When the news broke about the Supreme Court refusing to block a Texas law banning abortion care at six weeks gestational age, all of us at carafem were heartbroken. First and foremost, our hearts go out to the abortion providers in Texas and the millions of people who can get pregnant and will no longer have an accessible abortion option in this state.
Within days of the news breaking, we began hearing from people in Texas even though our closest centers are in Tennessee and Georgia. Our call volume increased about 20% as we heard from people panicking about how and where they may be able to get care and how much it would cost.
While we all grapple with what this means for people in Texas and possibly other states to follow, we wanted to take a closer look at what it’s really like to try to get an abortion in Texas right now.
Six weeks gestation translates to providing a very narrow window of two weeks after a missed period to allow a pregnant person to find an abortion in Texas or be refused service. Two weeks is before many people even realize they are pregnant, especially if they have irregular periods or are using a contraceptive method that may make their periods less predictable. It provides only 14 days in which to:
- Get a pregnancy test
- Find a clinic that will do an abortion
- Tell any support person they want to involve
- Raise about $500
- Take time off work or arrange child care
- Find a ride to one of the few clinics that have open appointments
Then, before an abortion, the client must endure a vaginal ultrasound to make very certain a physician can see no firing of the embryonic “pacemaker” cells that could someday develop into a fetal heart. If this is identified, the client must be turned away.
It seems to us that it’s the politicians in Texas who have no hearts. Don’t mess with abortion access.
While carafem does not have a health center in Texas and we’re unable to expand telehealth abortion care to this challenging state, we are working to expand telehealth abortion care to neighboring states so that people who have to travel out of state for an abortion can obtain abortion pills faster and with better medical support. Read more here about how to access telehealth abortion care from a state with high restrictions.