S05 E01: The Intersections of Abortion Bans

Pod Squad

Aimee Arrambide Headshot Aimee Arrambide Executive Director, Avow Texas @TexanHispasian
Leila Abolfazli Headshot Leila Abolfazli Director for Federal Reproductive Rights, National Women’s Law Center @LeilaAbol
Nancy Cardenas Pena Headshot Nancy Cardenas Pena Texas Director of Policy and Advocacy, The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice @ncardenastx

Our Host

Photo of Vanessa N. Gonzalez Vanessa N. Gonzalez Executive Vice President of Field | The Leadership Conference @VNGinDC

Contact the Team

For all inquiries related to Pod For The Cause, please contact Evan Hartung ([email protected]).

Episode Transcript

Vanessa: Welcome to “Pod For The Cause,” the official podcast of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and The Leadership Conference Education Fund, where we expand the conversation on the critical civil and human rights issues of our day. I’m your host, Vanessa Gonzalez, coming to you from Washington, D.C.. And like we start off every show, we’ve got the pod squad. Hello?

Woman: Hello.

Vanessa: These are the ladies who are gonna discuss pop culture, social justice, and everything in between. We’ve got some amazing folks on the pod squad today, Aimee Arrambide, executive director at Avow Texas.

Aimee: Hey, thanks for having me.

Vanessa: Yeah. Thanks so much for being here. Then we have Leila Abolfazli, Director of Federal Reproductive Rights at The National Women’s Law Center.

Leila: Hi, Vanessa. Thanks for having me.

Vanessa: Finally, we have Nancy Cárdenas Peña, Texas director of Policy and Advocacy with The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice. Hey, Nancy.

Nancy: Hi, thank you for having me.

Vanessa: In this episode, we are talking about the attack on abortion rights, and how the recent law passed in Texas impacts the people there, what it means for our country, and an upcoming Supreme Court case. We’re also going to let you know what you can do to help stop some of these destructive laws. But before we jump in, I just want to set the stage with some quick statistics. The U.S. leads the developed world in maternal and infant mortality, and ranks around 50th in the world for maternal safety. The maternal death rate of Black women is nearly four times that of White women, and 10 to 17 times worse in some states. And this isn’t new. Anti-abortion legislation and movements are rooted in White supremacy, the exploitation of Black women, and the objectification of women to serve male interests, and that started a long time ago.

In the late 1800s, White male gynecologists lobbied state legislatures to ban midwifery and prohibit abortions, to push Black women midwives out of the field of reproductive health. This misogynistic lobbying undercut women’s reproductive health, and drove qualified Black women out of medical practice. After Black women were driven out of women’s medicine, so-called advances in women’s health were made through experimental gynecological practices that were often tried out on Black women without their consent, or knowledge, or in some cases, anesthesia.

We also know that there is a history of sterilization being tried out on Puerto Rican women without their consent or knowledge as well. This didn’t just happen in the past. We also have recent reports of women today in immigrant detention centers being sterilized without their knowledge. And from our friends at the Center for Reproductive Rights, politicians have passed nearly 500 state laws restricting abortion access over the past decade. These restrictions have eliminated access to abortion care in large swaths of the United States. Nearly 90% of U.S. counties are without a single abortion provider. And five states are down to their very last clinic.

The people hurt most by abortion restrictions are those who are already facing barriers to accessing healthcare, including Black, indigenous, and people of color, women, those working to make ends meet, shift workers, members of the LGBTQ community, immigrants, young people, those living in rural communities, and people with disabilities. It impacts us all. And we all saw this coming to a head last week, with Texas SB8. This new law bans abortions as soon as cardiac activity is detectable, after about six weeks of pregnancy, which is well before anyone, including myself, even knew they were pregnant. This law allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else who helps a person obtain an abortion.

Anyone who successfully sues an abortion provider under this law could be awarded at least $10,000, including those who give them a ride to a clinic, like an Uber or Lyft driver, or provide financial assistance to obtain an abortion. There is absolutely no proof needed to make these claims, and there is no exception for rape or incest. This law was not deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, but in an unprecedented move, the conservative majority refused to temporarily block the law, as is custom in such challenges. Okay, now let’s get into it. Nancy, I wanna start with you. You are in Texas, you’re working with the women in Texas. What has been the impact of just even hearing about SB8 going into law?

