Abortion Largely Banned in Texas, an Oklahoma Clinic Is Inundated


The parking lot of a modest brick structure on Oklahoma City’s Southside were quickly filling up on a windy Tuesday morning. The first to come, a red truck from Texas, arrived soon before 8 a.m. The second and third were the same way.

One of Oklahoma’s four abortion clinics is housed here, and at least two-thirds of the clinic’s booked patients now come from Texas. There are so many that the company is seeking to employ more personnel and physicians to keep up. The rise is due to a new Texas legislation prohibiting abortions after six weeks, which is a relatively early stage of pregnancy. Texans began visiting abroad as soon as the law went into force this month, and Oklahoma, which is near to Dallas, has become a popular destination.

Jennifer Reince, who works the front desk phones at Trust Women Oklahoma City, described the first week the legislation was in effect as “every line lighted up for eight hours straight.”

The new legislation has had far-reaching consequences: Texans with undesired pregnancies have been pushed to make fast decisions, and some have chosen to travel considerable distances for abortions. As facilities in neighboring states fill up, appointments are pushed out, increasing the expense of the operations. Others feel compelled to carry their pregnancies to term.

Many patients, according to Marva Sadler, senior director of clinic services at Whole Woman’s Health, which has four clinics in Texas, were unable to arrange child care or take time off work without risking their employment by traveling to other states.

“I believe the majority of women are destined to be mothers,” she added.

The bill is the latest in a long line of victories for the anti-abortion movement, which has fought for more conservative justices and state legislature control for years. Now, the Supreme Court is set to hear an abortion case — the first to be heard in front of the court by all three of former President Donald Trump’s conservative appointments — that could effectively end federal protection for abortion.

In Texas, a new state legislation has effectively achieved this, at least for the time being.

Samerah, who did not want her last name used, was just five weeks pregnant when she lied down on an examination table in Houston for an ultrasound. It was the 31st of August, the day before the law took effect. She’d seen it on the news, and she knew it prohibited abortions if heart activity was found. However, there was no sound on the ultrasound, and she was advised to come back the next day for her surgery.

The doctor obtained a different result when she returned and slept in a darkened room, looking up at a group of paper dancers suspended from the ceiling.

“He says, ‘Take a big breath,’ and all you hear is budoom, budoom, budoom,” Samerah, 22, explained. “All the things I had been crossing my fingers for simply poured out in that same breath, and I bawled and bawled and bawled.”

Her thoughts racing, she stepped into the corridor and noticed other women there as well.

“We were all weeping in the hallway, like, ‘What are we going to do?’” says one participant.

Many women in her situation have resorted to racing to another state to have an abortion. Patients from Texas now make up nearly half of the patients at Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, Louisiana, compared to around one-fifth before the law. Texas patients now account for 19 percent of the caseload at Little Rock Family Planning Services in Arkansas, up from less than 2% in August.

In most circumstances, getting an abortion in Oklahoma does not need two trips to a clinic, thus it has been a popular option. In August, Trust Women had 11 Texas patients; thus far in September, it had 110. Patients go from as far as Galveston and Corpus Christi to receive treatment. Some people travel through the night to make it to an appointment in the morning. The clinic’s agenda has been completely booked for weeks due to the tremendous demand from Texas. The earliest appointments were scheduled for mid-October last week.

Samerah came on Monday from Beaumont, Texas, where she and her partner reside with their 2-year-old kid.

She said that the announcement of her pregnancy jeopardized the life they had established for him.

Their financial situation had only lately improved. She’d acquired a job as a customer service representative. Her boyfriend worked for a medical business and drove a van. They got their own apartment after moving out of his family’s residence. Their youngster has a room of his own. She purchased new furniture, including a couch and a bed.

She explained, “This was our first time buying a brand-new, out-of-the-box mattress, not off of Facebook or whatever.”

She was proud of herself for being able to provide her kid with attention, toys, and a secure environment, all of which she said she had never had herself. But she couldn’t do it for two people. Samerah, whose mother was a teenager when she was born, stated, “I don’t want to be that mom.” “I don’t want to put my child in a situation where I can’t afford to look after them because they don’t deserve it.” That was my reality as a child. And I’ve seen what it can do to people.”

