Texas abortion laws present challenges to local organizations who help women

Many organizations trying to figure out the new laws

SAN ANTONIO – Current Texas abortion laws say women have to make a decision within the first six weeks of their pregnancies, a time when many do not even know they are pregnant.

And rape victims now must abide by the same strict timeline, bringing concern that some may have to legally bear their abuser’s child, with anyone assisting a woman get an abortion in the state of Texas after the six-week mark potentially facing a lawsuit.

Planned Parenthood filed a petition for a temporary restraining order on Friday and it was granted, giving them temporary protection from being sued until at least Monday, Sept. 13, when a hearing will take place. Even with the granting of the TRO, the organization stopped all abortion procedures on Sept. 1, when the new abortion laws went into effect.

Mara Posada, Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood South Texas said they want to wait for a more official ruling before bringing the procedure back. Posada said abortion appointments spiked in the last week before the law changed, with at one point the clinic even seeing 100 patients in one day.

“The governor has made it impossible for us to continue providing abortion care, given how broad SB8 is,” Posada said.

Posada said she still wants women in need to call their center if they need help. They will provide you resources or contacts that can help and will provide financial assistance to travel out of state if needed.

Other organizations like the Family Violence Prevention Services still have lots of questions about how the new rules will be implemented. President and CEO Marta Prada Pelaez said they do not play any role in a woman’s decision making, but the are wondering if by providing resources like legal services, transportation, and counseling if they could be sued.

“We provide transportation even if we don’t know where she’s going, are we liable for that? Are we liable because of the counseling that we are providing? Are we liable for supporting her while she is going through a very difficult time?” Pelaez said.

Another way many organizations are trying to work around the law is by helping women get abortions outside the state. They interpret it as only breaking the law if you assist someone get an abortion in Texas after their six weeks are passed, which they technically wouldn’t be doing.


About the Authors:

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.