Nancy: So, I think one of the biggest challenges that we have is confusion. A lot of confusion about what exactly SB8 does, how this will affect the community, how this will affect their access to abortion care. And so, a lot of that has to be managed, especially in a region like Texas, in Spanish and in English. So, how having those materials and resources available in more languages than just English is incredibly critical to communities across Texas, especially in the Rio Grande Valley, where I do the majority of my work.

Vanessa: And we saw that attacks in the Rio Grande Valley are not new, right? There’s also the stigma that lives as Latinos. People are like, “You’re not pro-abortion,” or they will say, like, “Well, you can just go to Mexico.” It’s just a lot of mis- and disinformation. So, can you tell us a little bit about how are you trying to break through to make sure that the community has the right information?

Nancy: I mean, I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s a lot of misinformation about how people can access abortion in regions like the Rio Grande Valley, and with those complexities of, like, family and religion, but I love to break those stereotypes, and I love to tell people that we work with folks who need abortion care through all walks of life, Catholic, Christian, you know, you name it. People just need access to abortion care. And our studies and data shows that if you have a loved one that is trying to access abortion care, you will support their decision.

And so, we have activists, you know, we call them [foreign language 0607] in the Valley, which means powerful. You know, some of them are pastors. Some of them are, you know, spiritual leaders in their own communities. So, this is definitely just a stereotype of, “because you are Catholic means that you are conservative, and you do not access abortion care.” Also, when we’re talking about areas like the Rio Grande Valley, and we’re talking about undocumented communities in these areas, you’re talking about internal immigration checkpoints inside the United States, 100 miles in, that prevent people from leaving those areas.

So, no, people just can’t go to Mexico for this care. You know, as a matter of fact, some people who are able to cross into the United States with whatever visa that they may carry need those abortion services in a clinic that we have here in McAllen, Texas.

Vanessa: So, it’s a lot of layering. It’s not just abortion, right? It’s not just healthcare. It’s abortion, healthcare, it’s immigration, it’s transportation. It’s all of these intersecting issues that are making it even harder, particularly for women. Aimee, I wanna turn to you, also in Texas. One, can you tell us a little bit about the work that you do, and then how can you see your advocacy change, or up, in light of SB8 moving into law now?

Aimee: So, I work for Avow, and what we do is we use community-building, and legislative advocacy, and electoral work in order to make sure that the majority of Texans who do support abortion access are represented in all walks of life. And I think that one of the most important lessons that we have to learn from this experience is that it’s imperative that we elect abortion rights champions to the legislature. Not just progressive people, not just Democrats, but people that have pledged to make sure that they’re going to protect and expand abortion care, because that’s how we got into this mess. The people in the legislature do not represent the majority of Texans.

Vanessa: That is a really great note. And when we talk about voting, I know you all have heard me talk about voting almost every single episode, but this is a very, very clear reason of why it is important that you vote, and you vote for people who actually know you, and who understand you, and the needs of your community, and that don’t just give in to those stereotypes that both Nancy and Aimee referenced. So, Leila, I wanna turn it over to you as our national correspondent, if you will. One of the things I think that a lot of people are fearing is this sense that Texas found the key, and now you’re gonna have states just adopting the Texas model. Can you tell us a little bit about if that’s true and doable, and also, what are some of the advocacy points that we need to be pushing for?

Leila: In terms of copycat laws, I really defer to my state colleagues, you know, who fought in Texas about whether or not it really can come to be. You know, it came to be in Texas, and we know that there are other state legislatures who also work quickly in any way possible to restrict abortion access. I mean, the sheer number of restrictions that have passed over the last decade should give us all pause about what’s coming, and also what already is.

