Op-Ed: We deserve a vision and access beyond what Roe ever offered us

by | Jan 21, 2022 | Opinion, Reproductive Rights

Texans have a lot of pride, but it’s been a tough year for Texans to be proud of our state. It’s been a year where Texans have been forced to be resilient because leaders manufactured statewide disasters to appease right-wing lobbies –– take the winter storm, the abortion ban under SB 8, and the voting disenfranchisement disaster unfolding before our eyes.

SB 8 banned abortion care after 6 weeks, that’s before most people even know that they are pregnant. Since SB 8 went into effect, the vast majority of Texans needing an abortion have had to delay care, go out of state to access care, or forego care altogether. Essentially, Texans are living in a post-Roe world. In the wake of SB 8 we’ve been hearing that Roe was the floor, never the ceiling, but what does that mean for Texans? The reality is that while abortion is nearly banned under SB 8, access wasn’t necessarily accessible to all who needed it before SB 8. In our fight to restore access to abortion care it’s important to name that we don’t want to go back to a highly restricted landscape that was in place before. Where abortion access for Texans meant being subjected to waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds, listening to misinformation that doctors are forced to read, and where public and private insurance coverage for abortion care is banned.

Access to abortion is not just about legality, it is about our dignity, our humanity, and our freedom. Anti-abortion politicians continue to deny our freedom and create obstacles when it comes to decisions about our health, our bodies, and our families. In Texas, we’ve been in this fight for years and we know we know that the opposition is going to be relentless in their attacks on abortion access. That’s why those who support abortion access must be just as relentless and unapologetic in our support of it. Lukewarm support and stigma have gotten us nowhere but here.

What happens in Texas, doesn’t stay in Texas, but that doesn’t just have to apply to bad laws – we can also inspire others with our resilience, imagination, and grit. The time for imagination and envisioning the world we want is now. We can fight back against bans like SB 8 and in the process imagine and rebuild a better landscape for abortion access that works for every Texan.

At Avow, we envision a world beyond Roe, a world where Texans have unrestricted access to abortion care free from stigma, obstacles, and criminalization, where Texans can access care in their communities. A world where elected officials aren’t waiting for the courts to save us and taking action at the local level. Where elected officials are unwavering about protecting and expanding abortion access because they recognize that expanded access to abortion care is intertwined with health, racial, and economic justice. Where the 1 in 4 Texans with the ability to get pregnant who have had and will have abortions feel supported and respected by their government and communities. Where gender identity, race, or zip code does not determine access to the healthcare Texans need.

On this Roe v Wade anniversary, we invite everyone to not only recommit to the fight for abortion access, but to imagine an abortion landscape beyond Roe.

Caroline Duble is the political director of Avow, a Texas organization that unapologetically advocates for unrestricted abortion access.

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

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