NeedAbortion.org: Innovation in the Struggle for Abortion Access in Texas

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Since the passage of House Bill 2, the most restrictive abortion access bill in Texas history, the resulting confusion around the status of abortion access in Texas has become an obstacle in and of itself.

Though organizations across the state have sprung up to valiantly tackle the challenge of making up to date information about the availability of abortion services accessible to anyone who needs it, answering a seemingly simple question, “Where can I get an abortion?” has become increasingly hard. While working together on a grassroots advocacy initiative, the Lilith Fund, an abortion fund in Central Texas, and NARAL Pro Choice Texas realized that there was a need for a centralized source of information.

Both organizations had received calls from people seeking abortion services in Texas and asking where they could go to find information about the availability of these services. Some were worried that abortion was no longer legal in this state. It was clear that Texans needed a resource that would answer all of their questions in the same place – from the status of legal abortion access in Texas to where the closest abortion facility was to their home. Working together, the two organizations created NeedAbortion.org, an innovative response to the need for accurate and up to date information about abortion access in Texas.

In a statement, NARAL Pro Choice Texas shared the goals for NeedAbortion.org after its launch on July 21, 2015:

    As clinics around Texas began to close due to HB 2, we saw a need for a simple yet comprehensive resource for people who need abortions. We were also hearing that many people didn’t know if abortion was legal in Texas at all. With so many deceptive anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers popping up all over the state, we knew that it would be harder than ever for pregnant people to find a resource with all options, no hidden agenda, no judgments. We were working with the Lilith Fund on another project when we created the concept of NeedAbortion.org. Our goal is to spread factual, non-judgmental knowledge about abortion through grassroots actions—conversations both online and off between friends, family and activists. We hope that when someone needs help, they will see a Know Your Rights sticker or a link to NeedAbortion.org and get the information they need.

True to this vision, the website is easy to navigate and straight to the point. The landing page opens with three immediate options for someone who is pregnant and scared: answers about abortion in Texas, a map of clinic locations, and links to other resources including abortion funds, resources for minors, and counseling and support hotlines.

The number one question that NARAL Pro Choice Texas gets from pregnant people in Texas is, “Where can I get an abortion?” One of the most innovative tools on the site is a searchable map on the landing page that allows visitors to find the answer to this question almost immediately. An interactive map allows pregnant Texans to see all of their options, including the website, address, and contact information of the abortion clinic nearest them.

NeedAbortion.org is revolutionary, because it connects all of the resources that exist for pregnant Texans or those with questions in one easy to access website that is user-friendly and completely focused on delivering accurate information in the most direct way possible. In a Texas where court cases and continuing legislation always threaten to upend the status quo, the state of abortion access is fluid and hard to keep up with – even for those of us who follow it closely. But this isn’t just about a website.

Part of the goal of NeedAbortion.org is also to support grassroots organizing around abortion access. Anyone can order materials, including pens, stickers, and condoms, with the website address on them, to share with the people in their networks and to expand access to this information across the state – without having to pay a single cent.

Let me be clear: we should not need something like this website in Texas today. But, because of the continuing onslaught of purposefully confusing and seemingly overwhelming obstacles to access placed in our way by Texas Republicans, NeedAbortion.org is an integral piece in the continuing struggle for abortion access in Texas. It does a very simple but incredibly important thing: gives answers without shame or stigma, and helps Texans get the information they need to make their best possible choice.

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About Author

Genevieve Cato

Genevieve Cato is a feminist activist and a native Texan. While not writing for the Burnt Orange Report, she can be found working for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, serving as a community member of the Communications Committee for the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, and drinking copious amounts of pretentious local craft beers.

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