Q1. Who are the Islander Feminists? And, what inspired y’all to decide to start delivering free plan b and organizing for abortion in Corpus Christi?
The Islander Feminists are a student organization at Texas A&M Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) focused on intersectional feminism! Our work is rooted in the belief in reproductive justice (the right to body autonomy, to have children, to not have children, and to live in safe/sustainable communities), which we advocate for through activism and education efforts on campus and through the city of Corpus Christi. Texas’ abortion restrictions have suppressed our community’s access to healthcare long before Roe was overturned, so it felt crucial for us to take initiative and speak out about abortion and reproductive rights in the city. Being a resource for students and residents that provides free plan b, reproductive supplies and information regarding abortion have been a crucial part of our mission!
Q2. What’s it like launching a free plan b delivery program on a college campus? Did you have to get approval from a Dean or campus official? What advice do you have for people on other college campuses who want to begin delivering free plan b to students in Texas?
Launching a free plan b delivery service as a student organization has been a collaborative effort between our past officers and our current team. The approval process was minimal as we have an awesome faculty advisor that fully supports our work. My advice for other college campuses looking to launch their own plan b service is to get connected with your local community members and health centers- we owe a lot to them for helping supply us with many of the products we distribute! They are often more than willing to work together as college campuses are a crucial audience to provide for.
Q3. Corpus Christi is known for being the birthplace of Selena Quintanilla. But, it’s also known to be a conservative community. Is that changing? And, do y’all have plans on introducing the G.R.A.C.E. Act at the Corpus Christi City Council?
Corpus Christi is known to be a conservative community (and it is at large), but there is a large and growing population that support abortion rights and have been outraged by the continuous attacks on our reproductive rights. We see people of all ages come together at our abortion events who are so relieved to know that they aren’t alone in the community. While we are a student organization, we hope to help lead efforts to introduce the G.R.A.C.E Act here in Corpus Christi. It’s crucial that abortion seekers are protected from prosecution for seeking this essential form of healthcare.
Q4. We know Corpus Christi has been living without easy access to an abortion clinic long before S.B. 8 and the Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs that overturned Roe v Wade. Can you tell us how you have been educating your community on how they can access abortion over the years?
Our organzation has always been unapologetically pro-abortion. A large focus of our work has been towards educating our fellow students and residents in the community on abortion access and reproductive resources. As much of Texas does, Corpus Christi has a negative stigma towards abortion engrained in the community due to misinformation, religious views, etc. We make an effort to battle this internalized stigma in the community by hosting abortion positive events, meetings, and tabling in the community.
Q5. What is a common misconception that Texans, specifically those from bigger cities, have about Corpus Christi? Especially on topics like abortion, birth control, and plan b.
Many people believe Corpus Christi is strictly a conservative town with not much to offer but our beaches. What we
have actually found is that our community is becoming more progressive, and a large percentage of our population support our right to abortion. We have seen our follower and member count double since Roe was overturned- our community cares and we won’t be silenced by the anti-abortion majority anymore. Recent restrictions have only inspired more fire in the hearts of those who support us and we feel a unity with the community that is stronger than ever.
Q6. What would y’all like to do next as you continue your organizing around abortion rights, health, and justice in Corpus Christi?
One of our main focuses currently is spreading awareness and educating the public on CPC expansion in Corpus Christi. The Pregnancy Center of the Coastal Bend, a local CPC, have plans to directly target our student population with their anti-abortion mission by relocating right next to our campus. They even intend to build a coffee shop and a thrift shop in an attempt to draw people into their building! This CPC, like many others, aims to manipulate the community with the promise of free pregnancy tests/ultrasounds/etc to prevent access to abortion at all costs. They are nonmedical centers, strictly antiabortion, and usually religious based- anyone who walks in to utilize their free ‘services’ will not be able to access an abortion as soon as they are known to be pregnant. This is incredibly dangerous and one of the worst-case scenarios that could’ve happened in our area after the overturning of Roe, therefore we will be dedicating our efforts to raise awareness about this expansion and the dangers of CPCs.
Q7. How can people get involved with the work you’re doing in Corpus Christi? Can people who are not students get involved? How can people support future projects y’all are working on?
While we are a student organization, we welcome all community members to join us! I recommend following us on Instagram to stay up-to-date on upcoming events and future projects. We have some great meetings planned this Fall and we aim to hold more community events in the coming months. Abortion advocacy and CPC awareness are our main goals this semester, and you can support us by joining in on the fight! We are completely student-run and receive no school funding, so donations (material or monetary) to help us continue supplying the community with free plan b, pregnancy tests, condoms, lube, and other reproductive materials would be beyond generous. If there are any ideas or initiatives that we can help support in Corpus Christi, please don’t hesitate to contact us- let’s fight together.