As the founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, it’s the right thing to do.

As soon as I heard Hurricane Harvey was coming to wreak havoc on Texas, I decided to offer free abortion care at Texas Whole Woman’s Health clinics to women affected by the storm. As independent abortion care providers rooted in the communities we serve, we stand up for the people who need us most. We did it after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, we did it for Hurricane Rita in September 2005, and we did it for Hurricane Ike in September 2008. Until the end of September, we’ll be doing it again for those affected by Harvey. This is who we are, and this is what we do.

In trying times like these, I remember something one of my fellow reproductive rights warriors told me years ago. We were tangled in a Supreme Court case to fight Texas’ TRAP law House Bill 2, which passed in 2013. HB2 required that any clinic offering abortion services be classified as an “ambulatory surgical center” and any doctor performing an abortion have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 minutes of the clinic. As founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, those years were a difficult blur (although our eventual triumph made every second worth it). HB2 was unnecessary—abortion, being 14 times safer than childbirth, is very safe—and its devastating passage forced us to close our clinics in Austin and Beaumont. (Our Austin clinic has since reopened).

As we fought that exhausting battle, a colleague said to me, “It is always the right time to do the next right thing.” I carry that with me always, especially in these times. Right now, as abortion rights are threatened throughout the country, offering no-cost abortion care to women affected by Hurricane Harvey is the right thing to do.

Natural disasters like hurricanes can compromise abortion access in many ways.

At Whole Woman’s Health, our values are based in the moral and ethical human rights work of supporting and caring for people. To us, quality abortion care is health care. But it is also an integral part of economic justice, racial justice, and true reproductive justice for all. Our care model is rooted in the belief that access to quality abortion care is not only vital to women’s autonomy and self-determination, it is essential to our ability to function in society with true equality.

After devastation from a storm like Harvey, everything changes. People often lose their homes, their cars, and their jobs. People may have to evacuate to an area without accessible abortion care. Work schedules are cut, school is canceled, and people worry about lost pets. Daycares are closed. Local health care clinics are, too. There are countless ways a natural disaster can make it difficult to find a health center that offers abortions or make it impossible to pay for one. That’s why we’re here to help.

Whole Woman’s Health can’t fix everything after storms like Harvey, but we sure can offer our expertise and compassion to ease the financial, logistical, and emotional burden of getting an abortion after a natural disaster. Our highly-trained team is ready to offer cost-free abortions throughout the month of September at our San Antonio, Austin, McAllen, and Fort Worth clinics. This is who we are. We take care of each other.

Responses to our providing free abortions to those affected by Harvey have, unsurprisingly, been mixed.

Our efforts have drawn the attention of right-wing zealots. They have responded to our no-cost abortion care relief efforts with great vitriol. They’ve trolled us by asking whether anyone has been raped by the hurricane. They’ve targeted me personally in memes with my photo, saying simply awful things like, “There is a place in hell for you, Amy.” It appears our kindness to people in need makes them hostile. Go figure.

Delightfully, we have also had a great outpouring of support online, as well as generous donations to our Stigma Relief Fund, which is how we’re able to provide these services for free. We currently have 74 patients who have had care or are booked for care using this program. To date we have raised $15,000 for this effort, but the total cost of care for these patients will come to $40,000. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here. These contributions will serve the women who need them the most.

Let me tell you about a woman who is coming to one of our clinics this week after her life was devastated by the hurricane. She will have to take three overnight buses to access the Whole Woman’s Health closest to her, which will get her to town at 6:00 in the morning. Then she needs to take an Uber or a Lyft to a coffee shop or restaurant that is open early to wait for our clinic to open. And this is just for her “consult visit,” where she has to have a state-mandated sonogram and a script meant to intimidate her read to her by the physician. After that, she’ll have to spend the night away from home, unable to get her abortion until 24 hours after her sonogram, because of Texas’ cruel 24-hour delay law.

After she finally has her abortion with us, she’ll repeat the ride-sharing and bus routine back to her home. Through generous donations to our Stigma Relief Fund, we’ll be able to pay for all of this. Even when it seemed we had everything in place, she called late yesterday and said she still needed to find child care for those two days away from her children. We hope to help her with that, too. This is all to get a five-minute, much-needed, first-trimester abortion she simply cannot afford. This is her right. It should be, no matter where she lives or her ability to pay.

It is for her and for the many people like her that we at Whole Woman’s Health do the work that we do. In these times in our country, in light of the devastation on so many levels, doing this one small thing is our honor. Along with all my staff and physicians at Whole Woman’s Health, I’m grateful to help Texans rebuild their lives with dignity.

https://www.self.com/story/whole-womans-health-harvey-abortions

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