She left Texas to get an abortion: a glimpse of a post-Roe world
While the leaked opinion was shocking to some, Jaylynn Farr Munson said she wasn’t surprised. She’s the development and communications manager with Fund Texas Choice, a nonprofit that helps Texas residents afford the costs associated with out of state abortions.
“We've been sounding the alarm bells at abortion funds and in [reproductive] spaces for a while now,” she said. “So I knew pretty much when I saw who the Supreme Court picks were from the last presidency. I already saw the writing on the wall, but it definitely is hard to now see it coming to life and having it impact so many people who maybe weren't aware of what's going on.”
If the leaked decision stands when the court issues its final ruling, a Texas trigger law would go into effect 30 days later outlawing the procedure entirely, except for cases when the mother’s life is at risk.
Farr Munson said as someone who could not get an abortion in Texas after new restrictions went into effect last year, she’s worried what additional obstacles women may have to face in a post-Roe world.
“I think what was most triggering for me about the leaked opinion wasn't even the opinion itself, it was more [that] there are still large groups of people who don't think this is real or who say, ‘Well, let's just leave it up to the States,’” she said. “They don't just understand how detrimental that is. It's like I have to demand to be seen and demand to be taken seriously. And it's literally going to take Roe versus Wade falling and so many people suffering for that to change.”
Farr Munson found out she was pregnant about a week before the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 8 — a measure that restricts abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy.
“I really didn't know what I wanted to do,” Farr Munson said. “I definitely do want to have children at some point, but my partner at the time and I, we just didn't know each other very well. We had just met and financially I was not in a position to plan for a child.”
“It would have put a really big undue burden on both of us financially and also within the relationship, so I made a decision to not go through with it,” she said.
Farr Munson said her decision felt rushed because she only had a week to decide, otherwise she wasn’t going to be able to have the procedure done in Texas.
In the end, she delayed her decision by a few more weeks and got in touch with the National Network of Abortion Funds to see if anyone could help her with the expenses of getting an abortion out of state.
“I get emotional even thinking about it, like just hearing that person's voice on the other side of the phone — I can't even put into words how much that meant to just have somebody that didn't judge you and understood you,” she said. “That just made me feel so valued.”
“Looking back on it, I don't know how I would have survived, honestly, without that.”
That’s what she said is so worrying about the possibility of Roe v Wade being struck down, and the additional barriers it will create for women seeking the procedure.
“Making it so hard for us to do that just really destroys our mental and emotional health and makes something that's already so difficult so much more difficult,” Farr Munson said. “It's just very disheartening.”
She said she hopes to see more compassionate conversations about abortion moving forward.
“Because we're not bad people,” Farr Munson said. “We're not irresponsible people. We're not the way that certain groups want to portray. We're human beings and we are just trying to make the best decisions with our life that we can.”
Fund Texas Choice continues to help Texans seeking out of state abortions with the costs associated with travel and the procedure, but Farr Munson said they won’t be able to assist everyone who calls — especially if Roe falls.
“As time continues to progress, we will not be able to help everybody, and the people that we do help are going to have to travel even further, which means the average cost of their trip is going to be higher,” she said.
She also noted that more than half of states also have trigger laws that would make abortion illegal.
“Other states are going to be overwhelmed with patients [and] it's going to take longer for people to get an appointment,” Farr Munson said. “So they are going to be further along in their pregnancies when they are able to seek care, thus meaning that their procedure is going to cost more. Not to mention the undue emotional burden.”
“All of those logistical issues are going to compound and just make it so much more difficult to get people where they need to be,” she said.
As of right now, abortion is still legal in the United States.
The U.S. Senate will vote on legislation Wednesday that would legally protect a person’s right to have an abortion. The effort by Democrats is largely symbolic, as they do not have enough support from Republicans to get the 60 votes needed for the bill to pass.
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