Sunday, June 8, 2014

The New Underground Railroad

Fighting the new restrictions is not enough. That's going to take years, if not decades, and there are women literally dying for lack of access to an abortion every single day.

Eesha Pandit at In These Times:

The patient arrived in Houston at midnight after a seven-hour Greyhound trip from a small Texas town. With no money for a hotel, she spent the night in the bus station and took a cab to the clinic for her early morning appointment.

Susanna S., a member of the Houston- based Clinic Action Support Network (CASN), met her as she left the building. The patient was distressed, Susanna re- calls; she’d been unaware that she’d have to return two days later for her procedure, due to a mandatory waiting period. She wasn’t prepared for—and couldn’t pay for—the extra nights, nor the three bus tickets needed to get home and then back to the clinic.

The medical procedure was, of course, an abortion. No other healthcare procedure is so heavily regulated and politicized. And a new Texas law—House Bill 2(HB2)—has added a host of mandatory, medically unnecessary steps to the process of obtaining an abortion.

Among other restrictions, HB2 requires patients who undergo a common form of abortion—a “medical abortion,” via pill—to visit the clinic for each of the two doses of medication, rather than taking the second dose at home, as is typical. The law also re- quires a 14-day follow-up visit, in addition to the existing 24-hour waiting period between initial consultation and procedure for women who live within 100 miles of a clinic. That means medical abortions now require a minimum of four visits, if not more.

Angie Hayes, director of CASN, says that women often arrive unprepared for such a lengthy process. “Several times now we’ve had people show up from out of town, taking a bus, planning to sleep in the bus station, with no toiletries or change of clothes,” only to find out they’d have to wait for several days, she says.


That’s the impetus behind CASN, which was founded last summer in response to the new law, and aims to help Houston-area women clear the growing hurdles to abortion access.


The patient who arrived in Houston at midnight was able to get her abortion. CASN put her up in a hotel for the weekend. A CASN volunteer drove her to her Monday morning appointment, and, after she’d rested, Susanna took her back to the bus station. Susanna (who requested her last name not be used for her safety) recalls, “[The patient] said, ‘If I hadn’t met you at the clinic, I’d have spent the weekend at the bus station.’ She still texts me every week or two to let me know how she is doing, which tells me that the support CASN was able to provide made a real difference.”
Explain to me again why there aren't restrictions like this on Viagara-seeking men hell-bent on murdering billions of life-giving sperm.

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