We are worried about what’s coming, and we’re also sitting in the dire lack of access we have right now. We’re hopeful to make sure one clinic stays open in a lot of these states. That’s just unsustainable in terms of making sure that people are able to get the care they need, in the communities, around the people they love. And so, we are worried about copycat laws, but we’re worried also about, there are a bunch of bans that got passed over the last few years already, and so, we are looking ahead and thinking about what support to give our state folks on the ground, who work so hard every day to fight against these state legislatures, you know, what they need, and how we can be there for them, and making sure that everybody understands that abortion is normal, it’s healthcare, and we’re supportive of those who need the care.

Aimee: I think that it’s important to note that while the decision of Roe, 48 years ago, kind of codified the right to abortion, it didn’t take into account all of the people that live on the margins. And I think that’s one of the things that led us to this point. Like, it’s been a right in name only for so many people, and not actually a reality. And I think that’s something we need to take into consideration. Additionally, in terms of, like, spreading across the country, we know that, I think, the other “heartbeat bans,” and I put “heartbeat” in quotation because it’s not a heartbeat, was first crafted in Ohio by a woman named Janet Porter. And she was able to spread this legislation to 12 other states.

It was ultimately found unconstitutional, and not put into practice in those states. And I think the fact that they tweaked it in Texas – Jonathan Mitchell, our former solicitor general, helped tweak the legal parts of it – is going to almost guarantee that this gets introduced in other states across the country, especially in those 12 states, and especially in red states. And I think it’s imperative that we need to stop it now, by looking at everybody’s access to abortion, because it is a six-week ban. It will prevent so many Texas from getting access to abortion. But as always, the most privileged will be able to find a way.

Vanessa: Thank you for that. That’s an excellent point. I wanna lean in on that a little bit more, because as you said, it doesn’t necessarily ban abortion in terms of… People will still seek abortions. They will not have access to safe abortions, right? We’ll have women risking their lives to have an abortion. However, the idea is that those with resources will still have access to a safer experience. Does that sound right, Aimee?

Aimee: I wanna make the distinction between safe and legal, because abortion is one of the safest procedures. Whether it’s medication abortion or surgical abortion, it’s unbelievably safe. And self-managed abortion is unbelievably safe if you follow the World Health Organization protocols. But what we’re talking about is, I think, legal versus illegal abortions.

Vanessa: Right. Thank you so much for clarifying that, and I think that’s also important for people to understand. The other thing about this is, as we stated in some of the statistics, right, as you talked about the people on the margins, let’s talk a little bit about how this continues to set the frame of White supremacy when it comes to healthcare. So, how is this going to, again, solidify that hold that White supremacy has on a already pretty bad structure for people of color?

Leila: We’re right now in a pandemic, you know, a year and a half into it, that has had serious documented disproportionate impact on all the measures. And you think about Texas with this winter storm, and parents just trying to educate their kids safely, and the insurrection on January 6th, you know, the thread through it all is how people are desperate to keep holding up White supremacist institutions, and that one type of person gets to make decisions about other people’s lives and their dignity.

And so, when you think about banning or restricting legal access to abortion, it is all a thread line through everything else I just said. Not expanding Medicaid, what is that about? It is layering upon layering disproportionate impact. And that is the obstacles that you then are building up more when you restrict care. And immigration status, as Nancy already talked about, there are checkpoints in Texas. So, from D.C., you know, the insurrection sits in our heads often, and we think about it a lot. And there were anti-abortion advocates at the insurrection. It’s documented. And you think about what you’re trying to hold, and not believing in gender equality, and thinking that you get to control other people’s lives. That’s the thread I see attached to White supremacy institutions and keeping it going.

Vanessa: Yeah, 100%. And I think, to your point, that the insurrection, it really does. It’s kind of a day-to-day. Are we gonna wake up again and it’s gonna happen again? Are they gonna be out there? And we know that it’s often the same people. The same people who are anti-abortion are pro voter suppression efforts. They’re the ones who are continuing to push this narrative, right, and lift up some of the stereotypes of our communities.

I wanna turn it to Nancy, because you are working directly with women most impacted. I think a lot of this conversation, when people hear abortion, anti-abortion, like, all of the words that we’ve heard, and the transition throughout the years of how we talk about this, at the end of the day, we need to remember that this is actually impacting people and women, people with uteruses, their families, and children, right? And what that real-life impact is. Can you share with us a little bit about just even what you have seen in a more individual level, so that we could take it out of this policy in Supreme Court, which I think feels very far away and removed for some people.

