On Wednesday, Texas We Testify storytellers sent a letter to the Governor of Texas denouncing his attempt to close abortion clinics and declare abortion a non-essential health care service.
You cannot have it both ways, ordering clinics to close so that we have to travel for care while telling us to stay at home to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. You cannot both restrict access to medication abortion via telemedicine and then prohibit us from going to a clinic. Your priorities should be to expand access to all health care for all people, without spreading the virus further. It’s clear your priorities are not focused on protecting our lives.We had abortions and we have children. We know what’s at stake. Our abortions were essential health care for each and every one of us, our families, and our lives. Abortion is a human right and it must be deemed essential healthcare in Texas and across the nation.
Read the letter below.
Governor Greg Abbott Office of the Texas Governor P.O. Box 12428 Austin, Texas 78711Via E-Mail Correspondence (download) March 25, 2020Dear Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick,We are Texans, we are your constituents, and we had abortions. We are disappointed in your handling of the Coronavirus response and now upset that you are attempting to use this pandemic to take away our constitutional rights. Shame on you.We are devastated by your heartless and cowardly decision to declare abortion a non-essential service rather than maintaining your sworn focus to protect Texans. Just because there is a pandemic does not mean we lose our Constitutional rights or access to healthcare; a right, as you may remember, that was upheld in 2016 at the Supreme Court. It is clear to us that your latest stunt is nothing but a ploy to circumvent the rights afforded to us in this nation and deny us essential healthcare during a time of need.Never for a moment did our abortions feel less essential. You cannot legislate our need for abortions away. Abortion is an essential health care.This pandemic is wreaking havoc on the economy as people are unable to work and earn income. We have worked in the foodservice industry and hospitality sector for our livelihood. Industries now shuttered—without paid sick leave in place—for the safety of everyone. If we were waiting tables now, as we were when we had our abortions, we would be unemployed, pregnant, unable to afford an abortion or a child with no support from the state of Texas.Many of us experienced having to wait for an abortion or traveling to another state because of Texas’ medically unnecessary restrictions. We already know how hard it is to try to get an abortion during a hurricane or because Texas shuttered half of its clinics years ago or because Texas refuses to allow us to use our health insurance to pay for it. Now, you’re exploiting a pandemic to make matters worse. We deserve better from our state’s leadership.Stop creating barriers making it nearly impossible for us to get abortions as soon as we want them, then shaming us for needing later abortions. Forcing people to travel out of state for abortions puts everyone’s health at risk and flies in the face of the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation to stay at home. Requiring our lives to be in grave danger before having an abortion that qualifies under your new rules is dehumanizing.While it is unclear whether the executive order prohibits medication abortions, we know simply handing us a pill is an easy solution to this crisis and does not constitute a “procedure” as our doctors understand it. Forcing people to carry a pregnancy during a pandemic creates untold physical and mental health risks during an uncertain moment with limited prenatal health access, not to mention additional prenatal care visits outside of the home requiring the use of more personal protective equipment and hospital bedspace.You are taking a public health crisis and selfishly making it worse. Your leadership has been lacking during the pandemic leaving cities and counties to fend for themselves, except on the issue of abortion access. Your efforts should be focused on procuring hospital beds and ventilators for our loved ones who are sick from COVID-19, not shuttering clinics under the false pretense that it will save gloves and masks. Perhaps your time could be better spent releasing our loved ones from detention centers and jail and freeing up the personal protective equipment there? We see right through you.We call on you to increase abortion access by:
Waiving the medically unnecessary state-mandated waiting periods to limit the possibility of exposure to coronavirus.
Allow access to telemedicine provision of abortions
Waive the follow up appointment requirement for medication abortions
Allow us to take medication abortions up to 77 days of pregnancy as recommended by the FDA, not by the state’s earlier restriction of 70 days
You cannot have it both ways, ordering clinics to close so that we have to travel for care while telling us to stay at home to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. You cannot both restrict access to medication abortion via telemedicine and then prohibit us from going to a clinic. Your priorities should be to expand access to all health care for all people, without spreading the virus further. It’s clear your priorities are not focused on protecting our lives.We had abortions and we have children. We know what’s at stake. Our abortions were essential health care for each and every one of us, our families, and our lives. Abortion is a human right and it must be deemed essential healthcare in Texas and across the nation.To every Texan trying to get an abortion right now including people we love: We see you. We’re here for you. You will get through this. You deserve better than this.Signed, The Texas Abortion Storytellers of We Testify, an organization dedicated to the leadership and representation of people who have abortionsPaige Alexandria Austin, TexasAimee Arrambide Austin, TexasMaleeha Aziz Dallas, TexasNancy Cárdenas Peña Rio Grande Valley, TexasStephanie Gómez Houston, TexasVeronika Granado San Antonio, TexasHK Gray Fort Worth, TexasAngel Kai Amarillo, TexasSarah Lopez Austin, TexasKenya Martin Houston, TexasKelsea McLainFrom San Marcos, TX, TexasJeana Nam Houston, TexasNikiya Natale Dallas, TexasTohan Omorodion Houston, TexasZoraima Pelaez Austin, TexasDr. Valerie Peterson Dallas, TexasAlyssa Ramos Fort Worth, TexasCoWanda Rusk Dallas, TexasHannah Thalenberg Houston, TexasNick Thixton Houston, TexasAmanda Beatriz Williams Austin, Texas