‘Chaos, Confusion and Crisis’: Marking a Full Year of Texas’ Six-Week Abortion Ban

For one year, countless Texans have been forced to carry pregnancies against their will.

An abortion rights activist holds up signs during a rally on June 25, 2022, in Austin, Texas. (Sergio Flores / Getty Images)

Editor’s note: Medication abortion is legal, safe and available in all 50 states. The organization Plan C has a comprehensive guide to finding abortion pills on their website, which is continually updated and has all the latest information on where to find abortion pills from anywhere in the U.S. 

It’s been two months since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and ended the federal constitutional right to an abortion—but we can’t forget that Texans like me have been suffering for much longer.

For one year, abortion after around six weeks of pregnancy has been banned in Texas. For one year, people like me have been forced to find the time, money and resources to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles out of state, if they can, to access healthcare. And if they can’t, for one year, countless Texans have been forced to carry pregnancies against their will, with profound medical risks and life-altering consequences.

I have always wanted to be a mother, so two years ago, when I found out I was pregnant I was ecstatic. The pregnancy wasn’t planned, but I never doubted my decision and my love for my future daughter. 

My pregnancy was relatively easy, but complications arose when I was induced at 41 weeks and long past ready to give birth. While in excruciating pain, I eventually agreed to get an epidural, then a second epidural once the first stopped working. However, shortly after, my daughter’s heart rate skyrocketed to a dangerous level and within five minutes, my doctor told me that my only option was an emergency C-section.

My daughter was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. It was a relief to hear her cry.

I wish I could call her birth beautiful, but in reality, it was terrifying and traumatic. I lost a lot of blood. My pressure dropped, my arms went numb, and my lips turned blue. My now-husband has called it the scariest moment of his life. I’m grateful that I survived and was able to take her home a few days later.

Being a new mother came with its own challenges as I struggled with postpartum depression. My baby was well taken care of, but I started neglecting myself. My struggles also took a strain on my marriage, leading us to take a brief separation before eventually reconciling. 

That’s when I found out I was pregnant again. Our daughter was only six months old and both my marriage and mental health were incredibly fragile. I didn’t think I could survive another pregnancy so soon—physically or mentally.

Last October, after going to Planned Parenthood to figure out my options, I learned that just one month earlier, Texas politicians had banned abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. I was exactly at the six-week mark. 

We initially decided to continue the pregnancy, but my depression only worsened. I was tired all the time, we were barely making ends meet, and with my milk supply drastically dwindling due to the pregnancy hormones, I could not care for my daughter properly. 

I had to commit to being the best mother possible to the daughter I already had and to working on my marriage, and I knew that I could not continue the pregnancy.

Because of Texas’ abortion ban, I was forced to travel 231 miles round trip to Louisiana. My parents drove me to Shreveport and back twice: once for the initial and mandatory counseling appointment, then again a week later for the actual procedure.

It’s been nine months now and not once have I regretted my decision. My mental health is the best it’s ever been, my 18-month-old daughter and my marriage are thriving, and I’m finally starting to feel like the person I was before I gave birth. I’m glad my daughter has the mother she has today. 

I don’t think I would have survived if I was forced to carry that pregnancy to term, but forced pregnancy and forced birth are exactly what hundreds of Texans have been subjected to over the past year—and it’s the fate of millions of people across the country now that 16 states and counting, including Texas and Louisiana, have enacted bans and additional restrictions on abortion since the fall of Roe

My abortion story isn’t uncommon and neither is yours. No matter your story and no matter your reason, we must boldly speak out and work together to push back against these harmful laws that strip us of our rights, our bodily autonomy, and our dignity. The majority of Americans support access to safe and legal abortion, and we cannot allow out-of-touch politicians and judges to control our personal medical decisions.

It’s been chaos, confusion and crisis in Texas since Sept. 1, 2021, but Texas was always just the beginning. Now that Roe is overturned, let my state’s grim one-year marker be your wake-up call and motivation to get involved wherever you are. Whether it’s volunteering, donating, protesting or voting, we all have a role to play in the fight for reproductive freedom. Our lives, our bodies and our families are at stake, and the stakes could not be higher. I should know.

U.S. democracy is at a dangerous inflection point—from the demise of abortion rights, to a lack of pay equity and parental leave, to skyrocketing maternal mortality, and attacks on trans health. Left unchecked, these crises will lead to wider gaps in political participation and representation. For 50 years, Ms. has been forging feminist journalism—reporting, rebelling and truth-telling from the front-lines, championing the Equal Rights Amendment, and centering the stories of those most impacted. With all that’s at stake for equality, we are redoubling our commitment for the next 50 years. In turn, we need your help, Support Ms. today with a donation—any amount that is meaningful to you. For as little as $5 each month, you’ll receive the print magazine along with our e-newsletters, action alerts, and invitations to Ms. Studios events and podcasts. We are grateful for your loyalty and ferocity.

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Jessica G. is a mother of one and abortion rights advocate living in South Texas.