Nancy: I know we’re also discussing a policy, but I would be remiss if I didn’t add that we did have a law called SB4, which was an anti-immigration law, not to be confused with the current prohibition on medication abortion law, that is also called SB8. We had a law like SB4 in place that basically granted police officers to act as de facto immigration agents throughout the state of Texas. Even in those discussions, I would get calls from people who were incredibly concerned because their usual routes to healthcare clinics were filled with border patrol, ICE, police, you name it.

You know, we’re talking about an over-militarized area, like the Rio Grande Valley, and the border wall increase of funding only adds to that militarization. And people don’t seem to acknowledge how real those effects are here, where people who are simply trying to seek healthcare refuse to go because they are so scared of police acting like immigration agents.

And these are the stories that I would get. And these are the stories that I continue to get. Which is why, whenever I have these discussions about the restrictions on abortion access, I always include other policy or other real experiences, because it’s never just a silo of things that affect our community. It’s a broad gameplay. You have to look at the long run of all of these things that have passed in the state of Texas, and how they complement each other in cruelty. And that’s definitely what we’re seeing today in Texans.

Vanessa: Yeah. Thank you for that. And I appreciate that it is a intentionality on restricting access, as well as in some of the states, like Alabama and a Mississippi, where we are just ignoring communities almost, right? And lacking funding for some of those infrastructure that would help them actually seek healthcare, right? So, there’s always a way to further restrict, and that is something I think we also need to get at. I wanna talk a bit about an upcoming law. I’m gonna turn it to Leila shortly, for a way that we can all collectively use our anger and push back and use our voices.

But Aimee, I am from Texas. I love my state, but I’m also so frustrated. And as someone who has been working to try to make things better, right, we always try to give people more things. We always try to give them more liberties and more justice and healthcare, you name it. It feels like that is always such a harder fight than we anticipated. And so, when we look at this as well, you can put that in the bucket, too. Like, what are we not doing? What do we need to do better, so that people really understand how restrictive these type of laws are, and then, to Nancy’s point as well, right, there’s that intersectionality of all the other issues with this. So, tell us what to do, Aimee. How do we do this better?

Aimee: The first thing I would say is don’t shy away from the word “abortion.” Just something as simple as that, saying the word “abortion,” instead of “women’s healthcare,” “reproductive healthcare,” “reproductive rights,” the opposition, the anti-abortion movement, uses that word four to one more times than our side does. And because they’ve done that, they’ve been able to spread their medical inaccuracies, their lies, you know, they’ve been able to shape the narrative. And I think it’s really important for us to take back the narrative. Tell our abortion stories. Tell people we support abortion. You know, if one in four people will have an abortion in their lifetime, they’re part of your community, and they need to hear your support, so that they’re not surrounded in stigma and afraid to talk.

Next, I think if you’re trying to support actual organizations on the ground in Texas, I think that’s where to start. At needabortion.org, it’s a resource that we run with some of our abortion fund partners, there’s information that we keep up-to-date every day, to make sure people know which providers are providing abortion, which ones aren’t, all the abortion funds that can help you bridge the gap financially, to have your abortion helped paid for, the transportation, accommodations. Any of those things that you need help with, there are abortion funds already on the ground doing that work. And on that webpage, there’s a link that splits donations among 10 abortion funds doing the work in Texas.

Then, talk and get involved with your advocacy organizations on the ground. Avow is gonna be working really hard to make sure we elect Abortion Out Loud champions to the Texas lege. National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice. We’ve got Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Texas Freedom Network. Invest in the organizations in the state, because I think it’s so important that the people leading this fight are on the ground and doing the work. And then I would just say, don’t perpetuate these “boycott Texas,” “don’t travel to Texas,” etc., because all that does is hurt all of us on the ground. And I think, while I appreciate the sentiment, like, that’s not gonna help us work on this fight here in the state. Those are some ideas.

