#FlashbackFriday: Watch the Whole Woman’s squad speak @ the Supreme Court!

We don’t know about you, but we’re still just recovering from last week’s oral arguments and Supreme Court rally! It’s been tough getting back into the day-to-day now that we’re no longer prepping for the biggest reproductive rights case of our generation (although now we’re playing the waiting game again as we look toward the Justices for a decision).

So, it’s understandable that we’d be spending the week reliving the moment by going back through Twitter and Instagram feeds, and re-watching the rally recordings. Our Whole Woman’s Health squad had the honor of speaking several times throughout the program, and we’ve gathered them all below for your Friday viewing pleasure ūüôā

Amy Hagstrom Miller, President & CEO:

 

Dr. Bhavik Kumar, Physician @ Whole Woman’s Health:

 

Andrea Ferrigno, Corporate Vice President:

 

Marva Sadler, Director of Clinical Services:

 

You can watch the rally in its entirety here and scroll down for the entire list of speakers!

Below is the complete list of speakers:

“I’ve learned to be stronger by witnessing their strength” – Andrea Ferrigno’s speech on the steps of the Supreme Court

Good Morning Everyone,

My name is Andrea Ferrigno, I am the corporate vice president for Whole Woman’s Health. Like my colleagues here to, we are grateful that so many of you have come to bear witness as we bring our case to the Supreme Court. It’s been quite a journey.

As a Hispanic immigrant from Latin America, I have witnessed firsthand the grave importance of having access to safe, legal abortion care in an environment where women’s voices matter. That is why I am committed to this work both on a professional and personal level.

I have done just about every job at Whole Woman’s Health, and I can tell you what it means to provide compassionate, quality abortion care. to do this work in Texas, where so many Latinas and immigrants like me are struggling to get the health care we need, is personal.

I am proud to be able to talk to patients in their preferred language, to listen to them and hold their hand. I have the privilege to sit next to women as they share their stories with me, and honor their most inner struggles with spirituality, fear, love, life and parenthood.

I am truly humbled and inspired by their resilience.

But I have also seen firsthand how laws like HB2 can force clinics to shut down. I’ve had to sign the construction orders for costly work to comply with medically unnecessary TRAP regulations.

Not only have they tried to shut down our clinics, they’ve tried to stop us from creating the warm and friendly atmosphere our patients deserve. They want to make our spaces cold, sterile, and scary. I watched with sadness as they told us we could no longer provide the soothing space our patients are grateful for. Again, there is no medical reason for these rules. Instead, they are simply a way for politicians to reach in and interfere with how we provide care, with how we show women that we love them, value them, and trust them.

I think about the woman that on the phone begged me to see her even though our clinic was shut down by this law, I still hear her desperation telling me: “Please, please, I won’t tell anyone. Why won’t you help me, please?!’

Or the woman that became pregnant while starting her chemotheraphy treatment for ovarian cancer. Her own physician refused to help her terminate the pregnancy because of fear of repercussion from the anti-choice board members of his hospital. She came to us the day HB2 was enacted and we couldn’t see her.

There are so many stories just as compelling, and it is by listening to women’s stories that I’ve learned to be a better person; I’ve been humbled by their wisdom, and I’ve learned to be stronger by witnessing their strength. I share their frustration and pain on a personal level, because it is impossible to ignore this injustice. We have to remember that these laws don’t end abortions, it ends safe abortions.

Every day I see the impact of onerous, medially unnecessary abortion restrictions on the lives of the women who come to our clinics.

But working for Whole Woman’s Health, I’ve also seen what is possible. What it looks like to respect and support our patients and provide compassionate care. It is transformations and is the reason why we are here today. I look forward to the Supreme Court deciding on the side of justice so that I can keep doing the work that I love.

I stated 16 years ago that this is my calling, what God would want me to do. I’m not stopping, are you?

30 GIFs that summarize our feelings as we wait for SCOTUS to announce if they will hear our case.

As many are aware, we have spent the last few years ping-ponging back and forth between local courts and the regional Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals fighting against the onerous HB2. Currently many abortion clinics in Texas are only open through the grace of the Supreme Court, who placed a hold on select provisions of the law. This has prevented the provisions from taking effect and has also lead to a TRAP purgatory of sorts Рone in which we are both thankful for the ability to care for our patients but also spend our days in uncertainty.

Last month we petitioned SCOTUS to set a date and end this battle. On behalf of clinics in besieged states across the US, we want to know what specifically constitutes as undue burden and why aren’t lawmakers required to provide factual evidence to support their claim that these laws preserve the ‘health and safety of women’ when all research points to the contrary.

Any day now we are expecting to hear from the Supreme Court as to whether they will take our case, Whole Woman’s Health vs. Cole. If they do and we win – states would no longer be able to pass legislation requiring clinics and people seeking abortion care to jump through flaming hoops of bullsh*t nonsense in order to provide and access healthcare.

If the Supreme Court announces that they do not wish to hear the case, or if they do hear the case and we lose, the laws would go into effect immediately in Texas, forcing all but a handful of clinics to shut down and we would see an immediate tidal wave of similar, possibly more restrictive anti-abortion laws flood the rest of the country.

