Post-‘Roe’ Justice–Not as Simple as It May Seem

AS THE MISOGYNIST PSYCHOSIS TAKES GREATER HOLD IN MORE AND MORE STATES, AS WOMEN ARE DENIED CONTROL OVER THEIR OWN MEDICAL DECISIONS, SHOVED ALL OVER THE SHOW, MALIGN ATTEMPTS TO MAKE THEM ALIEN TO THEIR OWN BODIES UNDER INCREASINGLY CRUEL AND SENSELESS LAW, AND AS THESE LAWS AFFECT POORER WOMEN AND GIRLS EVER MORE DISPROPORTIONATELY, PEOPLE ARE RESISTING, TAKING MEASURES.

OUR FAMILY HAS DETERMINED THAT SHOULD ROE FALL OUR PLACE WILL BE A STATION ON THE NEW UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, A SAFE-HOUSE FOR WOMEN ESCAPING INCREASINGLY OPPRESSIVE STATE LEGISLATURES AND COURTS.

HERE ARE EXCERPTS FROM AN  IN THESE TIMES  PIECE  FROM EESHA PANDIT ABOUT PARTICULAR WOMEN IN SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES.

“Several times now we’ve had people show up from out of town, taking a bus, planning to sleep in the bus station, with no toiletries or change of clothes. The patient in question arrived in Houston at midnight after a seven-hour Greyhound trip from a small Texas town. With no money for a hotel, she spent the night in the bus station and took a cab to the clinic for her early morning appointment. Susanna S., a member of the Houston- based Clinic Action Support Network (CASN), met her as she left the building. The patient was distressed,  unaware that she’d have to return two days later for her procedure, due to a mandatory waiting period. She wasn’t prepared for—and couldn’t pay for—the extra nights, nor the three bus tickets needed to get home and then back to the clinic for her abortion.”

A new Texas law has added a raft of required, wholly medically unnecessary steps. The measure requires women seeking  what has been called medical abortion  (pill-induced)  to visit the clinic twice, “for each of the two doses of medication, rather than taking the second dose at home”, as happens in states uninterested in victimizing women. The law also mandates a 14-day follow-up visit, in addition to the existing 24-hour waiting period between initial consultation and procedure for women who live within 100 miles of a clinic. Hence, pill-induced abortions now mean at least four trips.

“Angie Hayes, director of CASN, says that women often arrive unprepared for such a lengthy process. ‘Several times now we’ve had people show up from out of town, taking a bus, planning to sleep in the bus station, with no toiletries or change of clothes,’ only to find out they’d have to wait for several days.'”

The bill will also make it more difficult for the state’s 22 remaining abortion clinics to remain open. HB2 instituted a new  “slate of rules for clinics, including that they have patient-admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles and that they qualify as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), which requires cumbersome and expensive changes like wider corridors. In order to comply, many would need to be rebuilt from the ground up.” Since the bill was passed, 14 of the original 36 clinics have closed.

Activists and doctors believe it’s probable that six Texas clinics will remain—none of them located west of San Antonio.

Access to abortion access now requires longer trips, more days without work. “More women will have to factor in gas money, childcare and hotel stays as part of the cost of an abortion. Poor women in remote areas will be hardest hit. In 2009 the median cost of a first-trimester abortion” in Texas “was between four and five hundred dollars. Add the bus travel or gas and up to three nights in a hotel, and the cost can jump by several hundred dollars.”

There have been coordinated efforts among religious conservatives in dozens of states to effect similar laws. These rules are by no means exclusively Texan. Twenty-seven states have passed abortion regulations that surpass what’s considered medically necessary to ensure patients’ safety. “Clinics must either comply with increasingly demanding requirements or, more realistically, shut down, leaving miles and miles between clinics around the country. The trend has given rise to networks like CASN nationwide that help close the gap between the legal right to an abortion and the ability to get one. The New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), for example, puts up women in a supportive hotel that charges the organization $49.99 a night for a room. The work of Access Women’s Health Network in California, which has volunteers statewide, extends beyond material support to what Executive Director Samara Azam-Yu describes as intensive case management.”

All laws restricting abortion access are a front in the war on the poor, poor women and girls, and their families.

I encourage you to discuss with your families, wherever in the States you live, what you might do, where you live. Plan for the potential of a Post-Roe world. 

This is one story of hundreds of thousands.

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