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More than 20 Texans get out-of-state abortions after Texas Equal Access Fund resumes service

A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says that abortion is safe but that "abortion specific regulations in many states create barriers to safe and effective care."
Bryce Duffy
Getty Images
A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says that abortion is safe but that "abortion specific regulations in many states create barriers to safe and effective care."

When Roe v Wade was overturned, TEA Fund had to pause abortion funding while the courts decided whether it was legal to fund abortions outside of Texas.

Then on Feb. 24, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ruled that abortion funds cannot be criminally charged for helping people travel out of state to terminate their pregnancies.

Pitman wrote that the law does not express any intent, much less a clear one, to apply extraterritorially.

“Accordingly, there is no plausible construction of the statute that allows the Attorney General or local prosecutor to penalize out-of-state abortions,” he wrote.

He also temporarily blocked prosecutors in eight counties from pursuing charges against anyone who helps someone get an abortion outside of Texas.

After the ruling came down and they consulted with their legal counsel, the TEA Fund determined it was time to get back to work.

“As the last line of support for pregnant Texans who need abortions, we know that we are a critical resource,” said Kamyon Conner, executive director of TEA Fund. “Without open abortion clinics in our state, abortion funds are the network of support that will ensure Texans access abortion care out of state that they desperately need.”

It’s not clear yet whether Texas will pursue any other legal remedies in the wake of Pittman’s ruling. The Texas Attorney General’s office did not respond to KERA’s request for comment.

Meanwhile, TEA Fund’s communications director Denise Rodriguez said now that the fund is back up and running, they’re hoping to make up for lost time.

“We've already been getting tons of folks who have been scheduling appointments with the partner clinics,” Rodriguez said. “It's really nice that we're able to get funding, especially right now, since we're going to be giving funding to every Texan who calls, just like a way for us to be able to make up for the last nine months that we weren't able to fund.”

The mission of Texas Equal Access Fund is to help low-income North Texans get abortion care who cannot afford it. They are also working to dismantle barriers to abortion access through community education.

Now, the TEA Fund’s expanded the services it offers to include non-abortion related care, like infant and maternal resources.

“For folks who decide to continue their pregnancy and parent,” Rodriguez said. “We are really proud that not only have we expanded our ability to support people, but we're able to do this in a way that's in line with our reproductive justice values and that also supports people in all of the aspects of the decisions and their journeys that they are on with their reproductive lives.”

Rodriguez says the fund will be handing out diapers, formula, bottles and other baby supplies, as well as essential postpartum items for new moms.

The TEA Fund will be giving away some of those free items during a resource drive on Texas Christian University's campus from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, April 15th.

Denise Rodrigues/Texas Equal Access Fund

Texans who need help paying for abortion care can text “Texas Equal Access Fund” on their confidential text line for help at 1-844-TEA-FUND (1-844-832-3863).

Got a tip? Email Rebekah Morr at rmorr@kera.org. You can follow her on Twitter @bekah_morr.

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Copyright 2023 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Bekah Morr