These options would majorly change how abortion care is provided and accessed in this country, and here at Whole Woman’s Health we are definitely feeling that pressure.

We’ve bitten our nails down to the bone over the last week, knowing that each day could bring a potential announcement.

https://i2.wp.com/www.reactiongifs.com/r/nrvs.gif

At work, it’s difficult to focus..

cat day cats office computers

Everything feels like such a struggle.

Fox TV animals office bathroom stuck

We hate to admit it, but sometimes it’s just hard to keep it together.

sad angry crying work cry

We find ourselves obsessively refreshing the SCOTUS blog for updates.

suspense

It’s hard not to feel like this little duck family – they just want to cross the street and we just want to provide constitutionally protected, essential health care services.

suspense

But until the decision to hear our case is announced, we will continue to float in metaphorical space just like this astronaut dog floating in actual space.

dog space confused zero gravity i have no idea what im doing

And if SCOTUS chooses not to hear our case, forcing mass clinic shutdowns and a resulting wave of harmful trap laws this will basically be us:

angry drinking alcohol frustrated anderson cooper

rage anime

computer monkey frustrated laptop baboon

But they wouldn’t… they have to take the case… right?

confused decision larry david conflicted

nicki minaj what confused wut huh

It would be silly not to. There is too much at stake, obviously.

reaction obama confused wut huh

But seriously, the suspense.

community frustrated upset shirley the lord is testing me

And the anti-choice arguments that these restrictions are to protect health and safety of women is total garbage just doesn’t cut it when you stack up the evidence.

tim burton eye roll beetlejuice halloween movie miss argentina

viola davis how to get away with murder unimpressed

It’s exhausting – explaining to people that fancy buzz words that look good on paper, like ‘ambulatory surgical center’ and ‘admitting privileges’ actually decrease the quality of care and make it more difficult to operate.

mind blown cecily strong

tired sleepy sleep hamster

tired i'm tired

parks and recreation amy poehler drinking beer alcohol

But if the announcement is made that we’ll be going to the highest court in the land, you can be confident that we’ll bring our Cookie-approved A-game to DC.

Fox TV empire cookie lyon shoe porsha

Empire FOX empire season 2 premiere 2x01

Fox TV empire finale cookie cookie lyon

Empire FOX empire emmys taraji empirefox

And if we win, we’ll have a hard time holding in our excitement.

snl no maya rudolph nsfw not safe for work

beyonce attitude

yes celebrate celebrating jane the virgin woo hoo

Lisa Vertudaches animation happy pink bunny

dancing jimmy fallon kevin bacon footloose kevin bacon tonight show

Until then we’ll be crossing our fingers that a hopeful announcement will come in the next few days..

giphy

Whole Woman’s Health at the NLIRH 20th Anniversary Gala!

Last night Whole Woman’s Health attended the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health’s¬†20th Anniversary Gala in Washington DC! We have always been a huge fan of the work they do mobilizing and elevating¬†the Latina community across the U.S., and have had the pleasure of working with them¬†in the past on events like the Women’s Human Rights Hearing for Nuestro Texas in¬†March.

The gala was fabulous! We were surrounded by so many of the reproductive justice movement’s shining lights and¬†watched as many of our SHEroes were honored for and spoke about the¬†importance of this work, including Dolores Huerta, the Honorable Lucy Flores from Nevada, and NLIRH Executive Director¬†Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas!

Scroll down for more photos and quotes from the event!

Watching a video from our Whole Woman's Health of McAllen clinic during the Nuestro Texas 'A Women's Human Rights Hearing' events last March in the Rio Grande Valley.
Watching a video from our Whole Woman’s Health of McAllen clinic during the Nuestro Texas ‘A Women’s Human Rights Hearing’ events in the Rio Grande Valley.

“Reproductive justice is a struggle for dignity.”

РJessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Executive Director, NLIRH

NLIRH Executive Director Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas
“Even when we lose, we win. We are mas ponderosas!”¬†NLIRH Executive Director Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas

“Every woman has the right to determine how many children she has for herself.”

“We really have to grow our movement. We know that state after state are passing laws. We really have got to be organizers.”

-Dolores Huerta, President, The Dolores Huerta Foundation

Dolores Huerta speaking at the NLIRH 20th Anniversary Gala
Dolores Huerta speaking at the NLIRH 20th Anniversary Gala

#NLIRH20

Whole Woman’s Health Opens its Doors in New Mexico, Starts Advocacy Initiative

New Mexico

On September 15th, we will open our doors to the women of New Mexico with a new clinic in Las Cruces.  We will begin serving women not only from southern New Mexico, but also Juarez, Mexico and surrounding areas. The new health center will continue Whole Woman’s Health’s tradition of providing holistic, quality, woman-centered abortion care, counseling and education.  This opening expands our company to a fourth state, joining clinics in Texas, Maryland, and Minnesota.

