Statement by Jennifer Pepper, CHOICES' executive director, on Texas SB8
September 1, 2021 – Today, the state of Texas’ Senate Bill 8 – one of the most extreme and restrictive anti-abortion laws in our country’s history – went into effect. While we hope that the federal Supreme Court intervenes this week to strike down this law, restrictions in Texas have moved forward to ban abortion services for individuals who are pregnant as early as six weeks. It also allows any person to file lawsuits against a physician or organization in Texas that provides abortion care or helps a patient obtain an abortion after six weeks.
Texas has a history of making unnecessary laws restricting abortion, which are designed to shame and stigmatize people’s health care decisions and to diminish abortion access. SB8 is another example of how Texas and other states across the U.S. remain fixated on banning abortions instead of using its legislative power to address major issues in their communities, such as Black maternal mortality, housing insecurity, Medicaid expansion, under-funded schools and the COVID-19 crisis.
Since the legislative bill was passed by the Texas Legislature and signed by Governor Abbott in May 2021, CHOICES has seen an uptick of outreach and visits from concerned patients living in Texas and neighboring states. Now, with this law in effect, Texans are forced to travel hundreds of miles out of state to other clinics, including CHOICES in Memphis, Tennessee. CHOICES already operates at limited capacity due to our own state’s restrictive laws on performing abortion care. And other independent abortion clinics in the region like CHOICES are in similar positions. While our capacity is limited, we welcome Texas patients, and they will receive the utmost care and respect that they deserve.
Abortion is safe and common, and all individuals should get care when they need it. We will continue to fight against SB8 and similar, unreasonable laws, and I urge the Supreme Court to strike down this law. I also encourage the public to join us in the fight by donating to Keep Our Clinics, which supports independent abortion clinics in Texas that are further vulnerable to closure due to this law. Texans can also visit AbortionFinder.org and Plan C Pills for more information and guidance on where they can access abortion care.
SB8 is a violation to people’s rights to make decisions for their own bodies. I want the people of Texas to know that we at CHOICES stands by them and that they should receive the health care they need without shame, unnecessary restrictions, or outside interference.
Jennifer Pepper, MBA