One Texan’s Experience at a Crisis Pregnancy Center

When I was 16 I didn’t fully understand sex. I grew up with a mom who taught sex-ed, but in Texas you don’t learn anything useful about sex at school so the nitty gritty details escaped me. I was inexperienced and feared disappointing my mom. Needless to say, I was at a disadvantage.

As a black girl, you’re taught to NEVER “act fast” and subconsciously I had shame about sex after being molested as a young girl. For two months I was sure I was pregnant, sure that my life was over, sure that my mom would be ashamed of me for wasting my potential. Millennial to the core, I immediately got online to look for at-home abortion remedies.I made plans to seek out herbs, started rehearsing lies to tell my mom if I had a bad reaction to anything. Looking back I’m horrified because if anything had happened I may have died.

After finding a place to get a pregnancy test,  I debated whether I was even brave enough to go. Having an answer to this question would determine where I was going next so I made the appointment for an evening during the week after school. The crisis pregnancy center was two blocks away from my school, connected to a church, so I walked over as soon as class let out.

The reception was warm, weirdly. The women working there acted very excited to see me. I walked into the space and didn’t see anyone else, but there was a room in the back with several other women. The lights were low and it felt like a cozy living room. There was a table set up with a bunch of pamphlets about the false ills of abortions, and the second I saw that I thought “Oh F**K THESE ARE WEIRDOS” and got really scared. Not knowing if I was pregnant was one thing, but being attacked by Christian Fundamentalists was scarier. We sat in a room together and discussed how we got there. We went around in a circle talking and one by one went into another room full of medical equipment to get tested. We prayed for quite a long time before receiving the results. This entire time I felt the anxiety in the room heighten. The women around me were picking up on how resistant the women leading the discussion were to any options that didn’t end in “I am keeping this baby”. We were getting antsy and one of the women angrily asked when we were getting the results so they brought us into a different room one by one to get results. The second I got my results (a negative) I got out of there. Some of the women stayed, so I assumed they were actually pregnant.

I didn’t escape without a lot of pamphlets intended to make sure I had “information.” My fear lifted as soon as I knew I wasn’t pregnant, so walking back to the train I mostly worried about how the other women were going to handle it.

Emma Robinson works at The Afiya Center in Dallas. To learn more about deceptive, manipulative crisis pregnancy centers, visit txpregnancy.org.

Abortion Speakouts Scheduled in September at City Halls Across Texas

The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, Texas Equal Access Fund, West Fund, and NARAL Pro-Choice Texas are launching the statewide Repro Power TX initiative with simultaneous abortion storytelling speakouts in four major cities throughout the state—Houston, Dallas, El Paso and Austin. As we gather at city halls around Texas on September 27—just before the anniversary of the federal Hyde Amendment that bans public coverage for abortion–we invite you to join us in mobilizing our own communities to build power and create a groundswell of support for reproductive justice and access to abortion.

Following this year’s regular and special legislative sessions, when lawmakers continued to attack abortion access and rob local communities of their power, it’s time we come together and take back our cities. We know that the majority of people in our Texas communities support access to abortion, but unfortunately, hostility in the Legislature means that these voices often go unheard. Through Repro Power TX and together with our supporters, we commit to holding our cities accountable for taking steps to protect abortion access in the face of attacks.

Together, we envision a Texas in which there is widespread public support for abortion access from the ground up, and abortion is accessible to everyone seeking it — stigma free. It’s time for our city officials to hear the voices of our communities.

We hope you’ll join us in Houston, Dallas, El Paso or Austin. If you are unable to attend in person, you can still show your support online by participating in our #ReproPowerTX Thunderclap!

This blog post is cross-posted from the Repro Power TX website. Visit repropowertx.org to learn more about the initiative and sign on to support local work in your community.

STATEMENT: Texas Will Revoke Family Planning Money Given to Anti-Abortion Organization

Texas Will Revoke Family Planning Money Given to Anti-Abortion Organization  

For Release: 8-22-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Austin, TX — Yesterday, it was revealed that Texas will reallocate more than $4 million of the state’s family planning budget from a grant awarded to The Heidi Group, an anti-abortion organization that provides no health care. NARAL Pro-Choice Texas has repeatedly criticized the state’s decision to award The Heidi Group this funding. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“The Heidi Group’s contract with HHSC demonstrates just how far Texas will go in putting politics over people, especially when it comes to reproductive health. There was nothing in The Heidi Group’s operations or history to indicate that this non-medical organization was even remotely qualified to provide reproductive health care.

Carol Everett has made several statements that demonstrate her lack of understanding of basic public health concepts, such as testifying before the state health agency that HIV and STIs can be transmitted and contracted through our water supply. Yet, the state went to extremes to withhold funds from qualified providers in order to award undeserved millions of taxpayer dollars to an ideological, anti-choice organization with ties to fake providers like crisis pregnancy centers. Tens of thousands of Texans in need of vital health care will pay the price for our state leadership’s unhealthy relationship with anti-abortion zealots like Everett.

Family planning dollars should be going directly to medical providers who have experience providing family planning and preventive care services, not anti-abortion organizations that aim to coerce and manipulate.

There must be an investigation into how and why the health department awarded The Heidi Group such a large contract that they were not qualified to fulfill.”

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STATEMENT: Gov. Abbott Signs Bills that Further Attack Abortion Access

Gov. Abbott Signs Bills that Further Attack Abortion Access

For Release: 8-15-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, s[email protected]

AUSTIN, TX — Today, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law House Bills 214 and 13. HB 214 jeopardizes Texans’ health and safety by restricting insurance coverage for abortion and makes no exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomalies. HB 13 directly targets abortion providers by imposing extensive, medically unnecessary reporting requirements. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“Throughout the regular legislative session and this special session, we have seen attack after attack on our reproductive freedoms. The bills Gov. Abbott signed today are two in a long line of politically-motivated restrictions on abortion access that anti-choice lawmakers have forced through the Legislature, all of which prohibit Texans from making the decisions that are best for them. These attacks come from a concerted national effort to cut off access to abortion care.

What’s clear is that Texans do not and will not stand for Gov. Abbott and Lt Gov. Dan Patrick’s hateful agenda. Texans have turned out to protest attacks on health care, transgender people, public education and local control throughout this special session, starting with the One Texas Resistance Rally on the first day of the special session and continued protests throughout the session.

It’s long past time for elected officials in our state to stop attacking abortion access to score political points and actually do the work their constituents elected them to do. The majority of Texans who support abortion access will continue to make their voices heard until legislators stop shaming people for their private health care decisions.”

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STATEMENT: Texas House Passes HB 214, a Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

Texas House Passes HB 214, a Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

For Release: 8-8-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Austin, TX — Today, the Texas House passed on second reading House Bill 214, a ban on private insurance coverage for abortion. The bill does not make exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomalies.

Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement upon passage —

“Texans should be able to make reproductive health decisions, including the decision to have an abortion, with dignity and respect and without politicians interfering with abortion coverage bans like HB 214. Texans from across the state fought hard this special session to preserve and protect our health and basic rights. Unfortunately, some politicians remain single-mindedly fixated on pushing abortion out of reach in our state. If last year’s Supreme Court ruling won’t slow them down—Texans will have to do it ourselves.

We will continue making our voices heard and growing our numbers until we can defeat these politically-motivated attacks on abortion coverage.”