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On September 1, a law that bans almost all abortions in Texas took effect. Senate Bill 8 bans abortion as early as six weeks, which is before most people know they are pregnant. The Texas law has a key difference that makes it especially egregious: it allows anyone — whether they live in Texas or not — to sue any individual who has helped someone obtain an abortion past six weeks of pregnancy. It then awards at least $10,000 for every successful lawsuit. In doing so, the state of Texas has, quite literally, encouraged anti-abortion extremists across the country to act as bounty hunters in Texas.

Abortion restrictions, of course, are nothing new. Even without an all-out abortion ban on the books, people already struggle to access care as they’re forced to navigate a web of medically unnecessary regulations, pull together funds to pay for their abortion, and travel long distances to a clinic. In the last year, states in our region have seen a number of new attacks on abortion: 

  • South Carolina passed a bill similar to Texas that would ban abortion around six weeks of pregnancy. A federal court blocked this law from taking effect earlier this year.

  • North Carolina state lawmakers passed a bill that would prevent a person from obtaining an abortion based on the supposed reason behind the pregnant person's decision. That bill was vetoed by Governor Cooper, but a vote to override the veto in the General Assembly could happen at any time.

  • West Virginia enacted a law that requires abortion providers to inform patients that their abortion can be “reversed,” a medically inaccurate claim that is not supported by science or medical best practices and simply aims to dissuade people from having an abortion.

If you don’t want your state to follow in Texas’ footsteps, the time to act is now. Because anti-abortion lawmakers — and their bounty hunters — are coming for us next.

There are several concrete steps you can take to ensure that safe, legal abortion is protected in our states:

  1. Share your story. One of the most powerful ways you can fight back against these attacks is by sharing your experience with abortion. If you have had an abortion, we especially need to hear from you. Sharing our authentic stories and experiences helps destigmatize abortion, shows support for our friends in Texas, and prepares us for the fights ahead. Click here to share your story with us, or send us a short video to [email protected] explaining why you fight for reproductive freedom.

  2. Share your support for safe, legal abortion on your own social media pages. The more your own followers see widespread support, the more likely they are to speak up, too. Keep the message simple like: “I stand with Planned Parenthood,” and “I support safe, legal abortion.” You can also tell your own story about abortion.

  3. Get in contact with your legislators. Your representatives need to know that you want abortion to be protected in your state. Tell your own state senator and state representative that you believe abortion must remain safe and legal in our state and politicians should stay out of personal health care decisions. Calling is the most effective method of contacting legislators, so be sure to continue to call until someone answers. Only leave a voicemail as a last resort.

    Not sure who represents you or how to contact them? Click here to look up your state and federal legislators. When you call, make sure to identify yourself as a constituent. Many legislators ignore communications from people who do not live in the district they represent.

  4. Join us at Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic. We have many opportunities available to our supporters and volunteers. You can also volunteer to be a patient greeter at a Planned Parenthood health center. Greeters provide patients with a friendly, reassuring face when arriving for an appointment and assist them with entering the building for their appointment. Click here to sign up.

  5. Donate to local abortion funds. Right now, abortion funds on the ground in Texas are doing the important work of making sure people are able to access abortion, can travel out of the state to obtain an abortion, and more. Click here for a comprehensive list of organizations that are working to ensure abortion access in Texas.

  6. Follow Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic on social media and help amplify our messages. The more people we reach, the more power we have.

This is a red alert moment for sexual and reproductive rights. We need your help to fight back against these attacks on abortion. We’re counting on you to help us protect abortion rights, and we hope you will join us.

Tags: Rally, Abortion restrictions, abortion access

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