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Texas Tribune Festival discusses life after Roe

todayOctober 7, 2022 16

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By Emma Jones 

News Reporter 

 

On Saturday, September 24th at the Texas Tribune Festival, four women met to discuss women’s health, women’s rights and an uncertain future following the overturn of Roe vs. Wade.

 

This panel was moderated by Ana Marie Cox, a columnist for The Cut. The featured guests were former state Sen. Wendy Davis, state Rep. Donna Howard and Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson. 

Roe v. Wade panel with columnist Ana Marie Cox, former state Sen. Wendy Davis, state Rep. Donna Howard and Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson at Texas Tribune Festival. The four women are on stage talking.
Roe v. Wade panel with columnist Ana Marie Cox, former state Sen. Wendy Davis, state Rep. Donna Howard and Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson.

Texas women were shocked when Roe v. Wade was overturned earlier this year. Davis said as a lawyer, she has always had a great admiration and hope in the power of the Supreme Court. However, she now feels like she has lost faith.  

 

“The Supreme Court is ultimately going to be the balancing entity that’s going to save us sometimes from what happens in a political system,” said Davis. “To have this entity that I have always had so much faith and admiration for undo 50 years of constitutional protections was just demoralizing in so many ways.”  

 

Women aren’t the only ones being affected by the overturn of Roe v. Wade. According to Howard, healthcare providers across the state were distraught due to their inability to provide medical care they knew was important to provide to women who urgently needed reproductive health care, due to medical complications or fetal abnormalities.  

 

“The ambiguities and gray areas of the legislation put them in the position of waiting for women to start dying before they could intervene,” said Howard. “Anyone who goes into a healthcare provider position is there to render care and to do the best they can and to use their training and expertise, to have their hands basically tied was just devastating.” 

 

In Texas, Senate Bill 4 prohibits the FDA-approved usage of abortion pills. Howard says their current goal is to find a legal solution, which will provide accessible medications to those who need it. Howard and Davis have been working with other legislators and the Biden Administration, pushing for the allowance to at least allow the FDA-approved abortion medication, which could be provided through a Teladoc.  

 

“We have safe, effective medications, that if accessed can be self-managed very safely,” Howard said. “It’s so counterintuitive to have something that’s safe, but to deny access to it, it will push people into doing something that may be unsafe.” 

 

Davis says that Senate Bill 8, The Texas Heartbeat Act, created a bounty system in Texas, creating criminals out of people trying to access abortions and people who assist those who are trying to access them. Davis shares the importance of pushing boundaries in the fight for abortion rights.  

 

“When we meet moments like this, it is important to push things to the absolute edge and to challenge it in a way that some may perceive as breaking the law,” Davis said. “We have to force the question forward in a way that helps.” 

 

Johnson said that this wasn’t the first, and it won’t be the last time that women’s rights are threatened, and political party participation has always been a choice.  These women encourage other women in Texas to get out and vote in the upcoming election if they feel strongly about the current state of abortion rights in Texas.  

 

“We are to never accept that this is our reality,” Davis said. “We should continue to show up in force, in their face, at every opportunity that we can and make them understand the lived experiences of the reality that they have now created for people across the state.” 

 

Watch the panel on Roe v. Wade at the 2022 Texas Tribune Festival.  

 

To understand abortion laws in Texas, visit Planned Parenthood for more information. To register to vote or check your voter registration, visit VOTETEXAS.GOV 

 

 Featured Image by Emma Jones.

Written by: Preethi Mangadu

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