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Texans get preview of potential high court changes to Roe v. Wade

By Roz Brown

Texas News Service

AUSTIN, Texas — New Mexico and Colorado are likely to become major destinations for Texas women seeking an abortion if the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the 1973 Roe versus Wade decision.

Aimee Arrambide, executive director for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas said women there already had a preview of what future abortion access could look like when the governor and attorney general used COVID-19 quarantine measures to block access to abortion care under the guise of public health.

“So for about a month, abortion was completely inaccessible in Texas,” Arrambide explained. “And what we saw is an increase in Texans traveling to states where it was more accessible, like New Mexico or Colorado.”

Ten states, including Texas, currently have abortion “trigger laws,” meaning abortion bans or restrictions that are unenforceable now but designed to go into effect if constitutional precedent changes.

Brandi Collins-Calhoun, senior movement engagement associate for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, noted abortion rights activists across the nation projected a post-Roe world since the appointment of anti-abortion justice Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We’ve been using language around when Roe gets overturned because it’s something that has always seemed inevitable to us,” Collins-Calhoun remarked. “But now it’s certain that it’s going to happen.”

Arrambide contended the Texas Legislature is controlled by anti-abortion legislators who don’t acknowledge what severe restrictions will mean for women’s access to health care.

“One in four people will have an abortion in our lifetime, but because of the stigma surrounding abortion, that’s not really front and center,” Arrambide asserted. “The anti-abortion people use the word abortion four-to-one times more than our side does, and I think that helps contribute to the stigma.”

The Texas Legislature is set to convene mid-January, and a Senate committee previewed bills this week it plans to introduce including a “heartbeat bill” to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.