Tomorrow

We just got word this evening that the 5th Circuit appeals court allowed HB2 to go into full effect as of… tomorrow morning. Overnight, we will drop down to 7-8 abortion clinics in Texas.

That’s 1 clinic for every 750,000 women of childbearing age in Texas, give or take.

It is wildly unacceptable. It is horrifying that the 5th circuit sliced and diced past rulings to excuse its completely offense ruling. It is heartbreaking to see it come on the heels of research that shows – States that restrict abortion also are bad places to be a woman or a child.

What can you do?

First – go to the Capitol tomorrow at noon. Raise your voice in anger. This isn’t good for anyone.

Second – call your ob/gyn. Ask if they perform abortions. If they do? Help hook them up with the nearest abortion fund, so we can help fund their clients in need. YOU CAN DO THIS EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN TEXAS.

Maybe you’re in a place where if you needed an abortion you could take a few days off work, hop on a plane, pay out of pocket. That’s great for you – but there are a lot of people in Texas who can’t travel, can’t take several days off work, don’t have reliable childcare. As always, it is those with the most need that we are punishing with our foolishness.

Fight back, Texas.

ABORTION

Andrea Grimes is a fantastic reporter and advocate for reproductive justice. She just wrote this post about saying “Abortion”. More importantly, about talking to everyone in your life about abortion.  About abortion access.  About reproductive justice, and what it means to you.

We aren’t all at a place where we can do this, but it is worth really thinking about why we’ve let abortion become a thing we’re too afraid to say.

Writing to the Supreme Court

Last week held a pair of frankly offensive, heartbreaking, and in combination baffling rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States.

I will be writing to the Justices to let them know how I feel – about this unfortunate turn in their incorporating religion, and for those stellar dissents written by Justices Bader Ginsburg and Sotomayor.

Justice (or Chief Justice) (Justice’s Full Name)
Supreme Court of the United States
One First Street N.E.
Washington, DC 20543

Current Justices:

Chief Justice John Roberts

Justice Samuel Alito

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Stephen Breyer

Justice Elena Kagan

Justice Anthony Kennedy

Justice Antonin Scalia

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Justice Clarence Thomas

 

 

 

 

Writing Letters!

Last week was the anniversary of the Wendy Davis Filibuster in the Texas Senate. We had a party at a local venue here in Austin, and I was there. People wrote letters! Here are three supporters letting their healthcare providers know – we support abortion access.

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The Supreme Court does it again

The Supreme Court yesterday showed its hand, in no uncertain terms. Their ruling in the Hobby Lobby case answers the question “Why isn’t Texas trying to get its court to the Supreme Court faster?”  In a decision that was disappointing, but not surprising, they ruled that a “closely held” corporation (most of them) can pick and choose their employees benefits access (in violation of the ACA).  This is particularly ridiculous since health insurance is compensation, and extra ridiculous since Hobby Lobby used to provide such health insurance until the ACA required it.  Possibly the worst part is that the company claimed certain birth control methods were abortifactants. They aren’t, which makes it even more ridiculous. But the court ruled since the company had “sincerely held religious beliefs” EVEN THOSE BELIEFS ARE SCIENTIFIC NONSENSE, they can do as they please.

You can argue about why this ruling went down the way it did, but the result is obvious.  More vulnerable families will be stripped of access and rights they deserve. Not to mention birth control they need.

Sorry, I need to pause. Did you see the people celebrating on the steps of the Supreme Court? Because FIVE MALE CATHOLIC justices just decided that birth control was totally up for debate.

As an aside, they also made clear in the decision that OTHER medical procedures that OTHER religions found objectionable were NOT up for debate, but thanks for asking.

Are you mad yet? I am. Please sit down and write a letter – to your doctor, and apparently now to every business on the planet. I support access to a full range of reproductive healthcare – from abortion, to birth control, to everything in between.

 

Clinic Buffer Zones and the Supreme Court

Today, the Supreme Court ruled against a buffer zone law in Massachusetts, requiring protesters stay 35ft back from clinic entrances.  The law had been crafted after a violent summer of anti-abortion protests in 1994, which culminated in the killings of two clinic workers in Brookline.

This was framed as a free speech issue, as if random strangers have the right to accost people seeking medical attention, and harangue them with religious beliefs.  As if the right to free speech somehow demands that speech be heard.  A lot has been written about that today, and I’m not going to get into the legal arguments.  I will just say this.

