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Health & Wellness

'We’re looking at some really tragic times' for patients seeking abortions in Texas

A crowd holding homemade signs on white poster board demonstrate in front of the Texas Capitol for abortion rights.
Eric Gay
/
Associated Press
Abortion rights demonstrators attend a rally at the Texas Capitol, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Austin, Texas. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the face of an anticipated Supreme Court decision that could overturn patient's right to an abortion.

For clinics across the state that provide abortion services, the next few weeks are a waiting game—as clinicians prepare for the possibility that the Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade this summer, the landmark case that legalized abortion nationally.

In Texas, Senior Director of Clinical Services for Whole Woman’s Health Marva Sadler said she and her staff have been preparing contingency plans for care since September, when SB-8 effectively banned abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

“I've been in this business for almost 16 years now,” Sadler said. “I don't feel like we have an option other than to always be prepared.”

Patients have still been showing up to their appointments, she said, but it’s a select few who know they are pregnant early on and can get into the clinic in that short time frame. Since SB-8 passed, thousands of Texans have left to get abortions in neighboring states like Colorado and Kansas. Sadler said some patients of Whole Women’s Health went as far as Alexandria, Virginia to get care.

“If Roe falls, there will be no select few,” she said. “There will be no abortion care in the state of Texas. 100% of [people] seeking abortion care in the state of Texas will have to seek care outside of the state.”

Less access to abortion care would stress an already-backlogged system of clinics across the country. She said that’s going to become the new normal if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

“There is no guesswork,” Sadler said. “We're seeing what’s going to happen. And we have to imagine that in scales that are unimaginable. I think we're looking at some really tragic times.”

She stresses that the leak is not a decision yet, and patients still can access abortion care.

“You still have options,” Sadler said. "Although limited in some places, you still have options. This fight is not over until it's over.”

Got a tip? Email Elena Rivera at erivera@kera.org. You can follow Elena on Twitter @elenaiswriting.

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