For young people in Texas, the pandemic created new barriers to accessing reproductive healthcare. Shelter-in-place orders took
teens out of school, led to extra surveillance at home and cut young people off from their support systems.
The Texas Governor and Attorney General politicized the pandemic and tried to close abortion clinics for an entire month. And 1 in 4 four Title X family planning sites left the network, creating birth control deserts in parts of the state. Travel and logistics for getting to courts and clinics became even more complicated for our clients. We would be remiss if we didn’t admit that 2020 got to us at times.
But the Jane’s Due Process community faced those challenges together. Because of you, in 2020 we expanded support for young people in Texas exercising their reproductive rights.
We Expanded Our Reach
JDP depends on a dedicated team of 60+ phone hotline volunteers who answer calls for 8,760 hours to make our 24/7 phone hotline a trusted resource for Texas youth every day of the year!
- In 2020, we answered 2,605 calls on our 24/7 phone hotline. Through improved data tracking, we learned that 86% percent of callers needed help beyond just judicial bypass support. Our volunteers gave information on pregnancy options, finding free or low-cost birth control, and technical support in navigating abortion access in Texas.
- Like all abortion restrictions, parental involvement laws reinforce systemic racism. In 2020, 50% of our judicial bypass clients self-identified as Latino/Hispanic and 24% identify as Black. As our clients have shared with us, being forced to go to court so they can consent to their own healthcare creates a layer of criminalization that directly harms Black and Brown youth in Texas.
- In 2020, 62% of Texas youth who called our hotline to complete a judicial bypass intake were 17 years old. The percent of our clients who are between 13-16 is 38%.
- This year, we supported judicial bypass cases in 10 new counties, improving access for youth in rural parts of the state. In 2019, we helped teens in 10 new counties and in 2018 we reached young people in 17 new counties.
- We support a network of 130+ trained judicial bypass attorneys who represent clients across the state. In 2020, we trained 8 new judicial bypass attorneys and went 100% virtual with our online CLE trainings!
Helping Teens Get Birth Control
Youth to the Front: Centering Young People in the Movement
In 2020 our youth advocacy program grew to a whole new level. Launched in 2018, through the program we support a cohort of former clients to organize for youth reproductive rights and become movement leaders.
In 2020, two of our youth advocates spoke at U.S. Supreme Court rallies – one on abortion access (June Medical Services v. Russo) and one for the birth control access (Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania).
We also expanded their leadership, having the youth advocates present at conferences hosted by Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, SisterSong, and Texas Network of Youth Services.
Let’s Talk About Sex Education
The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) revised its sex education curriculum for the first time in 20 years in 2020. Jane’s Due Process organized with young people to pressure the board for medically accurate, comprehensive, LGBTQ-inclusive sex education that teaches consent. Highlights from the year-long campaign include:
- The Let’s Write About Sex op-ed writing workshop for high school students in Austin in collaboration with our friends at Austin Bat Cave.
- Virtual trainings on how to use TikTok to advocate for social change and how to testify in a public hearing.
- Supporting a diverse group of young people coming together to write and give testimony during several public virtual hearings hosted by the SBOE, including teens in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and El Paso!
- A protest created by a BIPOC-led group of high school students hosted inside the online game Minecraft.
- Our youth advocacy program is more robust than ever, with former clients in roles as Advocacy Fellows organizing around youth reproductive rights for the 2021 Texas legislative session.
- We got the My Body, My Future bill (HB 3369) authored & introduced by Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos! This is the first-ever effort to fully repeal parental consent laws on birth control in Texas.
- We also supported the introduction of the Abortion is Healthcare Act (HB 4389), which seeks to repeal over a dozen anti-abortion laws in Texas. It also includes the first effort to repeal the parental involvement laws on abortion since they were enacted 20 years ago!
All of this work is possible because of our supporters — donors, volunteers, and activists who show up every day for Jane’s Due Process and the young people we serve. 2020 had its challenges, but through all of it you made sure that we were able to not only continue providing support to young Texans seeking abortion and birth control access, but were able to expand our support and develop new ways of working for youth reproductive rights and access.