DALLAS, Texas (KTRK) -- The heated battle over reproductive rights continues, as Democratic lawmakers joined pro-abortion advocates Sunday morning to announce the five strategies they proposed to the Biden administration to help preserve in-state abortion care. This comes after House Democrats passed two congressional bills designed to fight the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
"Texas abortion advocates are exhausted. But we are also resilient and more committed to fighting back than ever before," said Caroline Duble, political director of Avow Texas. "Without the protection of Roe, abortion is a felony in Texas and our doctors have had to stop providing care. But people in Texas and across this country will continue to lead and seek abortions, which under this political landscape will result in the criminalization and surveillance of pregnant people."
Texas is one of several states with trigger laws and it will soon ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization, with narrow exceptions to save the life of the pregnant mother. On Monday, the White House sent a letter to hospitals nationwide, reminding doctors that they are protected by federal law to terminate a pregnancy as part of emergency treatment.
In response, the State of Texas is now suing the Biden administration. Attorney General Ken Paxton argued in the suit that the guidance "violates the state's sovereign interest in the power to create and enforce a legal code." Republicans say they're fighting to preserve the rights for millions of unborn babies.
All of the back and forth has been confusing for medical providers and abortion patients. That's why Democratic Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher from Houston says she wrote one of the two bills that passed the House Friday. The "Ensuring Women's Rights to Reproductive Freedom Act" would protect women crossing state lines to get a legal abortion.
"What we've seen since S.B. 8 went into effect in September is that many Texans who can afford to, who have the ability to travel, have been traveling out of the state. The numbers we have seen are approximately 1,400 women have been leaving the state each month since September to access abortion care," she said.
On Saturday, Democratic lawmakers joined pro-abortion advocates at the Texas Democratic Convention in Dallas to ask the president to implement five strategies to protect in-state abortion care. Those strategies are:
- 1.) Declare a public health emergency protecting private providers who dispense abortion medication via telehealth
- 2.) Support mission-driven telehealth providers and abortion funds across America
- 3.) Establish a federal program for providers to dispense abortion medication
- 4.) Invoke the federal government's supremacy over state abortion laws that conflict with FDA-approved pharmaceutical regimens and regulations
- 5.) Protect third parties within and outside the State of Texas from threat of civil and criminal actions where self-sourcing of abortion medications are used
"We've already seen publicly in the news, how there are some clinics that are accepting patients from their own states that are not accepting Texans. They're doing that because they were afraid of the extreme criminal penalties being written in by the Texas Republican Party," said Greg Casar, Democratic nominee for Texas Congressional District 35. "That's ultimately leaving Texans, who might save money and travel hundreds of miles ... they may be told 'no' at the door. We need to make sure that those who do travel get the care they need and those who can't travel, get medication abortion sent to them."