Waiting for SCOTUS: Ten memorable moments in the fight against HB2

It’s official: Monday morning we will get an answer from the Supreme Court regarding our fight against the Texas omnibus HB2 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. We have been in this for three years now, ever since Wendy Davis made her historic filibuster. Now, years of small victories and devastating clinic closures are coming to some kind of an end that only Monday will tell.

Continue on to read some of our favorite moments along this journey, as we count down to the final announcement.

#10. When the ACLU of Texas accused the state of hiding evidence showing the real impact of HB2 

This happened just recently, but still deserves a spot on the list. The entire premise of the omnibus HB2, at least in the verbiage of Texas officials, was to protect ‘women’s health and safety.’ Well, the data has been collected and where is it? Have you seen it? No, and neither have we.

From the ACLU:

“The State of Texas claims that HB2 protects women’s health. If that’s true, why wouldn’t our public health agency want to trumpet its success?”

Good question.

#9 – We launched Shift., our non profit dedicated to fighting abortion stigma!

We have long touted that abortion stigma is what creates the climate for anti-choice laws to thrive. The silence and shame make room for public discourse that is harmful, full of fear, and simply untrue. Providing compassionate abortion care free of stigma has always been a cornerstone of our work at Whole Woman’s Health, and so it only made sense to expand that into a new non profit, Shift., that was launched in the spring of 2015.

 

We are proud of the work Shift. has done in just over a year – from implementing a Safe Abortion hotline for people seeking clarity on the laws and options, to a beautiful mural covering the exterior wall of Whole Woman’s Health of McAllen. Now, Shift. is looking forward and working to keep Texas clinics open, regardless of the SCOTUS outcome. Click here to help.

#8 – John Oliver’s amazing takedown of TRAP Laws

It pretty much made our year to hear our story being told in that delightful British accent. You can watch it again here:

#7 – The Truth Tour

Kicking off this past January, on the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, we embarked on a multi-city #FightBackTX Truth Tour to rally with Texas communities and remind ourselves that this is a journey that started in Texas. We were in excellent company – joined by coalition partners from NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Texas Freedom Network, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Shift., ACLU of Texas, as well as Lilith Fund, Texas Equal Access Fund, Clinic Access Support Network, South Texans for Reproductive Justice, West Fund, URGE, and more!

Over the course of those 2,000 miles, we watched students boldly perform the abortion stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign’s Out of Silence on the quad at Texas A&M. We marched down Main Street in McAllen yelling ‘BASTA!’, and we opened up our San Antonio clinic so local and national media could experience what expensive, stigmatizing, and unnecessary regulations actually looked like.

 

#6 – Listening to our physicians open up and advocate for abortion access

We don’t know a single person who works in abortion care for the paycheck. This is not a job for people who just want to punch in and out. We receive gratitude and thanks from the patients we serve and threats from people who want to make abortion illegal. Our physicians not excluded. We have been moved by their courage in coming forward and speaking openly about their work as abortion providers and are honored to work by their side.

That was my foundation: if there are no abortion providers, what’s going to happen to the women that need to access this health care, if people like me aren’t around? I’m not the only abortion provider in Texas, but there’s a small number of us, and I worried when I was in med school, if I don’t come back, who is going to provide abortions in Texas?

– Dr. Bhavik Kumar, The Texas Observer

 

Here’s where [HB2]’s intentional unworkability kicks in. To keep admitting privileges, I would have to admit a certain number of patients to the hospital. But abortion in the vast majority of cases is a simple and safe procedure, and very few patients ever require follow-up or emergency care afterward. So because the vast majority of my patients never needed follow-up care, I lost my privileges.

– Dr. Timothy Spurrell, Time

#5 – The Amicus Briefs

The Amicus, or ‘friend of the court’ briefs, are an opportunity for people to speak on behalf of us and our case, to paint for the court a full picture of the impact of these laws. The amicus briefs submitted by the Center for Reproductive Rights are some of the largest in number and breadth in the history of the Supreme Court. There are personal stories that that brought us to tears – experiences from doctors and lawyers and advocates from across the country. There are submissions from organizations we admire as well as from blue states and cities and policy makers.

These briefs are a passionate reminder that we are on the side of justice and autonomy and that this decision will have deeply personal and wide scale implications.

Click here to read the briefs.

#4 – TRAPPED

To have our struggles against these laws documented (by an amazing filmmaker, no less) and then to see them play out on the silver screen along with our colleagues throughout the South is indescribable. Yes, there were many, many tears, and we definitely experienced all the feels.

So often it seems like our efforts to stay open, to be there for our patients are invisible to those outside of abortion care. We hear it so often: ‘I had no idea this was happening until I became pregnant.’ Dawn Porter’s Trapped is a beautiful and moving answer to this problem. It has received glowing reviews from across the country, including winning the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival. Most recently, Trapped aired on PBS’ Independent Lens. You can stream the full film here.

#3 – The Rally at the Supreme Court

On the particularly chilly morning of March 2nd, we stood outside of the Supreme Court with thousands of allies and supporters, listening to stories from across the country. Yes it would have been amazing to gaze upon the glory that is RBG, but the Rally at the Supreme Court to Protect Abortion Access was an experience of a lifetime and definitely worth the trip.