Whole Woman’s Health of New Mexico not only opens up access to abortion care in southern¬†New Mexico and Juarez, but it also gives access to women in El Paso and the swaths of West Texas that have lost access to abortion care because of House Bill 2. We will be the only National Abortion Federation certified clinic in the area, and for New Mexico residents, we will be accepting¬†state Medicaid. Since New Mexico has no TRAP laws on its books, we’re able to do same-day procedures at this facility as opposed to the 2-day procedures required in Texas, and we will go up to 18 weeks of pregnancy.

Today we also announced a full non-profit advocacy initiative that will work to change¬†the national conversation and reduce the stigma surrounding abortion, and will educate people on the right that women have to safe, affordable abortion care in the United States. There’s no better organization for educating the public on how necessary abortion care is in a broad spectrum of reproductive healthcare.

Anti-Choice Groups Caught on Tape Admitting to Harassment, Stalking Tactics

This morning, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas released a video¬†with Progress Texas that contains audio clips of anti-choice groups at an activist training in Austin (“Keeping Abortion Facilities Closed”)¬†admitting to using stalking techniques at abortion clinics to intimidate staff and patients alike. One official from Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas, Karen Garnett, detailed the way in which they collect license plate numbers to keep track of who is coming in and out of the clinic.

‚ÄúYou track license plates coming into any abortion facility. We have a very sophisticated spreadsheet,” Garnett says. “This way you can track whether or not a client comes back.‚ÄĚ

10552613_10152587324359407_4675751362520526073_n
A screenshot of the video released this morning. (NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Progress Texas)

Former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned anti-choice activist Abby Johnson discussed how her group rooted through appraisal district records in the Austin area, discovering the location of an ASC where an Austin physician plans on moving his abortion care practice.

Johnson, who left her position as a clinic director in 2009 and became a poster child for the anti-choice movement, thinks that her and her colleagues’ shameful tactics have been effective in scaring abortion providers.

‚ÄúWe know where he will be moving if he loses the case,” says Johnson. “These abortionists are feeling the pressure from the pro-life movement in Texas. I think they feel like they‚Äôre on the run. And that‚Äôs how we want to keep it.‚ÄĚ

As clinics shut their doors throughout Texas, anti-choice activists are honing in on the last remaining places that women are able to go for safe, legal abortion care. Not only do women have to conquer an uphill battle when trying to access care in their state, they now have to face harassment, stalking, and intimidation from so-called sidewalk counselors that want to force them into unwanted pregnancy.

ClinicViolence
Stats from the National Abortion Federation. (National Abortion Federation)

Unfortunately, these¬†tactics are not new. Anti-choice activists have a long history of violence and harassment directed at abortion providers. In a collection of data featured on the¬†National Abortion Federation’s (NAF) clinic violence page, abortion providers have routinely faced incidents like¬†murder,¬†fire-bombing,¬†extreme vandalism, bomb threats, and much more. You can view all reported¬†clinics threats¬†here, though NAF¬†notes that the number of incidents is likely higher.

These tactics employed by the anti-choice movement are used¬†as a means of forcing women to be unable to¬†make decisions about their own bodies, families, and lives. The groups involved in “Keeping Abortion Facilities Closed” may consider¬†their tactics to be¬†non-violent, but they are actively creating¬†an¬†environment in which harassment and intimidation¬†are¬†not only encouraged but are¬†the norm, and it¬†can¬†validate¬†actions¬†that lead to¬†potentially¬†lethal¬†consequences.

Whole Woman’s Health Takes Texas to Court over HB 2.

022953692_federal-courthouse-austin-texas
(Photo via Austin Chronicle).

The trial in our second challenge to Texas’ unconstitutional abortion restrictions will begin at 9AM CT (10AM EST) on Monday, August 4, 2014 in United States District Court in Austin.  We expect the trial to conclude on Thursday, August 7, 2014.

Whole Woman’s Health v Lakey¬†is the second challenge to Texas‚Äô House Bill 2 (HB2), sweeping anti-choice legislation that was passed last summer and has already shuttered clinics across the state and left women with extremely limited health care options. This lawsuit seeks to block the admitting privileges requirement specifically as it applies to Whole Woman‚Äôs Health in McAllen and Reproductive Services in El Paso‚ÄĒtwo clinics that are among the last, if not the only, reproductive health care providers offering safe, legal abortion care in their communities. The second suit also seeks to strike HB2‚Äôs provision that every reproductive health care facility offering abortion services meet the same building requirements as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), a provision scheduled to take effect in September 2014 that would leave fewer than 10 clinics in Texas and force many women to endure a roundtrip of more than a thousand miles or cross state lines to access safe and legal abortion services.

The trial will happen before Judge Lee Yeakel at the United States District Court in Austin at 501 West Fifth Street¬†as it did with our first trial¬†last October. Judge Yeakel will decide that morning whether electronic devices are allowed inside of the courtroom, though it’s likely they’ll¬†only be allowed for taking notes and not for Internet access.¬†

Watch our Twitter feed for live updates on the trial as we get them, as well as our Facebook page and this blog for more as we fight back against this law with help from the Center for Reproductive Rights and others. #FightBackTX