Vanessa: Those are fantastic. That’s really great to hear. And I know that one of the things is we would like to hear the President or the Vice President say the word “abortion.” Like, let’s be really clear about what we’re talking about. Thank you for that. And those are things we could definitely do. Speaking of things we could do, let’s keep at it. So, again, I’m gonna talk about voting in a little bit. But first, I wanna turn to Leila. Leila, can you tell us a little bit about what is the Women’s Health Protection Act, and how can we support those who are willing to push it over the line?

Leila: The Women’s Health Protection Act is a federal bill that would give a right to a provider or a patient to challenge a variety of restrictions that have passed over the past several decades, including bans on abortion, in court. And so, it really takes head-on the more than 500 restrictions you mentioned at the beginning, from ultrasound requirements, to waiting [inaudible 00:20:26] periods, all these unnecessary trap laws, unnecessary laws that are passed to either shut down care, shame the patient, make the procedure more costly, and just put it out of reach for people. And so, it really is one of the many tools we actually need. As Aimee said, it’s not just about the legal right. It’s ensuring that people actually have access, and so, it’s one of the ways to address ensuring that people have access, because there’s also coverage restrictions, as you know, the Hyde Amendment. And so, it’s a multi-prong effort at the federal level.

And I will just plus one Aimee’s point about saying “abortion.” What we need is not only a federal right, and coverage. We also need legislators and advocates outside of the abortion advocacy community, that proudly say “I support abortion care” without the qualifications that we’ve often seen, and connecting it to whatever issue that they care about and know about, because, as we’ve talked through this call, it really is connected to everything.

So, if you can, contact your legislator, both your senator and whoever is your representative, and tell them, “Pass WHPA,” or co-sponsor… I should mention Speaker Pelosi of the House of Representatives has committed to a vote on WHPA in the coming weeks, and so, they do need to hear from you. And you could throw in there, “And by the way, you should use every other tool possible to support and expand people who need this care and to not equivocate on that.”

Vanessa: That’s fantastic. I wanna get into a little bit of, just, let’s get the confusion out of the way, because we have the Supreme Court, who has another case coming up, which I wanna talk about, but what is the significance of Congress passing a law if the Supreme Court now, especially with our loss of Justice Ginsburg, who, had she been still on the court, this would’ve gone a different way, but with our deep-felt loss of Justice Ginsburg, like, who wins, right? If the Supreme Court feels one way, but Congress has passed a law, we know that Texas and other states who are anti-abortion, activists will sue. So, how does that get all played out?

Leila: And that’s a really good question, and one that keeps me up at night, when you think about the conservative takeover of the court. So, again, I always talk about abortion as being connected to everything. And that is the conservative takeover. A lot of us are still in utter shock what the Supreme Court did last week, that they felt like five of them could just say, “Don’t worry, we’re not passing on the constitutionality, but this can go into effect.” As Justice Sotomayor said, “You’re putting your head in the sand.” So, I’m not quite answering your question in the sense… I don’t know, because what the court did last week, I’m still very shook about it. And as a lawyer, I’m thinking about what we are taught about rule of law and enforcing constitutional rights. That was not the rule of law, what happened last week.

So, I do think there’s a big case next summer, and everybody should be following it, and thinking about it, and not letting the court get away with something sneaky, where they get to say, “Don’t worry. Roe’s still intact, but here are all the ways a state can restrict it.” The fact that gives me hope right now is that everybody is finally paying attention. I know our colleagues in Texas have been screaming from the rooftops, and our colleagues in other states have been screaming from the rooftops, and people are now woken up. Last week, I think, really reverberated across the legal community.

And so, what your hope is, is that next summer, we’re going to be reading every word that they write in their decision, and we will be holding them to it. You have to really use every tool, congressional tool. You’ve gotta nominate judges. Biden cannot slow down on nominating judges. And you’ve gotta focus on the states and their legislatures, and you can’t just leave it to the federal government. And so, I think that maybe leads to what you wanna say next.

Vanessa: No, I appreciate that. I do wanna reference though what we’re talking about for next summer. So, the Supreme Court will hear the Dobbs versus Jackson Women’s Health Organization challenge, which is based in Mississippi, which looks to limit, with exceptions, abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Did I get that right?

