"We don't do that here": the new reality in Texas

February 26th, 2014

Categories: abortion providers, abortion restrictions, Funds, unfair laws

It's not the first time a woman has been forced to pawn her wedding ring to help pay for an abortion she needs. And it won't be the last.

As state legislatures continue banning abortion after 20 weeks, stories like Sarah Guler's, which Carolyn Jones tells in the Texas Observer this month, are becoming more and more common.

Sarah and her husband live in Texas. When she was 19 weeks pregnant, they received the devastating news that their baby had a brain condition that meant it would likely not survive birth. Moreover, because of the ban that went into effect last fall, they had only a week to find a doctor who could help them with their impossible choice. Sarah's own doctor was not able to help: "We don't do that here," he told her. In the end, they had no choice at all: they had to leave the state for an abortion.

And it was expensive. Costs quickly mounted far beyond their means:

"The procedure would cost $3,500, but because the Gulers were on Medicaid, the clinic reduced the fee to $1,750. Clinic staffers also gave her the contact information for the National Network of Abortion Funds, a donor organization that provided her with further financial aid.

But still, cash was a problem. Her husband had to take time off work to drive to Arkansas, and they would have to borrow money to fix their car, which wasn’t fit for the long journey. They needed money for gas and accommodations as well as for the procedure itself.

On the way out of town the evening of Dec. 26, still short of money, they stopped at a pawnshop. Sarah ventured inside and surrendered her wedding ring in exchange for cash."

No one should have to pawn a wedding ring just to get the health care they need. No one should have to risk eviction, or go without food, or go bankrupt simply because they need an abortion.

Yet this is the new reality in Texas.

This is why we organized the Texas Practical Support Convening in January. This is why abortion fund activists are participating in Bowl-a-Thon fundraisers across the country. This is why we need to work together to restore and expand public funding of abortion care.

You can help. You can join a Bowl-a-Thon team. You can sign the petition to repeal the Hyde Amendment and restore Medicaid coverage for abortion.

And you can donate to help ensure we can help more women like Sarah. You can make a difference.