'They Think They're Untouchable': Anti-choice zealots get a bump from Trump.

AuthorThomhave, Kalena
PositionPresident Donald Trump supports banning abortion - Essay

Unlike most states, Texas quickly clarified that the order included abortions. Overnight, the state had done what anti-choice activists have worked toward for decades: It banned abortion.

Restrictions have long been a part of the abortion landscape in Texas. A 2013 law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals forced half of the state's abortion clinics to close before it was struck down in 2016 by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Still, an abortion ban in the midst of a global pandemic was "a complete nightmare," says Amanda Beatriz Williams, executive director of the Lilith Fund, an Austin-based group that assists people with paying for their abortions. There was no way for advocates to prepare, and Abbott's order created an environment of confusion where activists went back-and-forth in the courts about what--if any--abortion care was allowed.

Medication-induced abortion was also caught up in litigation, though the pills are safe to take at home, via telemedicine, in the first ten weeks of pregnancy and do not require the use of PPE.

The day after Abbott released the order, but before it was clarified to include abortion, Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, an ob-gyn in Texas and board member with Physicians for Reproductive Health, had performed the state-mandated ultrasounds and counseling, twenty-four hours before she could provide abortion care. Moayedi had to tell these clients that those follow-up appointments could not be kept; she spent the next several days and weeks helping refer them to out-of-state providers.

Meanwhile, the Lilith Fund was "hearing from our callers [seeking abortions that] they lost jobs, they're sick, they're scared to travel," says Williams, noting that more than half reported being negatively affected by the pandemic.

Many of these clients were forced to drive hours across Texas to surrounding states where abortion remained available, missing work and incurring additional costs. Moayedi had clients travel to clinics in Illinois, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico. Williams says that, among nearly half of the Lilith Fund's clients, each drove an average of600 miles for their abortions during the month abortion was banned.

Texas's abortion ban only expired when elective surgeries were allowed to take place, a full month after the order was issued. Many clients who could have had medication abortions before the ban ended up needing second-trimester, surgical abortions.

In all, twelve states imposed moratoriums on abortion (all of which have since ended).

It's likely that...

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