In our view, the efforts of the Republican Party to prevent Texas women from accessing quality reproductive care from Planned Parenthood-affiliated clinics in Texas is the latest roadblock for women who have been given the least opportunities to better their position. Rick Perry has embraced a flawed philosophy that more restrictive laws will change a woman’s mind about whether or not to have an abortion.
Let’s consider a more realistic scenario for low-income women: Imagine that a baby girl is born into a family with few resources. This girl attends a public elementary school in a low-income neighborhood, where property taxes are low and the schools are failing.
Teachers at her school have no time to give her the attention and support she needs to thrive, because they are already stretched thin by overcrowded classrooms and under-supervised pupils.
When she goes home in the afternoons, she is left to her own devices, as her parents are working multiple jobs to make ends meet. A boy in her class asks her to hang out, and thanks to a variety of factors – including culture, lack of parental involvement and abstinence-only sex education – this young woman ends up pregnant.
Flash-forward to age 23: Our girl is single and raising two young children on her own. The Texas Legislature has again cut the budget for the Texas Women’s Program she relies on for free breast cancer screenings, birth control and pap smears, and the local women’s clinic she frequented was forced to close.
Now, the Planned Parenthood clinic she switched to is being threatened. In order to receive care and the birth control she relies on for endometriosis and pregnancy prevention, she is facing the prospect of losing valuable paying hours at work in order to travel 10 miles by bus after waiting three weeks, maybe more, for an appointment.
This vignette is not far from the true story of many Texas women’s lives. Access to the most basic gynecological care is being made more and more inconvenient by those who claim to be fighting for the lives of unborn children.
We believe these people, though they mostly have good intentions, are ignorant of the reality of what happens to women like the one described in the story above. More abortions, not less, will result from making it harder to get contraceptives and reproductive care.
Changes in culture and morality cannot come about from worsening the conditions of the lives of those in need, no matter how hard portions of the privileged population wish it to be so. Culture is not that simple because people are not that simple.
We want to help women get the health care they need from the provider they trust and choose. We want to put a stop to the political games. Republicans supposedly want the elderly to get quality health care from providers they feel comfortable with, so why not women?
We stand for policies that treat Texas women respectfully. We ask the Texas Legislature to stand with Texas women, too.