My Abortion #24: Why I Testified in Texas

Roar will publish a first-person story about abortion, “My Abortion: A Daily Story,” every day for at least 365 days.

We Testify is a program for the National Network of Abortion Funds that helps create public understanding of the content and complexity of accessing abortion care. It seeks to increase the leadership of storytellers, specially among people of color and rural areas.

Amanda had to overcome many obstacles to have an abortion in Texas. This is her story.

Why I Testified in Texas

Story by Amanda Williams

In Texas, people who have abortions have been silenced at almost every entry point of our governing process. When HB2 was in effect, the state legislature cut off storytellers who were sharing their abortion experiences in public testimony, changed timestamps to erase the impacts of our chants in the state Senate chambers, and even called special sessions to force through their political attacks on our rights. Now, anti-abortion Texas legislators are going through the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to chip away at abortion access and spread misinformation, and once again, we’re showing up, fighting to make our voices heard.

As a person who has had an abortion in Texas, I remember vividly the hoops I had to jump through to gain access to the care I needed. I was a 19-year-old college freshman in an unhealthy relationship, and I had to borrow money to pay for my procedure. I remember being subjected to a mandatory waiting period only to be greeted by angry anti-abortion protestors on the day of my actual appointment. These barriers were physically and emotionally trying for me. I felt isolated, ashamed, and alone. I knew abortion was the best decision for me, but aside from my compassionate doctor and nurses, I did not feel very supported in my decision. It was a truly difficult time in my life.

On August 4th, I testified against DSHS’ proposed embryonic burial and cremation regulations because I know what it’s like for the state to interfere with my ability to make the decisions that are best for me. These proposed regulations, which would have forced me to essentially plan a funeral for my fetus, would have made all of the challenges I faced when getting an abortion even more difficult and traumatic. When I reflect on my own abortion, I know that I deserved a better experience, free from shame and stigma. Like all people, I deserved to feel respect, support, and compassion. This is why we continue to fight against anti-abortion legislation like that proposed by DSHS.

In addition to testifying from my personal abortion experience, I proudly testified on behalf of Lilith Fund, because as an abortion fund, we hear firsthand from those most impacted by abortion restrictions of any kind. Our clients, most of whom are women of color with low-incomes, often struggle to secure basic needs and resources, and coming up with the funds needed to pay for their abortion can be near impossible without outside support.

The proposed regulations would act to further stigmatize and burden those Texans who are most marginalized—who already face an array of challenges in their daily lives that are perpetuated by state sanctioned violence, racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, and other forms of oppression. The additional financial burden that the proposed regulations pose could and will push abortion out of reach for the low-income families we serve. The state needs to know that these people exist, that they are demanding their rights, and that their experiences and struggles are real.

We Testify creates a platform for our voices to become the new norm. State legislatures like Texas’s have made a habit of tossing us out and ignoring our voices, because the greater world we live in perpetuates the stigma that invalidates our stories. The more we work to change the way people understand abortion, the more we share our diverse stories, the more we can grow into the accepting and supportive society we all need to thrive. Until then—as long as the attacks keep coming, we’ll be here, and we’ll wear our own experiences as armor.

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