The news out of Texas and the Supreme Court in recent days has been nothing short of infuriating. The Senate Bill (SB) 8 law in Texas – which bans abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy and incentivizes private citizens to sue anyone involved in the termination of a pregnancy – shamelessly violates the health and personal autonomy of people across the state. I’m further appalled that the U.S. Supreme Court failed to take emergency action to block this flagrantly unconstitutional law from going into effect. This is a public health emergency.
The blatant disregard for almost 50 years of settled law puts millions of Texans at risk and denies them their basic human right to access reproductive healthcare. We must not forget that SB 8 will disproportionately impact Texans who already face hurdles in accessing care: Black, Indigenous, Latina/x, and AAPI people, low-income and undocumented populations, LGBTQ+ folks and those living in rural communities.
Let’s be clear: SB 8 is the latest and most restrictive ban yet in the long line of attacks against reproductive care in this country and a devastating blow to the legal foundation of abortion access. Other states that currently limit abortion access such as Florida, North Dakota, Mississippi, Arkansas, South Dakota and Indiana have already signaled their intentions to try and pass further restrictive bills similar to SB 8, and cases are already on the upcoming Supreme Court docket that could fully reverse Roe v. Wade.
We cannot stand silently as people across the country, who are no different than the communities we serve here at PHS, are stripped of their rights and choices. Amid this, PHS is steadfast in our mission to ensure all New Yorkers, especially those who have traditionally been excluded from high quality care, have access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare they deserve, regardless of their insurance, income or immigration status.
When the Trump administration instituted a gag rule to prevent Title X (federal family planning program) recipients like us from even discussing abortion options with clients, we turned away this funding that would require us to offer unethical, inadequate care.
When the pandemic struck, we made sure our doors stayed open so that thousands of low-income New Yorkers could continue to access vital services. Our staff made sure that they had a place to go for contraceptive counseling, prenatal care, STI testing and treatment, and more. Then, when New York State cut funding for our Brooklyn-based clinics from the budget, we fought back – and won.
PHS will continue to fight for access to high-quality sexual and reproductive health care – in New York City and across the country. We also would like to uplift the work of local organizations and abortion funds in Texas that have been ensuring access for communities through the years: Lilith Fund, Texas Equal Access Fund, Fund Texas Choice, Jane’s Due Process, Frontera Fund, Buckle Bunnies Fund, West Fund, the Bridge Collective and Clinic Access Support Network.