It is an honor it is for me to stand here with you today. I am grateful to everyone who has come before me; the abortion providers who have paved the way and stood up for what is right, even when it is not easy; and the activists demanding dignity and justice whose shoulders I stand on today. Thank you.
To all of you who have supported Whole Woman’s Health and our co-plaintiffs Reproductive Services, Austin Women’s Health Center, Dr. Lynn, Dr. Richter and Dr. Davis. Thank you.
Another big thank you goes to The Center for Reproductive Rights. The Center is full of fierce advocates who work all over the world to ensure that women have access to safe abortion care. It is to them that we all owe a giant round of applause.
My final, and deeply heartfelt thanks goes out to my husband Karl and my two children who are here with us today. I thank them for their patience, for their love and for their belief in me and in our cause.
I’d like to invite the Whole Woman’s folks here today to come stand with me. While they make their way up here, let’s give a loud shout out to the Whole Woman’s Health team members all across the country. This is a phenomenal group of women and men and it is my joy to have some of them here with me today to receive this love from you.
As you can imagine, this has been one of the most challenging, difficult and intense 3 years of our lives.
We have fought like hell and done our best to push back on the bully politicians in Texas. We have chosen to open the doors of all of our clinics in an unprecedented way – inviting documentarians and reporters into our clinics – to meet our staff and physicians and experience the Whole Woman’s Health way. Every time, we see the stigma of abortion melting away as we share openly and honestly about the work that we do. Through these open doors we are changing the way people think about abortion care in this country. After all, we have nothing to hide and we stand in the light.
Just look at all of you!
Many of you took off work, got on buses from all across the country, arranged childcare; I see some of us have brought our kids along!
And you’ve come here in the cold to stand, UNITED for abortion access. Thank you for making the journey.
But here’s the sad part: however far you traveled, however tough it was, for most of you, coming here today was nothing compared to what a woman in Texas goes through to get an abortion.
And that’s what today is all about.
If the Supreme Court does not put an end to HB 2, Texas women will continue to suffer. And make no mistake: what happens in Texas will not stay in Texas. The bully politicians who passed HB2 have counterparts in nearly every state who want nothing less than for abortion to be completely illegal. They are determined to shut down our clinics and cut women off from care.
We cannot – we WILL NOT allow that to happen.
We’re fighting for the day when all women have access to compassionate reproductive health care like we provide at our Whole Woman’s Health clinics. We are fighting to build a better world for all of us.
I want to help close today’s events by inviting you to join me in envisioning that better world, to share with you my dream for the future of Texas and all across the USA.
I dream that the people who provide abortions will be seen and respected as the human rights workers and medical professionals that we are. That we will be able to go to work without worrying about how we will keep our doors open to serve our patients and our communities, without bulletproof vests.
I dream that those who seek abortion will have the information they need and high-quality holistic care they deserve. I dream that a woman will be able to walk into a clinic without having to worry whether her insurance will cover abortion, without having had to travel hundreds of miles, without a protester screaming in her face.
I dream of a world where no woman comes into my clinics thinking she is the only person who has had an abortion. Thinking she is the only Christian that has had an abortion. Thinking she is the only good mother who had an abortion.
I dream that every one of us who has decided to end a pregnancy will be respected, supported, and feel secure in the knowledge that we are not alone.
Yes, today we stand up against politicians who have tried to push abortion out of reach. We stand in opposition to HB2 and any law like it that shuts down clinics, forces women to delay care, or creates obstacles to abortion.
But we also stand for something: we stand here to affirm that women are good, to affirm that women are moral and kind. To affirm that when a woman has decided to end a pregnancy, we can witness her dreams and her aspirations and affirm that she is put on this Earth to see them out and to act on her own gifts.
That is the world we stand for, and it is the world we will create together.
Amy Hagstrom Miller -President & CEO of Whole Woman’s Health
Lead plaintiff in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt