This year, as we commemorate the 7th Annual Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice, we’re proud to support and amplify the voices of Texas Latinx activists and organizers in the fight for equity and justice. We trust the expertise of people in their communities, and we’d like to lift up and celebrate the hard work and contributions of local organizers and home-grown organizations along the Texas-Mexico border. These groups are making a difference, increasing awareness, starting important conversations, addressing their communities’ needs and smashing abortion stigma.
The Texas Latina Advocacy Network (TX LAN), part of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, began in 2007 and is three staff members strong with a powerful base of poderosas in the Rio Grande Valley. Activists engaged with the TX LAN center their organizing on increasing access to reproductive health care for all women; they’ve led marches, health fairs, letter writing campaigns and meetings with local officials. They’ve tackled increasing access to necessary transportation in rural communities and mobilizing to expand reproductive health care access by collecting thousands of signed letters, making hundreds of calls, and conducting countless in-district visits to elected representatives.
Melissa Arjona, a native of Pharr, Texas, founded South Texans for Reproductive Justice in September 2014. The Whole Woman’s Health clinic in McAllen had been closed for six months due to House Bill 2. When it reopened, Melissa and four others approached the clinic staff to ask what they could do to help. The group began clinic escorting to counter the increased harassment of patients by anti-abortion groups. STRJ continues to organize clinic escorting three to four times a week. New clinic patient escorts are always welcome and needed. To get involved, send a message through the group’s Facebook page or email [email protected].
La Frontera Fund is South Texas’ only abortion fund serving the region. The organization, which launched in 2016 in direct response to the loss of abortion clinics in the area under House Bill 2, provides funding for lodging costs for people seeking abortions in the Rio Grande Valley, and Valley residents who travel to other clinics in the state. Even with the U.S Supreme Court decision striking major provisions of HB 2, abortion clinics cannot reopen overnight, and many Texans still face financial barriers when it comes to accessing abortion care. La Frontera Fund helps ease the severity of that burden.
The West Fund, a volunteer-run abortion fund based in El Paso and founded in 2013, provides critical financial assistance to Texans seeking abortion care in the upper Rio Grande Valley. Through education, community building, and gap funding, West Fund founders, volunteers and organizers work to empower west Texans, helping them achieve their decisions and access the healthcare they deserve.