Two Years of Terror for Pregnant Texans After Roe Reversal

Pro-choice protesters outside the Supreme Court Building
On Second Anniversary of Roe’s Fall, Texans Still Need Abortions, Forced to Leave State for Healthcare

Key Facts & Toplines

  • Dobbs anniversary reinvigorates fight for abortion rights 
  • Texas Medical Board’s new exemption rules don’t safeguard doctors or patients 
  • Lizelle Gonzalez sues officials over illegal investigation and arrest after forced c-section

Dobbs Anniversary

On June 24, 2022, the landscape for providing safe and accessible abortion care was bulldozed by the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overruled Roe v. Wade and 51 years of precedent protecting abortion rights. 

Two years later, we lift up Kate Cox, Amanda Zurawksi, and countless other heroes, whose lives should never have been at stake. Yet, because of dangerous bans designed by extremist conservatives, these women undertook the plight to normalize a medically safe and necessary procedure. In Texas, abortion procedures have dropped 99.89% from a 4,400 monthly average to a near zero, at only five obtained a month.

Amanda Zurawski testifies to the Texas Medical Board about the proposed rules for medically necessary abortions, Texas Public Radio

Texas Medical Board Fails to Deliver

Meanwhile, doctors are left with no direction on how to protect themselves or their patients against the religious right’s deadly laws. On June 21, the Texas Medical Board released new guidance for medical practitioners on exceptions to our near-total state abortion ban. Despite public outcry, TMB President, Sherif Zaafran, M.D., and the Board of Directors failed to deliver guidance to health practitioners, which could have empowered doctors to save pregnant people’s lives.

The new rules from the board composed of doctors and unqualified, non-medically trained donors to Gov. Greg Abbott, did not change much, dangerously excluding any specifications on actual exceptions to the near-statewide ban. The TMB did announce an update on reporting requirements, adding only a week of time for doctors to document their medical judgements for emergency abortions, documentation which could put their license and life on the line. In addition, they removed a provision that required reasoning for patient transfers to avoid providing abortions. Both announcements fell immensely short in contrast to the deadly consequences that a lack of guidance creates for doctors and their patients.

Vice President Kamala Harris commented this week that “Texas would provide for prison, for life: for a healthcare provider, a doctor, a nurse, just doing their job.” We need better protections now for pregnant people in Texas and other Republican-dominated states where doctors and their patients are put in extreme danger. 

A Conversation with Vice President Harris and Sheryl Lee Ralph on Reproductive Freedoms, Youtube

Lizelle Gonzalez Lawsuit and What’s at Stake

Extremists are putting Texans in harm's way by limiting access to abortion, publicizing their personal medical records, violating HIPAA, and legislating medical emergency judgments. Take Lizelle Gonzalez, who sued Starr County and the county’s District Attorney for $1 Million in damages after being imprisoned for an attempted abortion. Not only was she stripped of her freedom by being jailed, she endured a forced C-section and delivered stillborn, an invasive and unnecessary surgery that her doctors opted for instead of a safe abortion. (14 times safer than childbirth.) Now, her future health and fertility are irrevocably impaired simply because she lives in a state that doesn’t protect her right to the reproductive healthcare of her choice.

Reproductive health experts predict cases like Lizelle’s will become more common across the US in the post-Roe era, with doctors forced into the position of deciding what’s best: protecting themselves or their patients. “Let Texas serve as a warning to all Americans — there is worse to come with the threat of a national abortion ban, should convicted felon Donald Trump be elected,” said Reagan Stone, Advocacy Manager at Progress Texas. “It is imperative for us to vote for our freedoms and our futures, when we vote for our abortion and civil rights in November.” 

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