Facilitating Access to Reproductive Healthcare

We’re here to support your decision to manage your body and your health.
Currently we offer a ride share network to help you with your transportation needs.
We hope to expand our services to include abortion doulas, child care, and other means of easing the burden placed on Texas women in accessing safe reproductive care.

If you are interested in volunteering, please complete our Ride Share Volunteer Form.

Donations can be made via PayPal to casnhtx@gmail.com.

“I Work At An Abortion Clinic.”

reprofreedom_justice-scales

 

(In 2013, a piece of controversial legislation was pushed through to the governor’s desk and signed into law by Rick Perry. The full text of “HB-2” is available here.)

 

As we wait for the ultimate decision on the constitutionality of HB-2 from the Supreme Court of the United States, let’s remember what is at stake: the lives of people who are facing an unplanned pregnancy. These people have a choice to make, and it is important that they have the best resources available to choose from. Without access to these resources, the choice becomes much more difficult. Informed medical decisions between doctor and patient cannot take place without unburdened access to a clinic. If there are no doctors available nearby, there is increased potential for hazardous, even deadly, results caused by misguided self-procedures. When the number of clinics is cut down by 88%, the remaining 12% of clinics are faced with an overload of patients, resulting in long wait lists, which too often forces women to carry an unplanned pregnancy to term, or make an even more difficult choice: the risk of dying from infection caused by an unassisted abortion.

 

What follows is the personal account of a clinic worker who asked to not be identified.

“Texas is one of the states that seems to be cracking down hardest on safe abortion care access; with laws like  HB-2 still working its way sluggishly through the courts, and the defunding of Planned Parenthood, we are rapidly disintegrating women’s ability to access safe abortion care as well as other reproductive healthcare. Working inside one of the few clinics still standing after spending so many years as an advocate has certainly made me ever vigilant in the fight for reproductive justice we are waging here in Texas.

Often, I see women who are traveling extreme distances to arrive at our clinic – some from overseas, in countries where they would otherwise go to prison for terminating a pregnancy, some from the outer edges of Texas – but all desperately needing a clinic that can provide a safe and comforting environment. Specifically, my heart breaks for the young women who have no way to get themselves from central Texas to the clinic, who also are minors that have to use the judicial bypass system to obtain an abortion. These are girls who have no one to turn to in a desperate situation, where they face keeping an unwanted pregnancy sometimes simply for being unable to find transportation. I have more than once met with young women who knew that if their parents were made aware of their unintended pregnancy they would be forced to have a child that they couldn’t possibly care for properly. These are also the women that most often have had the least amount of sexual education because of Texas’ archaic views on sex ed. Having been educated in a school that offered abstinence-only education, I understand why they are so woefully uninformed, but it is still absolutely unacceptable. I feel more like an educator at times, explaining birth control, safe sex, STI’s, and how their own bodies work to them. Not only is reproductive healthcare a right, but so is fact-based and informative sexual education.

I, and many of my patients, are extremely grateful to the many volunteers who take the time out of their day to provide a safe means of transportation so these women are able to make their appointments. Since Texas created the 24-hour waiting period, as well as shut down so many local clinics, there are women who are having to take off from work, find childcare, travel for multiple days, and also find someone to drop them off and pick them up. This is quite the burden, especially for those who are unable to find an understanding and supportive friend or family member. For many of these women, the volunteers and the clinic staff are the only non-judgmental faces they will see during this process, and it can be a very trying time for many of them.

Working inside the clinic has certainly opened my eyes and made all of the women I previously advocated for so much more real to me. Each of these women has their own story, their own issues, and their own reasons, and they all deserve our support and trust in their judgment. All women deserve to access safe reproductive healthcare, including abortion care.”

 

This story and others like it exemplify the risks involved in cutting reproductive health services to our communities. If there are not enough clinics, not enough doctors, there is not enough help for people facing an unplanned pregnancy. More decisions made without medical advice causes more diseases and more deaths every day these clinics remain closed.

Take a stand with us, and volunteer or donate to help keep reproductive health care accessible to all Texans at http://www.houstonclinicaccess.org

HB-2 Awaits SCOTUS Decision

No Decision on Texas Abortion Case

texas-hb2-capitol-580x300

There has been a tense feeling in the air the past couple years in Texas. Forty-one clinics that have provided safe and practical care for Texas women–some for decades–have recently come under fire from conservative politicians who allege that these are nothing more than hazardously substandard facilities.

Since when, you ask? Well, since these politicians just up and decided to raise the standards unnecessarily high and force all the clinics to conform…or else. That was HB-2, signed by Rick Perry in 2013, which is still being contested–this time, hopefully, before the Supreme Court of the United States.

