denounce the Governor’s decision to sign Senate Bill 8, a harmful and extreme anti-abortion ban, into law. This is the first of its kind 6-week abortion ban in the country. It bans abortion before the majority of people even know they are pregnant and will have devastating impacts on our ability to provide care to patients in the four clinics Whole Woman’s Health manages in Texas. It is scheduled to take effect September 1, 2021.
What makes SB 8 so extreme?
This law will allow anyone to sue Texas physicians, nurses, counselors, clinic staff, or family members for providing abortion care or helping a person obtain an abortion. Even referring physicians, counselors, pastors, or anyone deemed to be “helping” a pregnant person access abortion care could be at risk for legal action against them. Anti-abortion extremists seek to make this the first 6 week ban to survive the courts, since all others have been ruled unconstitutional.
“Every legislative session, Texas lawmakers pass laws that make it harder for our patients to access abortion care, and harder for us to provide it,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of WWH and WWHA. “They are determined to legislate abortion out of existence. At Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance we believe people deserve trust, compassion, and accurate information when facing an unplanned pregnancy. Our clinics are open, and we are committed to providing compassionate, professional abortion care in Texas.”
This law opens the door to threats and harassment from anyone in the country seeking to intimidate abortion providers and those who support patients. It allows anyone who successfully sues another person for providing abortion care or for “aiding and abetting” a patient to be awarded $10,000 per person they sued. More than 370 licensed Texas attorneys have signed an open letter to House Speaker, Dade Phelan and other House members strongly urging them to oppose the bill. More than 200 Texas Physicians also sent an open letter in strong opposition.
The climate around abortion care in this country is heating up – with the Supreme court announcing it will hear the Mississippi case in their next session, and countless abortion bans and restrictions being passed in the states like SB 8 here in Texas. Now is NOT the time to be discouraged. Now is the time for us all to speak up and support abortion providers, our patients and the reproductive health, rights and justice movement.
“Restrictions to abortion access ignore the feelings and beliefs of the majority of Texans – and Americans – who support safe and legal abortion,” said Soraya Dadras, MPH, Clinic Director of Whole Woman’s Health of Austin. “Bans like SB 8 are a direct attack on providers, clinics, and anyone who knows and loves someone in Texas who may need to obtain abortion care at the four clinics managed by Whole Woman’s Health in Texas. Our patients deserve better than these continuous attacks on abortion access.”
Abortion restrictions and extremism from the anti-abortion politicians have become the norm in Texas, and WWH and WWHA are NOT here for that. We will not let the powerful few speak for the majority any longer. Instead of backing down, we are stepping up and shining our light once again. In the face of SB 8, Whole Woman’s Health opened another clinic in Texas. We know people need access to safe abortion care, so our staff and doctors are ready to provide medication abortions at Whole Woman’s Health of North Texas, located in McKinney. Because to us, access to quality, compassionate abortion care matters.
About Whole Woman’s Health: Whole Woman’s Health (WWH) is a privately-owned healthcare organization, committed to providing holistic reproductive health care. We are a group of clinics providing comprehensive gynecology services, including abortion care, in the South and the Midwest, where access to abortion is most restricted. It is our philosophy that everyone must be at the center of their own healthcare decisions, and that treating patients holistically will better serve and improve health and happiness in our communities. Whole Woman’s Health manages 9 clinics, located in: Austin, TX, Fort Worth, TX, McAllen, TX, McKinney, TX, Bloomington, MN, Baltimore, MD, South Bend, IN, Charlottesville, VA and Alexandria, VA. For more information: www.wholewomanshealth.com
About Whole Woman’s Health Alliance: Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA) works to strategically shift the stigma around abortion in our culture and is committed to fostering open and honest conversations, lifting all communities, and transforming the abortion care environment. WWHA is a 501(c)3 organization leading powerful stigma eradication, culture change and community education work across the United States. The work is rooted in and informed by direct service work delivering high quality abortion care around the country. WWHA’s largest programs are the operation of clinics in Austin, TX, Charlottesville, VA and South Bend, IN. We are committed to maintaining clinics in challenging places where access to quality abortion care is under attack. For more information: www.wholewomanshealthalliance.org