The only infograph you need to understand what’s at stake with WWH v. Hellerstedt (via Refinery29)

Any day now the Supreme Court Justices will hand down a decision regarding our case against Texas HB 2, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. With only eight justices on the bench, there are multiple scenarios that could play out in a case that, for better or worse, will impact abortion access across the country.

Refinery29 put together this comprehensive infograph to help understand how these different rulings will ultimately impact access where you live:

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You can read the full article from Refinery29 here.

Statement from Amy Hagstrom Miller: “Today, my heart is filled with hope”

Hello, My name is Amy Hagstrom Miller, Founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health. We are the lead plaintiff in this case. I own and operate 8 high quality independent abortion care clinics in 5 states – Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico and Maryland.

Today is an exciting day for Whole Woman’s Health. We have been fighting this draconian law since 2013. After a series of appeals and emergency injunctions, here we are today, having heard from the highest court of the land that they will hear our case. I want to thank the Center for Reproductive Rights for continuing to partner with our organization in our continued fight to stand up for the reproductive rights for the women of Texas.

Today, my heart is filled with hope. Although this is the first step in a much longer process, I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will uphold the rights that have been in place for four decades and reaffirm that every woman should be able to make her own decision about continuing or ending a pregnancy. I have hope for my staff members, who, for years, have poured themselves into providing Texas women with high-quality and comprehensive reproductive health care. And most of all, I have hope for the families and communities all across Texas who now may be able to get the safe and comprehensive care they need from a clinic they trust.

This law is causing real harm to women across the state of Texas, and has been since 2013 – it’s creating higher costs, longer delays, and extra steps for women seeking abortion care, and in the process punishing women for their decision to exercise their constitutional right to end a pregnancy. A woman should be able to access the safe and legal abortion services she needs regardless of her zip code.

By forcing clinics to close, Texas legislators have multiplied the barriers women face when they need an abortion. Texas women are forced to go to multiple and unnecessary visits at clinics that are now farther away, take more days off of work, losing income, find childcare, and arrange and pay for transportation for hundreds of miles. For many women, the process of obtaining safe and legal health care has simply become unfeasible. No one should be denied safe and compassionate care based on her zip code, but that’s exactly what this law does. Legislators are effectively forcing these women to carry their pregnancies to term against their will.

Take for example a woman from Lubbock. Prior to HB 2, her community had a clinic. With the enactment of HB 2, she faced a 230 mile, 4.5 hour trip – EACH WAY – just to get a first trimester abortion. She was a working, single mother of 3 without healthcare. She faced layers of barriers – including find gas money for the drive and child care for the day she would be away. In the end she was pushed into the later second trimester and finally was unable to obtain the abortion she wanted.

Or take for another example a woman who visited our McAllen clinic on the Texas-Mexico border. Unfortunately she was scheduled for an appointment the day after HB 2 first went into effect. After HB 2 her appointment was immediately canceled. She was devastated by the absurdity of this law – noting immediately that if she had come just yesterday the same MD and staff would have been able to help her. She reached out to our hotline and said: “I will terminate this pregnancy. So how about I tell you what I have in my cupboards, under my sink and in my medicine cabinet and you tell me what to use and how to use it in order to do my own abortion.”

It’s stunning to hear stories like these, but that is exactly what is at stake. If the Supreme Court does not stop this deceptive, politically driven law we will hear more stories like these.

In 2003, Whole Woman’s Health made a commitment to provide quality and holistic reproductive health care in Texas. This is a commitment we intend to keep. To the women of Texas: Now, more than ever, we are here for you. We have been betrayed by legislators and vilified by anti-choice extremists, but we are still here for you, and are confident that justice will be on our side.  We are honored to stand up for Texas women and families and bring this case to the highest court in the land.