 

#2 – The Oral Arguments

But also let’s be real – most of us would have given just about anything to have watched the Justices duke it out over abortion rights. And, according to the transcript and audio recordings, it was goooooooooood.

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#1 – Wendy Davis. The People’s Filibuster. The Orange Army. #FightBackTX.

This is where it started. Two special sessions. Two filibusters. A nationally trending hashtag. Those pink Mizunos. State officials said that they’ve never seen anything like it in all their time working at the Capitol.

These sessions brought new life and new faces to our movement, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without everyone who dropped what they were doing, put on their orange, and flooded the Capitol in outrage. You did this! You showed up. You fought back. And you ushered us to the Supreme Court.

Relive it again:

 

 

 

 

 

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Honorary mentions go to the SCOTUS Blog, where we will forever be #waitingforlyle, and decision day GIFs.

What do you think? Did we get it right? Did we miss anything? Let us know!

Top 10 Times WWH Spoke Out Like a BOSS (with gifs!)

We at Whole Woman’s Health are vocal. We’re vocal about abortion care. We’re vocal about stigma. We’re vocal about terrible anti-choice legislation and their sometimes-but-not-always equally terrible legislatures.  And, we’re vocal about keeping quality reproductive health care available in our communities. We’re so vocal in fact, our CEO started a new non-profit so we can continue to be vocal while also educating others about the space where abortion provision and abortion stigma meet.

This post is not about that though, it’s about the ten moments this legislative session where our Whole Woman’s Health posse vocalized our expertise and spoke out. We testified for and against bills, on behalf of our company and on behalf of fabulous coalition partners, in front of a human rights panels and at health conferences. See? Vocal.

Below are our ten favorite Whole Woman’s Health quotes from these past few months, in no particular order (and with gifs)..

“The current Woman’s Right to Know Act includes a mandate that forces medical providers to give their patients medically and scientifically inaccurate information, notwithstanding the doctor’s medical judgment or ethical obligations to his or her patient. This interference directly contradicts the physicians’ Hippocratic Oath to do no harm and allows lawmakers and special interest groups with no medical expertise to dictate to doctors how to practice medicine.”

Andrea Ferrigno, Corporate Vice President of Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against TX HB 708 on behalf of the Trust. Respect. Access. coalition. April 22, 2015

“Particularly because of the safety of abortion care, requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges is neither medically necessary nor reasonable.”

Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against NM SB 437. March 3, 2015.

“While HB 1648 may have the intention to bring the very serious matter of coercion to the surface, this bill not only perpetuates the widely debunked and dangerous myths about abortion, it also makes inaccurate assumptions about the decision making process women undergo when facing an unplanned pregnancy as well as the professional guidelines providers adhere to when offering this medical care.”

Fatimah Gifford, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against TX HB 1648 on behalf of the Trust. Respect. Access. coalition.

“Speak up and out, do not let anti-abortion rhetoric go unchallenged. Do not allow our opposition to hijack the moral high ground. I’d like a world where no person comes into my clinics thinking they are the only person they know who has had an abortion. Thinking they are the only Christian that has had an abortion. Thinking they are the only good parent who has had an abortion.”

Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, speaking at the Annual Meeting of the Abortion Care Network.

“Studies that contain inaccurate data should not inform the practice of medicine, nor should they be the basis of legislation.”

Fatimah Gifford, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against TX HB 1648 on behalf of the Trust. Respect. Access. coalition. April 29, 2015.

“I share their frustration and pain on a personal level, because it is impossible to ignore this injustice. We have to remember that even though 11 months ago HB2 shuttered our doors; it did nothing to take the need away. Texan women still sought abortion care yesterday- as they will continue to do today, tomorrow, and in the future as it is needed, no matter what community you are located in.”

Andrea Ferrigno, Corporate Vice President of Whole Woman’s Health, speaking a the Nuestro Texas Women’s Human Rights Hearing. March 9, 2015.

“Misinformation does not promote women’s health or safety.”

Fatimah Gifford, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against TX HB 1648 on behalf of the Trust. Respect. Access. coalition. April 29, 201 8.

“It is clear to me that some law makers in this country and in this state do not value health care in the same way as I do, as a fundamental human right.”  

Jane Laine, former Clinic Administrator of Whole Woman’s Health of the Twin Cities, testifying against MN HF 607 and 787. March 4, 2015.

“The record in that case reveals that many hospitals require an applicant for admitting privileges to meet a minimum admission requirement, which our physicians in Texas could not meet because the incidence of patient complications is so rare at Whole Woman’s Health clinics. This “Catch 22” makes it abundantly clear that these types of requirements have nothing to do with women’s health and safety—they are simply a disingenuous effort to cut off access for safe, legal, critical health care for women who have made the decision to end a pregnancy.”

Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against NM SB 437. March 3, 2015.

“Texas women and men deserve accurate information in all areas of their healthcare, as dictated by the medical profession and sound science.”

Andrea Ferrigno, Corporate Vice President of Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against TX HB 708 on behalf of the Trust. Respect. Access. coalition. April 22, 2015