Leila: Yeah. It restricts abortions post 15 weeks. And I should note, whenever we talk about exceptions, what do you think about exceptions in practice, when you’ve basically shut down the provider, what does that actually mean? And, when you think about the fear of providers, just a general note on exceptions, it really means nothing when you are putting providers out of practice. They can pretend that they have put in exceptions, but what does that really mean in practice? And it really just denies the whole experience, and many people, maybe they fit into exception, they don’t say it. Or, they should be getting care as much as those who are within the exceptions. But yes, it bans abortions after 15 weeks, and it really is the first Supreme Court case that strikes to Roe’s holding about “You can’t be an abortion pre-viability.” The movement has been at the Supreme Court. This will be our third round in six years. It is nonstop. You know, they tried, by passing these laws that would shut down clinics. Then they tried again with another type, and then they’re just going straight for the ban. And so, the point is, is they’re trying to drip, drip, drip until there’s no more water to drip. And so, I think it’s very important to be clear about what’s at stake next summer, and what is happening now until then.

Vanessa: I want folks to know what happened with the SB8 Texas law. The courts didn’t hear an argument of the case, right? I think when we think Supreme Court, we all see kind of like the TV show, right, where, like, these attorneys get up and they argue, and the judges… None of that happened in this case. They made a decision that they were not gonna [inaudible 00:26:31] the constitutionality of abortion, and that they would just kinda leave it be. And so, SB8 was able to go into effect. Now, next summer, we are actually gonna have them hear a case, and so, you will have the lawyers. I don’t think it’s as exciting as TV makes it sound.

But the outcome is definitely what we wanna pay attention to, and the impact. Do wanna say, though, particularly looking at my Texas folks, for the movement and the fire and the energy, it comes to D.C., and it’s on the steps of the in Supreme Court, because people are like, “I rallied at SCOTUS, I got my t-shirt,” all that kind of good stuff. While that is absolutely needed and supported. We need folks to be jumping in at the localized level. We need you to be looking at not only school boards and what they’re teaching when it comes to sex ed, and when it teaches about history, but also the state legislative bodies, right? This is where folks are able to get in and do damage.

As someone who has worked in state lege bodies before, people are always like, “The state legislature’s where, you know, I can get my roads or my infrastructure in the state fixed.” Yes, that is true. It’s also a place they can do the most damage immediately, and quicker. Nancy and Aimee, tell us, how can people get involved at that state level? You know what? Like, voting. Just vote. Vote for people, as Aimee said, that are pro-abortion access, that are not limiting abortion access, that are not limiting healthcare. But what are some of the other ways that people can get involved at that state level?

Nancy: I think I wanna talk about some of the points that you made, and some of the points that were made earlier. And it’s something that we constantly talk about in our communities here is that we don’t base our morality on legality. Even though we know the courts are making terrible decisions in whatever shape or manner, we know that whatever court decision comes, we know that abortion is still a moral good. We know that we still support abortion. We know that the majority of people still support abortion access. And that’s something that we will continue to talk about in the communities that we work with. Investing in even the local levels, of getting involved, is incredibly important, and I’ll share a little bit about why that’s incredibly important.

We recently had a local fight, a local ordinance, where the city wanted to use the exact same language as SB8. The exact same bounty, the exact same restrictions, and so, we are starting to see this at the local level, where cities are now incorporating statewide SB8 language into their own ordinances. We managed to defeat it, but we foresee that this will not be the last time that this happens. And when we’re talking about the $10,000 incentive for people, that’s the floor. That’s not the ceiling. That’s the minimum that they can possibly ask for in court. You know, getting involved at the local level, changing education, changing the narrative. We don’t say “heartbeat,” because at six weeks, that’s most definitely not the case. You don’t actually hear that at six weeks.

