SAN ANTONIO – As Gov. Greg Abbott defends the new state abortion law, nonprofit organizations that work with victims of domestic violence and survivors of sexual assault are concerned about the negative consequences they may begin to see in our community as a result of the recently enacted legislation.
“To not be able to have resources and access to whatever it is you need to heal back and to deal with, it is really leaving victims extremely traumatized and out in the cold,” said Patricia Castillo, executive director of the Putting An End To Abuse (PEACE) Initiative.
Castillo said Texas’ new abortion law is leaving victims of physical and sexual assault with no options.
“Men and women should have rights to control what happens to our own body,” Castillo said.
The PEACE Initiative provides training and education to the community and legal assistance to victims of domestic violence.
Castillo believes women’s rights were left entirely out of the discussion between members of the Legislature.
“We’re going to pay way more in all kinds of ways -- to having wounded people walking around with lack of resources with an inability to take care of themselves,” Castillo said.
Castillo believes some children could also suffer.
“We also have to think about bringing children into a space where they’re not wanted; they’re not loved. The risk is they’re not going to be taken care of as they should be, and that is never good. That is never a healthy environment for a child to be born into,” Castillo said.
Rose Luna, CEO of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, says the new law takes away options from women.
“I think the negative consequence of this law as a whole is that it is something that takes a choice and the power away from a woman, in particular for survivors of rape and incest,” Luna said.
The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault provides training and technical assistance to rape crisis centers, law enforcement and medical professionals. It also represents survivors of sexual assault.
“Services like the rape crisis centers, they’re worried that they will no longer be permitted to provide the kind of survivor-centered support and empowerment that is best practice for advocacy,” Luna said.
Luna said her organization and rape crisis centers scattered throughout the state would continue to help.
“We will always believe them, and we are a free and confidential place for them to go and process what’s happening. We also can provide information and referrals and make sure that that step to healing is taken,” Luna said.