Girls and Reproductive Justice

 

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Despite the recent findings that the videos portraying Planned Parenthood selling fetus parts were fabricated, the House Conservatives and anti-abortionists groups have not gone back out on their decision to defund Planned Parenthood. This bill could have devastating effects. Those behind the bill fail to understand and completely undermine the important work Planned Parenthood does and contributes to our society.

The community-based organization provides quality health care services for millions of people across the nation, men, women, and adolescents. Such services are not limited to abortion. In fact, medical staff offer testing for Sexually Transmitted Diseases, cancer screenings, routine exams and even counseling. For many women, Planned Parenthood is the only resource for family planning and reproductive health care services. This is particularly relevant in Texas, where access to such care is burdensome for minors or even low-income and immigrant women. Last week in Houston, a woman was arrested while awaiting her regular gynecologist appointment and sent to a detention center due to her immigrant status. No one should be deprived access to health and reproductive care because of their immigrant status.

The same goes fpr minors. Jane’s Due Process is a wonderful nonprofit founded in 2001. Their mission is to ensure legal representation for pregnant minors in Texas on a variety of different legal matters; whether it be for young girls choosing to terminate their pregnancy, and/or unable to obtain the parental consent so need help applying for a judicial bypass; or for those choosing to continue their pregnancy. These young girls may not have access to quality sex education, quality reproductive and health care services, let alone financial resources. In addition, these girls may not be receiving any support from friend or family support, particularly when experiencing teen dating violence, family violence or even parental pressure to terminate. Jane’s Due Process also brings forth the voices of these courageous young girls in a blog called Stories from Jane. Please meet Talia, a young women who deserve to receive quality reproductive health care services.

Deception and Trickery at a Fake Abortion Clinic: Meet Talia
Posted by: In: Stories from Jane 17 Sep 2015Tags: , , ,

Meet Talia Stories by Jane

*Talia called in to Jane’s Due Process, like so many others in her position, with an uphill battle ahead of her. With a missing father and an erratic and mercurial mother, Talia, at age 15, was pretty much raising herself. A recent middle school graduate, Talia had just gotten her period earlier this year. She knew a little bit about how that worked, she said, but not really much. It hadn’t occurred to her when she missed her first period a few months back that she might be pregnant.When she realized that she was, indeed, pregnant, she knew immediately that she wanted an abortion. Like she told me, she was just a kid herself. Talia was responsible and on top of things from the get-go: she completed our intake form, set up an appointment at an abortion clinic and called me back immediately after her sonogram appointment, as I had instructed her to do. She was ready to meet with her attorney and file the judicial bypass paperwork.But–not so fast. Talia had accidentally walked into the crisis pregnancy center next door to the abortion clinic. With a similar name, similar architecture, and similar color scheme, I can’t blame Talia for getting the two facilities confused. To make matters more confusing, when she walked into the crisis pregnancy center, the staff pretended to be aware of the appointment she scheduled, posing as the abortion clinic next door.The volunteers, posing as doctors in white coats, told Talia that if she continued her pregnancy they would assist her in raising her baby–both financially and emotionally. Though seemingly altruistic, I find this hard to believe–their specious tactics displayed a level of untrustworthiness beyond belief. After Talia declined and reiterated that she wanted to terminate her pregnancy, the volunteers sat Talia down for a “counseling session” with a woman who claimed that she had an abortion and it ruined her life.Though now filled with fear and confusion, Talia was still steadfast in her decision to terminate her pregnancy. Realizing that she wouldn’t budge, the staff told her that they could, indeed, perform the abortion, but only in a few weeks. “They told me they would call me when they had an open appointment. They said I had a lot of time,” Talia told me. Talia was 19 weeks pregnant–just one week under the legal limit. Their strategy became clear: delay, delay, delay.meet Talia Stories from JaneTalia’s call to Jane’s Due Process after her appointment was her saving grace. I very quickly realized that she had been tricked by the crisis pregnancy center, and was able to get her into the abortion clinic the following day. Understandably, she was confused. “I thought I was in a real doctor’s office,” she told me. “I don’t get it.”

Through the generous support of her boyfriend’s grandmother, who stood by Talia’s side every step of the way, and by piecing together funding from both statewide and national organizations, Talia was able to scrape together $4,000 for her procedure. She started the ninth grade last week and is back to feeling happy and active.

Does this story sound familiar? If you’ve been following our weekly stories you might think so. And that’s because it is. We’ve had more minors this year accidentally visiting crisis pregnancy centers than ever before. Fake clinics are increasing their visibility and deceitful tactics–and young women are suffering because of it. Visit www.txpregnancy.org to learn more.”

In conclusion, it is for Talia, all the other Janes, and millions of other men, women and teens, that Planned Parenthood  and similar organizations cannot be defunded. It is for them that we must continue to enhance our understanding of reproductive justice and better protect women and girls’ rights. As a nation claiming to defend women’s rights here and abroad, these stories remind us of the work we need to do.

Camille Van Kote

About Camille Van Kote

Camille Van Kote is a third year student at the University of Houston Law Center. She graduated from Barnard College in 2012. As an undergraduate, she worked as an AmeriCorps member for Jumpstart for Young Children. She was also involved with the Columbia Child Rights Group, where she spearheaded various campus-wide events, including film screenings, conferences and fundraisers, to promote awareness on children’s issues. She interned at Tahirih Justice Center and Kids in Need of Defense, working with courageous women and unaccompanied minors fleeing violence. This past summer, she interned at the Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights, an NGO advocating for sexual and reproductive rights as human rights.

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