And, you know, a lot of the incentive that the other side has for saying all of these things is that they say “abortion” unapologetically, which is something that we absolutely have to do more often, like Aimee said, but it’s also gives them an avenue to just lie about things, and just keep lying about medical inaccuracies, keep lying about the narrative, keep lying about, you know, stereotypes, like the Latino community doesn’t support abortion access, which we definitely note that is not the case, if you actually talk to people who are doing the work here. We have legislators in our own backyard who supported SB8. So, that’s a longer conversation, and talking about people in power. We have people in our own backyard that sponsored SB4, the medication abortion ban. So it’s a longer and much larger conversation about just voting along party lines. We have to talk about actual concrete steps to getting people in office that actually do the work, and not just vote on party lines.

Vanessa: Love it. Yes. And also, get people to run for office, so that there are these options, right? And provide that access to being on the ballot. Thank you so much also for lifting up the city on this, right? The city health commissioners, things like that. They make some of these codes, and they can make abortion access extremely difficult as well. We’re almost at time. This has been a really rich and great conversation. I know there’s so many different angles to pull from. So, thank you for your patience in me pulling from all those angles. I do wanna ask one final question that we ask all of our guests. I’m gonna ask Aimee first. What gives you hope?

Aimee: Texas abortion rights advocates and the young people that have unapologetically declared their support, and have been organizing their own little communities, gives me hope.

Vanessa: That’s great. Leila, what gives you hope?

Leila: Really knowing that Aimee and Nancy are in Texas, and folks like that. I’m in awe of my coalition colleagues. And I really think that the way we are saying we are demanding abortion to be center, and to say the word “abortion.” And it’s these colleagues leading the way, gives me hope.

Vanessa: And finally, Nancy, what gives you hope?

Nancy: I think the incredible people that are doing the work here in Texas, and like Aimee said, the youth here in Texas. We fought so many times at the local level and at the state level. And this last time at the local level, we had hundreds of young folks show up, which was an incredible experience. And I hope that one day there won’t be a need for a Texas director of policy and advocacy, because we’ll have all of that set up. And I have so much faith in young folks who are doing this work and are getting into this work.

Vanessa: Yeah, that’s fantastic. I will say you all give me so much hope, and to continue the fight and remember we do have wins. This is not always just been, we’ve lost at every corner. We do have wins. We have to learn from those wins and broaden those wins, but we do have them because of amazing people like you doing the work on the ground in these states.

Again, I want to please remind folks to pay attention, be sure to contact your elected officials, to protect and support the Women’s Health Protection Act. We need to get that codified. We need that into law, to make people’s lives just somewhat more just. We also need to pay a lot of attention to who we’re voting for and who we’re running at local levels, state levels, federal levels, all of these. It’s all, raises up, so we have to pay attention from the local level all the way to our presidential elections.

So, with that, I wanna say thank you, thank you, thank you so much for a wonderful conversation. I think we’ve had a really rich and deep conversation about not only what SB8 is, but the real impacts of all these laws on our communities. Before we say goodbye, I wanna be really clear that there are still things we can do. Yes, it does feel dark now, but the fight is not over.

So, what do we need to do? First and foremost, we need to come out for Supreme Court nominations and lower court’s fights. We cannot wait to just hear this news and accept it, so we gotta get involved early. We also have to remember, anti-choice fights and the Supreme Court decision cannot be removed from efforts to suppress the vote. The opinions of five unelected justices should not weigh more than American voters, especially when their right to vote is continuously obstructed.

We need laws that protect voters’ rights by outlawing barriers to the ballot box, ensure transparency in campaign finance, and, we need to abolish the filibuster to ensure the votes of the people have more power in making policy that will affect their lives. Thank you again to our amazing guests. Thank you to the incredible Nancy, to the fantastic Aimee, and to the brilliant Leila. Thank you so much for your time, and thank you for joining us on Pod For The Cause.




Thank you for listening to Pod For The Cause, the official podcast of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and The Leadership Conference Education Fund. For more information, please visit civilrights.org. And to connect with us, hit us up on Instagram and Twitter @podforthecause. You can also text us. Text, “Civil rights,” that’s two words, “Civil rights,” to 40649, to keep up with our latest updates. Be sure to subscribe to our show on your favorite podcast app, and leave a five-star review. Until next time, I’m Vanessa Gonzalez. And thanks for listening to Pod For The Cause.