The law applies to “reproductive health care facilities”, “a place where abortions are performed.”

Imagine a world in which abortion was an integrated part of healthcare. Where would they picket? How would they find enough people, or the time? How would they know if they were yelling at someone who was getting their wisdom teeth pulled, or an abortion? If they decided to picket some random clinic, where you were taking your kid for their checkup, how long would you tolerate that nonsense?

Imagine a world where we protected our providers and their patients with our bodies, because they were just mixed in with all the everyday medical care happening.

We have allowed abortion patients and providers to be separated out, to treat them differently. This is on us.  Write a letter to your local hospital or your OB/Gyn.

Dear (My Ob/Gyn)

Dear Doctor XYZ,
Thank you for being my doctor. I greatly appreciate the time I’ve spent at your practice. You and your staff have been there for me during good and bad times, through pregnancies, miscarriages, and birth.

I’m writing to you today to raise my voice in concern. I have been watching the laws sweep across our country limiting access to abortion and I am worried.  I support access to abortion, and I am worried that it has been marginalized in the medical community.  This is endangering the lives of women, especially those who are already vulnerable.

As a medical professional, especially one who deals in obstetrics and gynecology, I think that you are placed to support the abortion access our community needs. It disappoints me to see our abortion providers, even when they are privately supported, publicly abandoned.

One in three women will have an abortion in their lifetimes.  This common, safe, crucial procedure is being pushed into a dangerous ambiguous realm.  Will we even have enough providers, with abortion excised  from doctors offices and hospitals?

I want you to know that I believe abortion is healthcare.  Abortion is just one stop on the spectrum of reproductive healthcare.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support your advocacy, or to support abortion access in our community.

Signed, Your Patient

Dear Dean Johnston

Dear Dean Johnston,

Congratulations on your recent appointment to lead the Dell Medical School at UT Austin. Many of us are excited to have a med school join the UT Austin family.

But some of us were concerned (although not surprised) to see a partnership between the medical school and Seton Healthcare.  Seton Healthcare is deeply rooted in Catholicism, and it impedes their ability to provide full spectrum reproductive health services. Women are denied access to procedures they need – from tubal ligation, to birth control pills, to abortion.  Even miscarriages come with an extra dose of religion, when you are asked to either give permission for the contents of your uterus to be buried, or take the medical waste away with you.

I believe that abortion access is basic healthcare.  Texas is already struggling.  We are failing to adequately educate our children about wellness and sexuality. I hope that we will strive to give our medical students a robust education including compassionate reproductive healthcare.  We need our doctors to stand strong and protect each other, to help us reclaim medicine from the political realm.

Thank you.  Good luck in your new endeavor – and welcome to Texas.

Dell Medical School, UT Austin

The University of Texas at Austin is building a new medical school. That new medical school is being hosted/built by Seton Healthcare.  In case you are not familiar, Seton is the largest Austin area hospital chain, and is Catholic. This considerably impairs their willingness to provide a wide range of reproductive health services, including tubal ligations, access to birth control, and abortions. I will be reaching out to Dr. Johnston, the new dean of the medical school. I want him to know that it is important to me that medical students at UT Austin have access to training along the full reproductive health spectrum.


Dr. Clay Johnston

UCSF Neurology Center

400 Parnassus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94143

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The Beginning

I am starting this website with the hopes that it starts a campaign.  I want all of us who consider ourselves pro-choice, pro-abortion, fans of reproductive justice and reproductive health… I want us to stand up and defend it.

In particular, I want us to reach out to our medical providers – to our general practitioner, to our OB/Gyns, to our pediatricians and our hospitals – and I want us to tell them that we think that abortion is healthcare.  I want us to tell them that we will be there with them to defend them when they speak out to protect their fellow doctors. I want them to know that I *don’t* want legislators to decide how my health care goes. I want them to know I understand that medicine is a business – and they will have my business not only when they take a stand, but because they take a stand.

As the laws have changed in Texas, anti-abortion activists have cornered the market on fear. They have intimidated communities to stop supporting doctors. We allow our providers to be labeled as “abortionists” as if that is a thing. That is not a thing.

PS – I know. It is a little scary. We all get along by.. just getting along. But imagine how it could be, if we treated abortion like just one stop along the reproductive health care continuum? Abortion, adoption, infertility, pregnancy, birth control, miscarriage… just all part of healthcare. Doesn’t that make it worth the risk?