Amy Hagstrom Miller
President & CEO of Whole Woman’s Health

Andrea Ferrigno on Being Forced to Close Our Doors in McAllen Once Again [VIDEO]

Yesterday the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the provisions of House Bill 2 that have decimated abortion access in Texas to a mere 8 clinics for a state of over 26 million people. Last month, we were able to reopen our McAllen clinic after getting an injunction in our first trial, restoring access to the people of the Rio Grande Valley even if it was short-lived. MSNBC did a video segment on our clinic’s reopening and how important it was, and released it today after we were forced to shut our doors again. You can watch it here.

Our Corporate Vice President, Andrea Ferrigno, worked tirelessly to get the clinic back up and running again, and wrote a statement today on having to close the clinic again. Here is her statement:

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Whole Woman’s Health Corporate Vice President Andrea Ferrigno (MSNBC)

Good morning, my name is Andrea Ferrigno and I am currently the Corporate Vice President with Whole Woman’s Health where I’ve worked for over a decade offering holistic abortion care. However, I have not always held this position. I actually began my career in Reproductive healthcare over 15 years ago working with a provider that offered obstetrics, gynecology and abortion care in the Rio Grande Valley for over 40 years where our clinic is located today. This location being a landmark for comprehensive healthcare is why I felt so thrilled about Judge Yeakel’s injunction nearly a month ago. I was passionate about returning to my community to personally facilitate re-opening our clinic that had to previously cease providing abortion services in October, 2013 – all direct byproducts of House Bill 2.

At that moment, it was and still is important to me to be on the ground to directly help women and families in the Rio Grande Valley access safe, professional abortion care.

The first day we reopen our doors in McAllen, we helped over 20 women; it was astounding to see the faces and hear individual stories of how they were connected to our clinic. How Whole Woman’s Health has remained a vital staple in that community. It was refreshing and inspiring for us to us to do our due diligence to keep providing the care that the valley so desperately needs and deserves.  And every week since the injunction, nearly 30-40 women have visited our clinic in McAllen.

Seeing firsthand what HB2 has done, not only to our clinic, but to the women of the Rio Grande Valley and all of Texas is absolutely infuriating. I’ve worked directly with women from the valley for nearly a month and I hear their stories. I have explained the Texas laws to them through their confusion. They have acknowledged our staff and physicians and expressed appreciation for us continuing to fight for their health care options as well as remaining in their communities despite the legal interference.

What we have to remember is that even though 6 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 no matter what community you are located in.

That is the reason why we, at Whole Woman’s Health, are committed to this fight.

I am so proud and honored to be able to work with a team of skilled staff, physicians, nurses, and volunteers who respect every woman’s experience, values, family and community. It’s a shame that our Texas politicians can’t do the same. In the end, it’s hurting thousands of Texans and perpetuating a cycle that eliminates empowerment and prevents women and their families from planning and choosing what is best for their lives, and this harassment has to stop

Thank you for the opportunity to share on behalf of the women that we serve.

Thank you.

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Friends, Advocates, and Patients,

First of all, thank you. Thank you to everyone who joined Whole Woman’s Health and NARAL Pro-Choice Texas at the Texas Capitol yesterday, sending a sea of tangerine-colored shirts as a message to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee that reproductive healthcare matters to women. Whether you testified, tweeted, took photos, contacted your senator, or listened to testimony, you helped our cause; you helped and represent the women of Texas. 

A vote has been held with the HHSC committee, and therefore our fight against these erroneous and restrictive measures is far from over. Senate Bill 5 was voted out of committee, meaning that the Senate will have a debate and vote on the floor on Tuesday. Each one of these legislators needs to hear our voices. Their votes determine whether women in Texas face a public health crisis or not in the next year.

We want just as many or more tangerine-clad allies to help us quietly protest these bills in the Senate Chamber. We want to let these senators know that passing restrictive laws on abortion care is not what Texans need.  

WWH will let you know when this hearing schedule is fully posted so that we can create a plan of action. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates on these bills. 

Thank you again for all of your support. Each and every one of you is an important ally in ultimately helping women receive the care they need. Join us as we move onward. 

 Sincerely,

Whole Woman’s Health

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