HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Nearly a week after Texas’ new abortion laws took effect, local non-profits said many Rio Grande Valley residents are confused and looking for alternatives.
One alternative that gained popularity is the abortion pill, but Senate Bill 4 which took effect last week, restricts the use of the pill after 7 weeks of pregnancy, a time women say is not long enough to detect pregnancy.
“Abortion with pills has been approved by the FDA for decades,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, the CEO of Whole Women’s Health Alliance, the only abortion clinic in the Rio Grande Valley.
Senate Bill 8 put a 6-week restriction on surgical abortions, but Senate Bill 4 put a 7-week restriction on the use of abortion pills.
According to Miller, the abortion pill was allowed to be sent through the mail through the Biden administration through telemedicine due to the pandemic. However, she said that is not a reality for Texans.
“Unfortunately, places like Texas and Indiana currently banned telemedicine and medication abortion by mail,” said Miller.
The Texas director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice said the only way Texans can get this pill is through a clinic.
“Also means that there’s a requirement to take that abortion medication inside of a clinic,” said Nancy Peña-Cardenas.
South Texans for Reproductive Justice (STRJ) said a large part of the Rio Grande Valley’s population lives in poverty, and restrictions like these make abortion services unreachable.
“They don’t have a car they can’t even get to the clinic, and so there’s just all kinds of roadblocks throughout the Rio Grande Valley. We face a lot of obstacles here,” said Melissa Arjona, President of STRJ.
Arjona said they have started sending contraception packages all over south Texas for free.
Though these packages include items for pregnancy prevention only, Arjona said they have been in high demand since last week.
“Last week when SB8 went into effect we decided to expand to Webb County as well so this past week we have been getting a lot of requests as far as Laredo,” said Arjona.
Visit the South Texans for Reproductive Justice for information on access to contraception packages.
To continue their efforts providing contraception for free to those in need, click here.