If just four of the nine judges agree to hear this case (Whole Women’s Health v. Cole), then the relief to keep clinics open in Texas will continue until the case is heard and a final decision issued. They are expected to let us all know as soon as this Friday.

 Rapidly-Changing-Access-to-Abortion-in-TX-18Jul2014

Preparing to Defend Planned Parenthood

Over 2.6 million women will be at risk of becoming pregnant without access to the doctors at Planned Parenthood that provide contraception through Medicaid. Using facts obtained from a report (PDF) by the Guttmacher institute, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated (PDF) that the lack of funding for Planned Parenthood will cost the government about $650 million over the next ten years. Although Republicans are bent on shutting down the government if they cannot get their way, President Obama has declared he will defend our access to reproductive health services with his veto power. Planned Parenthood would lose about $390 million dollars each year of Medicaid dollars. This means people seeking services at Planned Parenthood clinics wouldn’t be able to use their Medicaid cards there at all, and would have to pay out of pocket or through private insurance–which most people can’t afford. But, Republicans say, these people could easily access reproductive services from other doctors that accept Medicaid. However, these other healthcare providers are worried that they won’t be able to keep up with the numbers of patients who need services that will be without access to Planned Parenthood’s clinics, predicting there would be a wait list for appointments two to three months long. Huffpost says,

“Eliminating federal funds for Planned Parenthood for even one year would undercut future savings from avoiding unplanned pregnancies, while depriving hundreds of thousands of low-income women of critical family planning and other women’s health services.”

Yep. Pretty much sums it up.

Planned Parenthood has an upcoming event on September 29th (that’s a Tuesday) to show your support by wearing a pink shirt, changing your profile pic to pink, or just doing whatever it is that you do all day–but IN PINK.

State of the State

As you may have heard, parts of the the anti-choice law rammed through the Texas Legislature during special sessions this summer are already going into effect, shutting down healthcare clinics across the state and restricting access to safe reproductive healthcare for tens of thousands of women, especially historically marginalized and underserved populations in the Rio Grande Valley. The Supreme Court decided along the usual partisan lines to leave in place the the US 5th Circuit court’s overturn of the stay that had been placed on the restrictions, causing approximately one third of Texas’s clinics to close.  As expected, this is disproportionately impacting already-underserved communities who are most vulnerable to cuts in public funding.

For a broader look at the dire circumstances faced by women in Texas seeking basic healthcare including mammograms, PAP smears, abortion, contraception, and cancer screenings, check out this recent article from Salon. It’s a sobering look at the systematic dismantling of infrastructure and support for women’s health services that has occurred over the last two legislative sessions, and the rising financial and logistical barriers now faced by women- the delicate balance of choices between supporting households and their own physical well-being. The Texas Legislature has been playing a dangerous game with the lives of Texas women, and they’re paying for it. Make sure to let your representative know that we’re done with it, through letters, emails, phonecalls, and the ballot box.

Excerpts from the article:

“In order to understand the full implications of this week’s ruling, one must consider the current state of women’s health care – particularly that of low-income women – in Texas. The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) recently released a must-read report that illustrates the devastating human toll of family planning and reproductive health cuts on women living in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley.

The Valley is a marginalized region inside a state with some of the worst health disparities and the highest percentage of uninsured adults in the country. Many women in the Valley live in colonias, unincorporated communities along the U.S.-Mexico border, which often lack clean water, plumbing, electricity, and public transportation….These women – and the thousands more they represent – must decide between paying rent, giving their children food and a roof over their heads, or having a mammogram, a Pap test, or contraceptives. “It’s one or the other, but not both,” they say. They live with a constant din of anxiety and fear, not knowing what disease is or might be growing in their bodies, where they will get care in emergency situations, or what will happen to their children if they become sick (or worse).

These women are living the consequences of calculated decisions made by conservative lawmakers to dismantle the state’s health safety net. Over the last two years, they cut the state’s family planning budget by two-thirds, from $111 million to $37.9 million. They established a tiered system and forfeited $30 million in federal funds so they could exclude Planned Parenthood and other organizations affiliated with abortion providers from receiving state or federal resources.

So what happens? Women purchase unregulated contraceptives off the black market, without consulting a doctor about which form of family planning is best for their bodies. They seek care in Mexico, taking the risk that they will not make it back across the border safely. Or, like many of the women described in the report, they forgo contraception and medical care because they simply cannot afford it. …There is not a single abortion provider left in the Valley. At a minimum, women must travel three to five hours each way to access an abortion (and must make that trip multiple times thanks to ultrasound and counseling requirements). For most women, it might as well be outlawed. “