A new Texas law could have devastating consequences for abortion access across the state. The law, which is slated to go into effect on Sept. 1, would ban the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy. And unlike other states’ so-called “heartbeat bills,” this particular law enables citizens — even those outside Texas — to sue clinics, providers, or anyone else who helps a patient seeking abortion care. The law also prevents state officials from enforcing the ban, in order to make it more difficult for abortion advocates to block the law in court. Instead, Texas is incentivizing private citizens to enforce the law by giving them at least $10,000 if they successfully sue someone who’s helped a patient obtain an abortion.
Cathy Torres, a Rio Grande Valley-based youth activist who works with the Young Womxn of Color for Reproductive Justice Leadership Council, calls the law “a violent piece of legislation that will not only ban abortion at six weeks, but will cause a slew of frivolous civil lawsuits that will in turn affect Texans statewide.” The law also reflects the fraught landscape for access in Texas, Torres adds; in recent years, anti-abortion lawmakers have refused to expand Medicaid to cover abortion, banned insurance coverage, and created hurdles like 24-hour waiting periods and mandatory sonograms to make it harder for patients to get the care they need.
In response to Gov. Greg Abbott signing the bill in May, abortion providers and advocates like Whole Woman’s Health, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Texas-based abortion funds are leading doctors, clergy, and clinics in a lawsuit against state judicial officials, in the hopes of blocking the law before it goes into effect. But the lawsuit is just one small piece of the fight to defend reproductive health care access in Texas. Another piece, says Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, M.D., a Texas OB-GYN and Physicians for Reproductive Health board member, is advocacy from people across the country.
“Support can include letting your national representatives know they must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act now, voicing public support for abortion care, amplifying the voices of Texas advocates already working on these issues, and donating to our abortion funds,” Moayedi tells Bustle.
That’s where you come in. You can help support abortion rights in Texas right now — here’s how:
Donate To Texas-based Abortion Funds & Reproductive Justice Organizations
Abortion funds provide financial, logistical, and emotional support to people who need to terminate a pregnancy, helping them hurdle restrictions. This law means that Texas-based funds could use your help, Texas Equal Access Fund Executive Director Kamyon Conner tells Bustle. “We are the abortion safety net in Texas.”
Advocates point to the following organizations that could use donations now:
- Texas Equal Access Fund provides funds and emotional support to people seeking abortion care.
- Lilith Fund is the oldest abortion fund in the state, serving patients in central and south Texas.
- Frontera Fund provides financial assistance, lodging, and transportation for patients living in the Rio Grande Valley or who have procedures scheduled at Whole Women’s Health in McAllen, Texas.
- Clinic Access Support Network provides transportation, lodging, childcare assistance, compassionate care, and occasional procedure funding to patients in Houston, Texas.
- The Afiya Center was founded by Black women in North Texas to promote the reproductive health of Black women and girls. The center’s Support Your Sistah Fund provides practical help to abortion patients.
- Fund Texas Choice helps with travel and accommodation costs for Texas residents seeking abortion care in- and out-of-state.
- The Bridge Collective provides information, transportation, accommodation, and abortion doula services.
- Buckle Bunnies Fund mobilizes across Texas to help secure funding for people seeking care. You can Venmo @Buckle-Bunnies, CashApp $BuckleBunniesFund, or shop on their website to support this fund.
- West Fund is a community organization working to create universal abortion accessibility. It provides financial assistance to patients in Texas, Southern New Mexico, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, who are seeking procedures in El Paso, Texas, or New Mexico.
- Jane’s Due Process provides reproductive health resources, legal aid, and case management to help young Texans navigate parental consent laws and confidentially access abortion and birth control.
- The Stigma Relief Fund provides financial help to Whole Woman’s Health patients.
You can also chip in by donating to political action nonprofits like Avow, which is working to secure unrestricted abortion access for all Texans.
Donate Your Time By Volunteering
Many Texas abortion funds rely on the hard work of volunteers to provide resources and generate funding. If you want to help but can’t donate money, volunteering your time also helps support abortion rights. According to Conner, the Texas Equal Access Fund offers remote volunteer opportunities that people out of state can sign up for. Most organizations on the list above seek volunteers in different capacities, ranging from staffing phone hotlines to providing legal services.
You can also spread the word about abortion funds so that prospective patients know where to get support. Torres and Conner believe that SB8 could result in people seeking abortions out of state, which would increase the costs associated with their care.
Challenge Misinformation — Remind People That Abortion Is Legal
Challenging misinformation around abortion is a key component in destigmatizing care, advocates say.
“Bills like these are framed to purposely spread misinformation, making people believe that abortion is illegal when it absolutely is NOT,” Torres says. “City governments are now also beginning to develop ordinances banning abortion utilizing SB8 language to further spread misinformation. … Remind people that abortion is still legal!”
You can use these resources to learn more about abortion access in Texas, or send them to someone who is seeking care:
- The Texas Policy Evaluation Project assesses the impact of Texas laws restricting abortion access.
- Use the National Network of Abortion Funds website to search for funds.
- For updates on SB8 and the ongoing lawsuit, you can consult The Lawyering Project and The People’s Lawsuit.
- Follow the Trust Respect Access coalition organizations on social media for additional updates about SB8.
- If you or someone you know needs help accessing care in Texas, you can visit needabortion.org or text that you need help to 844-832-3863; the hotline is confidential and volunteers will respond.
Whether you’re donating your time, money, or voice, your support can make a big difference. “This law intends to subvert our democratic process in order to deny Texans the human right to control their reproduction,” Moayedi says. “To compound this injustice, this law attempts to turn communities against each other, using private citizens as a way to intimidate, harass, and financially ruin those that support pregnant Texans. This is not the Texas any of us want — we all deserve so much more than this from our state leaders and for our children.”
Cathy Torres, youth activist, Young Womxn of Color for Reproductive Justice Leadership Council
Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, M.D., OB-GYN, Physicians for Reproductive Health board member
Kamyon Conner, Texas Equal Access Fund Executive Director