Our CEO Reacts to the Supreme Court’s Decision on SB 8

Today marks day 101 that Whole Woman’s Health staff have had to turn away Texans seeking abortion care, and with today’s Supreme Court decision allowing Senate Bill 8 to remain in effect, the cruelty and heartache that our staff and patients have endured will continue.

Today’s decision is NOT OKAY. It is unjust, cruel and inhumane.

The legal whiplash of the last 101 days has had an excruciating impact on Whole Woman’s Health staff and patients. Our staff are heartbroken and scared and discouraged. Day after day they’re being forced to act as agents of the state enforcing a law that they not only disagree with but that’s designed to put them out of the work that they love. Our patients are stunned to be denied the care they need and are often begging and pleading with our clinic staff trying to find a new way forward.

Our patients deserve better than the constant attacks on their reproductive autonomy. No one should be forced to leave their home state and travel hundreds of miles because anti-abortion politicians have made it so that they can’t get care in their own communities. In fact, most of the people we see cannot even consider an out of state trip – nearly 70% of the patients we see for abortion care are already parents, working multiple jobs, and navigating school and work during a pandemic – just like the rest of us. They cannot get time off work, arrange childcare for an extended trip or afford the expense of travel – so the majority of folks are being forced to carry a pregnancy against their will. Today, the court allowed this cruelty to continue.

Those who are able to are fleeing the state – in fact, hundreds of people have been forced to leave Texas – traveling to Oklahoma or Louisiana or New Mexico – or even farther to New York, Minnesota, and Virginia – to try and get the abortion they need. And the clinics in those states are overwhelmed as they do their best to support the Texans we have to turn away – with a 4 week wait for an appointment in Oklahoma and more than 6 weeks in Louisiana.

Do not write this off as something that only affects a few people – or something extreme in a small part of the country. Fully 10% of this country’s people of reproductive age live in Texas – this is not a small fraction. The surrounding states of Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Louisiana cannot meet a need that great. And as with all abortion restrictions, people of color and those working to make ends meet bear the brunt.

No doctor or clinic staff member should have to turn away their patient due to fear of being sued by self-appointed vigilantes. Yet, this is where we find ourselves today, living in fear and under surveillance for providing essential medical care. In the USA, in 2021.

Despite the heartache that I feel today, I have an immense and overwhelming gratitude for the Whole Woman’s Health clinic staff and for abortion providers all over Texas who have shown up day after day in a situation that none of us ever thought we would find ourselves in.

And to the people in Texas of reproductive age and their families, I reassure you: your ability to make decisions that are best for your life and future is what we fight for. No one should be subjected to the personal beliefs of self-appointed, out of state vigilantes. We will never stop fighting for you and for your basic freedom to determine your path.

Thank you for trusting us, thank you for sharing your stories of how abortion saved your lives, how your abortion allowed you to be a better parent to your children, how your abortion allowed you to live a future with opportunities and dignity and respect.

We fight alongside you, now and always, to liberate abortion from these restrictions and work for a day when all people can access the reproductive care they need. Stand with us to build a better future, join us to affirm the moral good that safe abortion care brings for our lives, our families and our communities.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, President & CEO
Whole Woman’s Health & Whole Woman’s Health Alliance