September 10, 2021 

Washington State – The Department of Justice has just filed a lawsuit against Texas for passing Senate Bill 81 – the most extreme ban on abortion in the country2. On September 1, the passage of the Texas Senate Bill 8, instantly cut off abortion access for millions of people across the state and demonstrated the willingness of anti-choice lawmakers to take extreme action to prevent legal access to essential healthcare. The impact of Senate Bill 8 is immediate and devastating. Not only has it created a precedent for vigilante action against people seeking and providing abortion care, but it also established a blueprint for other conservative states that aim to roll back abortion rights. Already, lawmakers in at least half a dozen states, including Idaho, have announced their intention to pursue copycat bans. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced yesterday that the Department of Justice is suing Texas for S.B. 8 because it undermines the legal right to access abortion and violates the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause — wherein laws passed by the Federal government take precedence over laws enacted by state governments — and the 14th amendment.3 

Pro-Choice Washington Executive Director, Kia Guarino, released the following statement: 

“The passage of the Texas abortion ban demonstrated the willingness of anti-choice lawmakers to take extreme action to prevent legal access to essential healthcare. We are angered and heartbroken by these unacceptable developments. We stand in solidarity with our partners, fellow abortion rights advocates, and all women and men – in Texas and across the country – who believe reproductive rights are a fundamental human right. We are grateful that the U.S. Department of Justice is supporting people seeking abortion care in Texas and demonstrating a continued commitment to the right of individuals to decide whether to have a child. 

The passage of Texas Senate Bill 8 is also a rallying cry, shining a light on the slow roll back of reproductive rights that has been happening for many years. It has been incredibly encouraging to see so many women and men across the country answer that cry and stand up for the people of Texas and their right to abortion care. Today, we are most proud to be one of many dedicated activist groups confronting this violation of human rights. We know it is just the beginning; there is so much work to do at the state and community levels. We hope people across Washington state and the region will join hands with us against this unconstitutional and unacceptable action by conservative lawmakers.”

 

Actions people can take  

Donate to abortion funds in Texas  

Abortion funds fill gaps in access to care due to financial or geographic barriers. A few key abortion funds and organizations in Texas include Jane’s Due ProcessTexas Equal Access FundFrontera FundTexas ChoiceClinic Access Support NetworkThe Bridge CollectiveThe Lilith Fund, and Whole Woman’s Health. 

Donate to abortion funds in the Pacific Northwest 

These abortion funds similarly fill essential gaps in our region, including our partners at the Northwest Abortion Access Fund (NWAAF)  

Donate to Pro-Choice Washington and/or become a member activist in Washington state 

Through long-term grassroots activism Pro-Choice Washington has built and maintained a pro-choice majority in our state legislature, and passed progressive reproductive health legislation, such as state-mandated insurance coverage for abortion and medically accurate sex education. At Pro-Choice Washington, we unapologetically support abortion access for all people. Texas Senate Bill 8 and the surrounding narrative is designed to stoke fear and to silence the majority that supports reproductive freedom. The time is now to be bold and outspoken in support of abortion care.   

There is still a lot more work to be done to ensure that all people in Washington State have equitable access to abortion care, and we need your help. You can support our state-level activism by donating here or by joining our membership to learn how to take action in your own community. 

Get involved in legislative and electoral advocacy where you live.  

Texas Senate Bill 8 is an example of how the fight for abortion and reproductive healthcare access is focused on the state and local level. No matter where you live, abortion access is an issue you can help shape through your local ballot. Everyone can and should do their research and contact their local leaders to find out where candidates and elected officials stand on abortion access.   

Leaders, like state legislators and city councilors, determine key factors to reproductive freedom: funding for family planning; services available to patients; public transportation available to and from clinics; telemedicine access via robust broadband infrastructure; and local law enforcement responses to anti-abortion violence.   

Challenge abortion stigma: talk about abortion within your community.  

Abortion is fundamental, vital, and life-saving healthcare. Treating it as anything less causes harmful bias and can create barriers for patients seeking life-saving care. Equip yourself to have thoughtful and bold conversations on these issues. It is time to speak up for our rights. 

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Sources:  

  1. Here’s What the Texas Abortion Law Says, The New York Times, September 9, 2021. 
  2. Justice Department files suit against Texas, seeking to block new abortion law CBS News, September 9, 2021. 
  3. Biden Administration Sues Texas Over Abortion Ban, Forbes, September 9, 2021 
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