This weekend, Jane’s Due Process board member Amanda Woog spoke at the 44th anniversary Roe v. Wade rally in Austin, Texas. Pictured above, Amanda attended the rally with Tina Hester, Executive Director of Jane’s Due Process; her mother, Kendall Ziegler, and her 6-week-old son, Sam. We wanted to share Amanda’s remarks with you all as we go forward in the fight to protect the rights that Roe v. Wade gave us.
“Good Afternoon, I’m Amanda Woog and this is my son, Sam. Sam is six weeks old and this is his second rally in support of women!
“I’m a board member at Jane’s Due Process. Today I want to start by telling you about one of our Jane’s. Jane is 17, pregnant and lives with her dad and her three little siblings. Her dad is supportive of her decision to get an abortion. They google “abortion clinics” and find a place called the Fort Worth Pregnancy Center that offers free ultrasounds, and their website provides information about abortion. Jane and her dad go to the pregnancy center and the staff there does an ultrasound that shows Jane is 5 weeks pregnant. When she and her father ask about abortion, however, they are encouraged to think about her baby’s life and are told about free parenting classes. Jane is sure she doesn’t want to be a parent yet, so she and her dad leave – they had been at a crisis pregnancy center, not a clinic.
“They try the other numbers from their google search and end up calling Whole Woman’s Health. Jane is told she will have to bring her birth certificate and her father will have to bring an ID, and the names on the documents have to match. Jane panics – her father is not listed on her birth certificate and they have no legal document that can prove that he is her father.
“Jane calls Jane’s Due Process after the clinic tells her she’ll have to get a judicial bypass instead. She schedules an ultrasound appointment and finds out that the sonogram she got at the CPC was wrong. She’s actually 8 weeks pregnant, and she only has 5 more days to do the medication abortion, which she prefers to a surgical abortion because it is less invasive. Her lawyer files the paperwork immediately after the ultrasound, but the judge pushes the hearing as late as he legally can, until 5 business days later, for 3 pm – too late for Jane to get the medication abortion. Her case manager goes over the pros and cons of each procedure with her, and she decides the surgical abortion will have to be okay. Jane helps her father pay the bills with her part time job, so they don’t have much money for the abortion. The clinic helps them with the Stigma Relief Fund, and they also apply to TEA Fund, which gives them a grant. After a three-hour hearing, causing Jane’s dad to be late picking up her siblings from their after-school program, the bypass is granted and Jane gets her surgical abortion a few days later.
“I’m proud and honored to be representing Jane’s Due Process here today, and to be here in the company of so many compassionate abortion supporters and providers. Jane’s Due Process serves minor girls who are pregnant and seeking abortions, providing girls with some of the best lawyers in the state to help them navigate the legal hurdles enacted by Texas politicians to shame, bully, intimidate and even force them into childbirth. JDP is a lean organization with an amazing Executive Director, Tina Hester, Legal Director Susan Hays, and hotline coordinator, Amanda Bennett. We could not do this important work without our team of volunteers, from the lawyers who take our cases to the volunteers who operate our hotline. If you volunteer or work with Jane’s Due Process, please raise your hand so we can applaud you! We have a table here today so come visit us and win a plush toy uterus!
“Last year, through its hotline and attorney network, Jane’s Due Process screened 287 minors and referred 143 to our volunteer attorneys. JDP exists to help give pregnant minors a choice in whether to continue a pregnancy. But the truth is, the obstacles these girls face – and many women and families face in deciding whether and when to start a family – are largely beyond the scope of JDP’s work. As we celebrate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and in the spirit of this weekend, let’s also think inclusively and expansively about what it would mean for our Janes and all people to have true choice in whether and when to have a family, which includes access to a safe, legal and affordable abortion but also includes access to a safe, healthy and supportive environment in which to raise a family.
“Imagine a Texas where –
Our Janes do not have to face elected local judges to ask for an abortion;
They are not fed state-mandated lies when they go in to have the abortion;
They do not fear abuse and retaliation from their parents for their pregnancy;
They do not grow up in a rape culture where they are blamed for the advances and assaults by grown men;
They know they have somewhere to go if they’re abused in their own homes;
Where CPC’s are held accountable by the State for lying to and misleading pregnant people, instead of being funded by the State through programming meant to support “healthy Texas women”;
They do not have to travel to New Mexico, or another state, or hundreds of miles from their home, for an abortion, or rely on the generosity of strangers to afford one;
If they choose to have a baby, they are supported in their schools with child care and not told by ostensibly well-meaning adults that their lives are ruined by their choice;
They are taught about sex and love and have access to birth control;
Their chances of dying in childbirth are not dependent on location, class, race – we live in a state with the highest maternal mortality rate, and where black women have three times the maternal mortality rate as white women;
They have access to free, quality health care from compassionate and empathetic doctors, nurses and staff;
They are paid equally to white men, and their wages are not determined by their race and gender;
Their minimum-wage jobs are also livable-wage jobs that allow them to support themselves, and if they choose, a family;
They and their partner receive paid family leave and child care;
Their family is not threatened by separation from deportation;
Their children have access to quality public education;
Black men and boys’ lives are not sentenced away to prison or threatened with state violence;
The environment is considered sacred and is protected.
“This is the world I want for Sam. It is the world our Jane’s deserve. It’s the world that is every person’s right.”