Samerah stated she had previously undergone an abortion for identical reasons, a year after her son was born. She claimed she scheduled an IUD appointment just after her operation on Tuesday.

As more states adopt abortion restrictions, impoverished women are increasingly forced to deal with the consequences. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that promotes abortion rights, half of American women who had abortions in 2014 lived in poverty, up from one-quarter in 1994. Demographic shifts, increasing financing for abortions for low-income women, and higher-income women having greater access to highly effective contraception are all theories.

The longer women have to wait for their treatments, the more costly they get. Abortions at Trust Women cost between $650 and $2,350 depending on the stage of the pregnancy. There is also financial help available.

On Aug. 23, Sarah, who works for a roofing firm, learned she was 13 weeks pregnant. But when the law took effect, she scrambled to find a clinic in a different state.

“It’s been a hurry to get things taken care of, especially because I ran out of time so quickly,” Sarah, 21, said, asking that her last name not be used to preserve her privacy.

On September 20, she received her abortion at an Oklahoma City facility. To cover her portion of the $1,550 penalty, she had to postpone a car payment. Her partner, a cop, shared the bill and drove her the three hours from their home in Dallas.

She stated that she had been living alone for some time. Her mother died in a car accident when she was nine years old, and her father died of cancer when she was nineteen years old. And, despite the fact that she is considerably more financially secure today than she was in her teens — she was putting herself through college studying criminal justice until the coronavirus epidemic – she stated that she could not afford a child.

She explained, “I’d have to put my life on hold.” “I’m not sure if I’d be able to return to school.”

Sarah had never been pregnant before, but she felt confident in her decision. Even so, it was a challenge. She claimed it was difficult not to think about what was developing inside her during the weeks she waited for her checkup. Sarah’s pregnancy was confirmed by an ultrasound done by a lady who wrote “Hi, Mommy” and “Hi, it’s me” into the screen and handed her the printout at an anti-abortion facility.

“It’s difficult not to feel compelled to establish a relationship with it,” Sarah added. “And I have to keep reminding myself every day that you can’t do it.” It’s just not the right moment for you. So that’s been the most difficult part.”

Anti-abortion groups are also drawn to Trust Women. Anti-abortion activists’ camper van, which offers free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, frequently parks across the street at Rancho Village Food Mart.

Raymundo Marquez, a cashier there, claimed his brother, the shop’s owner, permits it. Marquez, on the other hand, is torn. He considers abortion to be unethical. They didn’t think about it when his girlfriend became pregnant in high school. He stated it was difficult to condemn someone else for doing it because he knows there are homeless and mistreated children.

“It’s sad in both directions,” he added.

One protester had shown there by Tuesday afternoon, dressed in a green flowery jacket and green flats, praying and staring at the clinic’s security booth. Louis Padilla, the security guy inside, was keeping an eye on her. He occasionally steps outside to discuss her because she is a regular.

Padilla claimed to be a devout Catholic and a Republican, but that after working at the clinic for a period, he was converted to the clinic’s cause. He asserted that each woman has her own tale to tell, and who are guys like him to pass judgment? He mows the clinic’s yard, hangs the clinic’s flag, and repairs appliances when repairmen won’t come to an abortion clinic. He even spent his own money on a drone to keep an eye on the demonstrators outside.

It’s possible that the situation in Texas is only transitory. Opponents of the bill will have another chance to persuade a court to stop it during a hearing on Oct. 1. Other limitations, though, are on the horizon. There are five in Oklahoma, including one that requires abortionists to be board-certified obstetricians. If it goes into force on November 1 as planned, four of the eight doctors licensed to practice at Trust Women would be unable to do so.

Samerah was able to travel to the Oklahoma clinic with the support of financial assistance grants, which paid for her and her son’s plane tickets. Her abortion was also taken care of. Her companion had to pay for his own transportation. When he asked for time off, she said he was fired. She also lost salary for many days.

She believes that those who enacted the law did not understand the implications for women like her. Those officials, she claimed, arrive at work in “their car that starts right up and has a tire that isn’t flat.”

Meanwhile, she, her boyfriend, and her kid will return to Texas, fearful of not being able to pay their rent in October.

“I have to go home and figure out what I’m going to do for the following month, which is coming up in a few weeks. “Like, what am I going to do?” says the narrator.

Source of information (Yahoo News)