Greg Abbott Wants To Reopen Texas, But Keep The Abortion Clinics Closed
Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that he would be "reopening" the state in a number of ways, including allowing for some elective surgeries to resume. Unfortunately, procedural abortions will not be included in this, for reasons that almost definitely have nothing at all to do with keeping people safe from COVID-19.
On Friday, Governor Abbott explained that he would leave the question of when to allow abortion again up to the courts — which just recently decided that while the ban against medication abortion did not make any kind of sense, the state could freely ban most procedural abortions.
"Ultimately, obviously that will be a decision for courts to make," Abbott said, adding that an allowance for abortion is "not part of this order. The way that the order is written is in terms of what doctors write about the type of treatment that is provided." [...]
Abbott said his original order barring elective surgeries was based on data that forecast Texas would have "strained" hospital capacity and limited protective gear. Now, he said, there's "a great number of hospital beds that are vacant" and a new supply chain to obtain protective equipment that has been in high demand nationwide.
"We're very cautious, primarily because of the limited PPE [personal protective equipment] still for current hospital workers," he said. "Hence, it has opened up a little bit for more surgical procedures and for diagnostic tests — especially for those who may have serious illness — in ways that we do not think will compromise PPE supply and in ways that will ensure that there still will remain an adequate number of hospital beds for anybody who may test positive for COVID-19."
The thing is, the ban on procedural abortions is actually far more likely to exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 than to contain it. Why? Because people who want abortions will always find a way to get an abortion, and that is exactly what those with unwanted pregnancies in Texas are doing.
Clinics in Colorado and other nearby states are reporting a rush of patients coming in from Texas in hopes of being able to obtain an abortion.
While restrictions implemented by Republicans throughout the country mean it's not unusual for patients to travel long distances and to cross state lines to secure abortion care, the influx of patients from Texas is occurring even as many flights have been canceled and travel by car, bus, and train have become increasingly more difficult due to the social distancing restrictions put in place by COVID-19.
At one of Cobalt's partner clinics in Denver in recent weeks, 12 of the 14 out-of-state patients who sought treatment have been from Texas, according to Cobalt, formerly NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, which changed its name this year after splitting from the national organization. Similar trends are taking place at other clinics the group works with, said Amanda Carlson, director of the Cobalt Abortion Fund.
Officials at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM), which operates across Colorado, New Mexico, southern Nevada, and Wyoming, told Rewire.News the clinic has seen a 25 percent increase in calls from Texas as a result of Abbott's order.
Let's think about this for a second, shall we?
Which do you want people doing in the middle of a pandemic — getting abortions close to their homes, or traveling 12+ hours to go to another state, likely stay over night or at least stop to go to the bathroom a few times, get an abortion, and then drive back? The answer should be obvious. That much traveling is clearly a risk to people's health and safety.
And sure! I get it. These anti-choicers have a dream. A dream that if people can't get abortions safely and conveniently, that they just won't get them at all. That they will say "Eh! You know what? I think I'll just have this baby after all!" But, as usual, they are vastly underestimating the lengths people will go to when there is a fetus inside of them that they don't want to be there.
The irony of the "pro-life" movement has always been how many people they are willing to kill in order to potentially save one fetus — and that's become even more apparent in this climate.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse