This Valentine’s Day, we want to show our love and appreciation to the patients who trust us with their care, and to the advocates working tirelessly to ensure that their right to an abortion remains not only protected, but becomes accessible for all. For many in the U.S., accessing abortion is no easy task — especially in states—like Texas—that are hostile to abortion rights. (Did you know most cities in Texas are 100 miles or more from an abortion clinic?)
After making the decision to have an abortion, patients are forced to visit an abortion clinic at least twice, receive a state-mandated ultrasound and state-mandated counseling, and most people can’t even use their insurance to help cover the costs. For low-income people and people who live far from a clinic, this can not only increase logistical and financial barriers, but also force them to continue a pregnancy they’re not ready for. Black people, other people of color, low-income people, and queer and trans people are disproportionately impacted when it comes to abortion access, and we must recognize that, as it stands, their experiences don’t always look the same.
Luckily, there are organizations dedicated to the reproductive justice everyone deserves—including access to inclusive maternal care, comprehensive sex ed, contraception, and abortion care. Our right to an abortion isn’t guaranteed until everyone can safely and affordably access an abortion in their own city, free from racism, discrimination, and ableism. While our government continues to fail us, advocates who have dedicated their lives to fighting for abortion rights continue to demand a reality where access looks the same for everyone. We’re proud to join advocates in that fight, especially when local officials threaten the essential and personal care that people seeking abortions deserve.
In fact, when House Bill 2 — a bill that imposed medically unnecessary requirements on abortion providers — shut the doors of our sister clinic, Killeen Women’s Health Center, we were committed to making sure our Austin location remain open following the legislation that closed over half of Texas’ then 42 clinics. After all, as a result of the bill, millions of Texans no longer lived near an abortion clinic. When Texas Governor Greg Abbott and indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton banned abortion last year after deeming it nonessential in an order during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked closely with our attorneys to ensure we could provide abortion care as soon as it was legally allowed. Still, some patients (including ours) experienced last-minute cancellations as a result of the orders, with some having to be turned away at the last minute while waiting at the clinic. This can never happen again, and our local officials should be ashamed of the way they put patient’s lives in jeopardy by limiting their access to abortion care. After all, we know restricting abortion access doesn’t stop people from seeking abortions—it only increases the number of unsafe abortions.
Read below to see what some of our patients have said about their experiences accessing abortion. We’re so grateful to provide compassionate, individualized care by staff who understand the broad spectrum of reasons people have abortions. These patient testimonials clearly show why people seeking abortions deserve love and support without government interference.
If you’re wondering how to support people having abortions, local groups will welcome your help creating care kits for patients visiting abortion clinics in Austin. Because access can look so different, these care kits are created to offer patients items that may make their post-abortion experiences more comfortable, and for people who may lack support in their decisions, they include a love letter from a stranger who wants them to know their experience is valid, and that they are loved. For some people seeking abortions, staff at the clinic are the first people they’ve talked about their decision with, and these care kits offer important words of affirmation and support. Contact Fund Texas Choice to see when the next volunteer event is, and check out this billboard the organization put up for people driving through Buda, Texas, below!
(source: Twitter account for Fund Texas Choice)
If you’ve had an abortion and could benefit from emotional support, All-Options is a great place to start. All-Options offers emotional support to people in all pregnancy outcomes—including abortion. You can contact them over phone or by text to be connected with a trained talkline advocate. While most of the time any uncomfortable feelings after an abortion resolve on their own, there’s no “wrong” way to feel after an abortion, and every experience is valid. Be gentle with yourself, and remember your reasons for making this decision. Most people feel relieved after an abortion, even years later, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience other emotions, too.
When visiting our clinic, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to discuss any emotions you have before your procedure with one of our counselors. We provide a safe space to cry and speak freely without judgment, but because we can’t be there when you get home, we want you to know there’s additional support afterward if you need it.