Rebecca* is exhausted from her long drive — with traffic and rest stops, it took her nearly 14 hours yesterday to make her way from San Antonio.
She spent 14 hours wondering how her kids were doing without her. Fourteen hours worrying about the cost of this trip and the risk she’s taking by missing work. Fourteen hours of anxiety and sadness mixed with an unbelievable fury that she has to endure this to get an abortion.
This is what happens when lawmakers interfere with private medical decisions. When abortion is banned, the people with the fewest resources bear the greatest burdens and face the highest barriers to accessing care.
That’s why we need to put everything we’ve got into reversing abortion bans and preventing new bans from becoming law.
As tired as Rebecca is after her journey, she hardly slept at all. She’s been awake in her hotel room (a $140 expense) since before the sun came up.
Now, alone, she worries about her appointment. What if it gets canceled for some unexpected reason? Would she be able to reschedule? Can she make this journey again?
The reason — the only reason — that people are in situations like Rebecca’s is because lawmakers have cut them off from essential medical care by banning abortion. The only way to protect patients and providers is by fighting to change these laws.
It’s early in her pregnancy, and she knows that her procedure is low-risk. Still, what if something does go wrong? Will she be able to get follow-up care back in Texas? What if she needs to stay longer in Albuquerque? Can she afford the hotel? Will she lose her job if she misses more shifts? What if her neighbor can't keep watching her kids?
The reason — the only reason — that people are in situations like Rebecca’s is because lawmakers have cut them off from essential medical care by banning abortion. And the only way to protect patients and providers is by fighting to change these laws.
There are still hours left until Rebecca’s appointment at a Planned Parenthood health center. Sleep is impossible, so she gets up and starts getting ready.
11:30 a.m. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Rebecca walks into the Planned Parenthood health center and breathes a deep sigh of relief.
Finally, she’ll get the care she needs. Finally, she’s in a place where her rights are respected, where she’s treated like a full person.
Planned Parenthood health centers like the one in Albuquerque have been working tirelessly to welcome patients like Rebecca. With providers in so many states now unable to offer abortion, those that remain are struggling to meet the increased need.
It's our job at Planned Parenthood Action Fund to fight for laws that make providers’ jobs easier. It’s our job to make sure that patients like Rebecca don’t have to flee their state or travel hundreds or thousands of miles to get the care they need.
Rebecca is scheduled to have a procedural abortion, which can take as little as five to ten minutes. Her appointment will last a few hours, though, including an exam with her provider, time to ask questions and go over the plan again, and recovery time in the post-procedure room.
Much of this feels routine, like any other doctor’s visit. Checking blood pressure and heart rate, answering questions about her medical history and her allergies.
But Rebecca also shares her anxiety — and her relief. It’s been such a lonely, difficult, worrisome journey. She talks about how hard it was to find reliable information in Texas about how to access care. She talks about the cost of travel, about missing her kids, about all the stress.
She talks about what it feels like that a group of lawmakers and a handful of judges have taken away her right to control her own body, her own future.
It feels good to share her story. And with her consultation over, with hundreds of miles behind her and hundreds of dollars spent to get here, Rebecca is finally able to get the care that should have been available to her in the community where she lives.
Let's Put an End to Stories Like Rebecca’s
… by putting an end to abortion bans. Please, make your gift to Planned Parenthood Action Fund before the deadline so we can meet our 10,000 donor goal to fuel the next phase of our fight to reverse abortion bans and restore access to care.
All gifts made by midnight on December 31 will be matched, $1-for-$1, up to a total of $500,000.
* This is a fictional story — based in part on real stories from patients facing the abortion access crisis in the United States.