Living in Lubbock, Texas, one can’t help but notice the lack of trees, the abundance of wind and how far the city is from everything—including abortion services.
Lubbock, once ranked the second most conservative city in the nation, lost its Planned Parenthood and only abortion provider after Texas’ draconian abortion bill, HB 2, was signed into law by then-Governor Rick Perry. Even though the TRAP law was struck down in 2016, the clinic never re-opened. Now, residents seeking abortion services must travel more than 300 miles to the nearest provider.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Lubbock residents are not alone. Ten Texas cities with a population more than 50,000 do not have an abortion provider within 100 miles. Because each of these cities serve as hubs for abortion care for rural women in the state, that means Texas is effectively an abortion desert.
The Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, The Afiya Center, Fund Texas Choice, Lillith Fund, Texas Equal Access Fund, West Fund and Dr. Bhavik Kumar filed a lawsuit this month in federal court challenging current abortion restrictions in Texas.
The coalition is challenging policies that have already been deemed unconstitutional—laws with targeted regulation of abortion providers, laws denying abortion patients the benefits of scientific progress, restrictions that shame and punish those seeking abortion, laws forcing parent involvement in cases of minors seeking abortion and laws that threaten abortion providers with arrest or jail.
“With this historic lawsuit,” Amanda Williams, executive director of the Lilith Fund, said in a press call, “we look forward to sharing our clients stories of how the layering of these anti-abortion laws are uniquely designed to work together to shame, burden and prevent people in Texas from having the ability to take control of their own lives and their own futures.”
During the same press call, Marsha Jones, executive director and co-founder fo the Afiya Center, stressed how imperative bringing these policies to an end was by stating the right to abortion in Texas had become a reproductive justice issue due through economic and racial disparities creating an ever growing obstacle of barriers. Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of the Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, emphasized that the coalition believes safe, quality abortion care should be available to all Texans.
“No one should be shut out because of who they are, where they live or how much money they earn,” Hagstrom Miller said. “When politicians push abortions out of reach it interferes with our freedom to control our decisions and our futures.”