Texas Women Were Traveling to Louisiana for Abortion. What Can They Do Now?
Late yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay that will allow Louisiana to shutter all but one health center that provides safe, legal abortion in the state. If that isn’t bad enough, women in Texas are already traveling to Louisiana to access safe, legal abortion.
Where do they go now? And where do Louisiana women turn?
Tragically… this is all too familiar: The same court did the same thing to Texas women in October 2014, and it shuttered more than a dozen clinics overnight. Here’s a snapshot of the devastation we saw in Texas a year-and-a-half ago:
- Planned Parenthood's health centers inundated with calls from frightened and upset patients, and women lined up outside health center doors, waiting to see if they could still access the care they needed at the Planned Parenthood health centers that remained open.
- In Houston, Planned Parenthood reported that its call volume from patients seeking abortion services increased 170 percent when the law was in effect.
- Planned Parenthood in Austin received seven times as many calls about abortion services, as compared to typical averages.
- Across Central and North Texas, Planned Parenthood saw a daily average of four times as many calls from women seeking abortions. Many of these calls were from women living far outside the affiliates’ service regions, in cities such as Midland and McAllen, where providers had closed.
- Doris Dixon, a call center director for Planned Parenthood in Houston, shared a heartbreaking account of a woman who traveled from out of state and stayed in Houston overnight, only to find that she couldn’t obtain a procedure, writing: “I don’t know what will happen to her. I don’t know that I will ever stop thinking about her. And she is just one woman whose life has been turned upside down by this law.”
Is this what’s in store for women in Louisiana? And for women across the nation, if the Supreme Court allows these laws to take effect? This comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral argument this coming Wednesday, March 2 in the Center for Reproductive Right’s case against the Texas law. Below is additional background on the Louisiana ruling yesterday.