Texas Abortion Rights Advocate Warns Restrictive Laws Will 'Impact the Entire Nation'
Weeks after Texas passed an abortion law banning the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy, one abortion rights advocate fears the entire country will be impacted by the new restrictions.
Anna Rupani from Fund Texas Choice joined the PEOPLE Every Day podcast hosted by Janine Rubenstein to discuss the future of women's healthcare in America in light of the new Texas law, which affects women who may not even know they are pregnant at just six weeks.
Rupani explained that her organization, which was founded in 2013, was created "to make sure that pregnant Texans could access care wherever they needed to be." When asked by Rubenstein if her organization was keeping an eye on other "restrictive measures" in states like Mississippi and Louisiana, Rupani said the issue has been "a hot topic" for organizations like her own in the South.
Listen to Anna Rupani's interview with PEOPLE Every Day below:
"We're hearing that other states want to see how long this plays out, and can they create just as restrictive laws in their own states," she explained.
While abortion care may be easily accessible for most women in states like New York, Rupani questioned, "will it be easy to access if other states outside of Texas start banning abortion?"
"I think in Oklahoma, for the last three weeks, most of the patients at a couple of Oklahoma clinics have only been Texans. So that means you're forcing Oklahomans out of their state, unfortunately, because that's the first place Texans are going to get care," she said. "And this is just going to create a chilling and trickle-down effect of where folks are going."
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Rupani said her organization is seeing clients traveling to cities like Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, DC "because that's the first place they can get an appointment quickly enough where they can also make sure they can get time off, or have resources back home taking care of their children."
"So this is going to impact the entire nation, whether it means folks in other states can't access care in their home state because folks from Texas or the South are traveling outside of their own states, or if that means that in those states, more restrictive laws will be passed," Rupani cautioned.
Texas first passed Senate Bill 8 — described by Planned Parenthood as "one of the most extreme abortion bans in the U.S." — Sept. 1. The bill bans abortions after six weeks, making no exceptions even in cases of rape, sexual abuse, incest or fetal anomalies.
The law also rewards a minimum of $10,000 to private citizens who successfully sue abortion providers. Anyone who aids in an individual securing an abortion — including those driving the patient to a clinic or helping to cover the cost — can also be sued.
"The act is clearly unconstitutional under long-standing Supreme Court precedent," Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit, per The Associated Press.
Last week, the department asked a federal judge in an emergency motion to block enforcement of the ban, arguing that Senate Bill 8 was created "to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights."
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