On March 23, Jane Doe got a phone call from the Fort Worth, Texas, abortion clinic where she had an appointment scheduled for the next day to receive the drugs that would complete her medication abortion. The appointment, the clinic worker told her, was canceled.
Just hours before she got the news, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had declared that amid the Covid-19 outbreak, all abortion would be banned in the state.
Paxton’s declaration threw the state’s besieged reproductive health care system into chaos. Hundreds of appointments were canceled. Like Doe, who was given a pseudonym to protect her privacy, patients across Texas were left with few options: Delay the procedure until the ban is lifted (ostensibly, just before midnight on April 21), travel out of state to secure services, or “be forced to have a baby,” Doe said.
Texas wasn’t the first to put abortion providers in the crosshairs during this crisis — and, by extension, pretty much every woman of reproductive age across the state. Arguably, Ohio led the charge, and a handful of other states have joined in, including Alabama and Oklahoma. But elected officials in Texas have so far been the most enthusiastic about exploiting the viral outbreak to strip residents of reproductive autonomy in favor of scoring political points with anti-abortion supporters.
It’s a gross demonstration of power and control, but it also reveals something far more treacherous: Years of hypocrisy by state officials has undermined health care access for millions of Texans, leaving them far more vulnerable to the Covid-19 epidemic than any abortion patient or provider ever could.
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Illustration: @hannabarczyk for The Intercept
#abortion #womenshealth #texas #coronavirus - 15 minutes ago