Whole Woman’s Health, the clinic that won the landmark Supreme Court case against restrictive abortion regulations in Texas, Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt, is offering free abortion services to survivors of Hurricane Harvey whose plans were disrupted by the storm.
In a blog post on their website, Whole Woman’s Health writes that the offer extends through September, and will include any traveling or lodging costs to get to one of their clinic locations in Austin, San Antonio, McAllen, or Fort Worth:
There are already so many barriers to access this necessary procedure, and natural disasters stand in the way of women getting to their appointment and/or being able to afford care.
During Hurricane Harvey, many of the clinics in Houston had to close temporarily, leaving women with very few options. Continued political attacks on abortion access make an unwanted pregnancy particularly stressful in Texas – add that to the stress of dealing with hurricane aftermath.
The organization has raised money to support women’s health in conjunction with the Lilith Fund, which focuses on raising money for Texan women who need abortion services, as well as WWH’s own Stigma Relief Fund. They’ve made than more than $10,000 in a week, according to Think Progress, which spoke with the Lilith Fund’s Excutive Director Amanda Williams:
“In 2016, 44 percent of our clients lived in the Houston metro area, the majority of whom were people of color. Like with any natural disaster, we know that low-income communities of color are hit the hardest due to lack of necessary resources,” Amanda Williams, the Executive Director of the Lilith Fund in Texas, told ThinkProgress. “These communities need our collective support.”
Stephanie Loraine, who works for the Central Florida Women’s Emergency Fund, told Think Progress that when natural disasters hit, the cost of surviving often overwhelms the need for an abortion in places where access is already limited and expensive, with an obvious time cap on when they can get their procedure. The increased frequency of these events is yet another aspect of climate change directly affecting women in vulnerable areas:
“The burden of a natural disaster falls on poor people of color who are already disproportionately impacted by natural disasters due to redlining, environmental injustice, and climate change,” she added. “Abortion access is yet another issue impacted.”