Last Tuesday, the Senate Committee on State Affairs held a hearing to discuss pressing issues affecting the state. One would imagine that as the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on Texans and our medical systems, the committee would convene to discuss creative solutions to help Texans get through these trying times. But alas, this is Texas, and going into a legislative session where we made no net-gains in the pro-choice makeup of the House during the general election, some anti-abortion legislators like “Democrat” Senator Lucio feel emboldened to do the worst.
Texas already has many restrictions that make accessing abortions extremely difficult, impacting marginalized communities the hardest, and causing a delay in that care. The hearing was a frustrating reminder that anti-abortion extremists will stop at nothing to advance their dangerous ideological agenda.
One of the proposed measures during this hearing was a 6-week abortion ban which would essentially ban abortion before most Texans even know they are pregnant. If that wasn’t bad enough, Joe Pojman of the anti-abortion lobby Texas Alliance for Life encouraged the committee to ‘go for the full hog’ and pass a complete ban like Alabama’s because ‘these times call for that strategy’.
We’re in the middle of a pandemic that is killing Texans but extremist legislators are showing us where their misplaced priorities lie. Texas abortion rights activists are resilient, and we will fight these proposals tooth and nail because abortion care is still out of reach for too many Texans — and is threatened even more by the current makeup of the Supreme Court.
The attacks on abortion access are going to be brutal this upcoming session. Black women, people of color, and young people showed up in record numbers during the 2020 election cycle — and now our progressive leaders need to show up for them. In Texas, that looks like fighting back against attempts to ban abortion, repealing the medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion access, prioritizing healthcare in the budget, and enacting public health policies that trust Texans of all walks of life to make their own decisions when it comes to their health and families.
There has never been a more critical time than this global pandemic to expand access to healthcare, and this includes abortion care.
Caroline Duble is Political Director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas
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