Whole Woman’s Health, a gaggle of clinics that present abortion care and different health providers, introduced on Friday that it’ll supply free abortions to women impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Noting that women within the Houston space and elsewhere in southeast Texas might have needed to miss abortion appointments in the course of the storm, a blog post on the Whole Woman’s Health web site promised to assist affected women get to at least one of the group’s 4 Texas places for abortion care without charge.
“During Hurricane Harvey, many of the clinics in Houston had to close temporarily, leaving women with very few options,” the publish learn. “Continued political attacks on abortion entry make an undesirable being pregnant notably disturbing in Texas—add that to the stress of dealing with hurricane aftermath.”
Natural disasters exacerbate present logistical and monetary obstacles to women’s health care entry. Women on Medicaid can’t use their insurance to cowl or subsidize abortion care, and low-income women might save for weeks to afford the process, solely to seek out that they’re too far alongside to get a cheaper medical abortion or to get a authorized abortion in any respect within the state. After dropping property or wages to a hurricane, much more women might discover it troublesome to pay for an abortion. Where it was as soon as merely troublesome to afford baby care and day off work to accommodate an abortion appointment, after a pure catastrophe, it can be almost unimaginable. And since women are often the default caretakers of their households, they face the majority of the additional obligations that come after a tragedy, together with making preparations for aid, organizing relocation, and caring for the younger and previous. This additional diminishes the reserves of time and assets obtainable for their very own health care.
For the month of September, Whole Woman’s Health—the profitable plaintiff in last summer’s landmark Supreme Court case on abortion restrictions—will cowl each travel and housing costs for Harvey-affected women who need assistance attending to the group’s outposts in Austin, Fort Worth, McAllen, or San Antonio. The group will draw from its personal abortion fund, the Stigma Relief Fund, in addition to the Lilith Fund, a Texas-specific abortion-funding group that has established an emergency fund for look after Harvey survivors. Slate recommended donating to abortion funds after Donald Trump’s election as a result of they help individuals who, by advantage of their class, geographic location, or immigration standing, can’t entry abortion care, a proper wealthier women will virtually all the time have the ability to take pleasure in. It’s for this similar cause—that they empower probably the most marginalized individuals train autonomy over their very own our bodies—that abortion funds are important assets within the aftermath of a pure catastrophe.
All over the world, in all types of disaster conditions, women’s sexual and reproductive health care is one of the primary primary must fall by means of the cracks of catastrophe aid. Rates of sexual assault rise in disaster zones, and distraught survivors are more likely to engage in sexual behaviors that put them in danger for undesirable pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. At the identical time, businesses targeted on meals, shelter, and first help typically neglect sexual health wants that don’t go away when catastrophe strikes. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that emergency health care suppliers refill on emergency contraception, preventive contraception, and condoms once they assist communities get well from a pure catastrophe. These are assets nobody’s sending of their donation packing containers of diapers and canned meals.
Abortion care is even trickier to make sure within the wake of a disaster, since federal funds can’t be spent on abortions and politicians could also be reluctant to single out a controversial medical process as a important want throughout a time of restoration. Abortion funds in Texas are filling within the gaps of Harvey aid, as a result of that’s what abortion funds are designed to do.