In March and April, we observed a significant increase in young people who had bypasses granted but were forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy. We know that this is a direct result of the Texas abortion ban and the challenges of surviving the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, school shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders have constrained the already limited amount of privacy that exists for young people seeking reproductive healthcare.
Another concerning trend that we noticed in March 2020 has been an increase in the number of Janes who stop responding during the bypass process. Largely, we believe these Janes are being forced to parent because the burden of these barriers is too difficult to navigate, the lack of privacy many young people have in their homes, or feeling overwhelmed by the ban. One particular Jane shared that she preferred to not go through the process anymore because it was becoming too stressful not knowing if the clinics were going to open anytime soon.
The combination of the abortion ban plus the COVID-19 shelter in place order has made it nearly impossible for some Janes to safely leave their homes. This is especially true for Janes who were further along in their pregnancy and were unable to have a medication abortion. The two-day procedure of an in-clinic abortion pushed the option to access abortion care out of reach for many of them.
Young people have always been disproportionately impacted by the financial and logistical barriers to abortion. So, when our public officials decided to exploit a global pandemic to restrict access to abortion, it magnified the already existing barriers for teens across our state. And teens, like all people, are struggling to stay safe, healthy, and financially stable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more about the impact of the pandemic on teens’ reproductive freedom in an article published in Rewire by our client services manager, Irma L. Garcia in April 2020.
If you have concerns about your sexual and reproductive health, our volunteer advocates are available 24/7 at 866-999-5263 and by text 8am-11pm CT to support you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help accessing birth control, STI testing & treatment, or abortion in Texas.