We Testify Texas is a visionary collaboration between Texas abortion funds and We Testify. Cohort members from Texas partner organizations will be sharing their stories in Texas communities and supporting people in Texas to share their stories.
As a native Houstonian, former clinic counselor, We Testify storyteller from the second cohort, and now a NNAF staff member, I am excited to announce that We Testify is going regional! The first stop is the great state of Texas. (Cue me singing, “The stars at night, are big and bright (clap, clap, clap, clap) deep in the heart of Texas!”)
Our movement lifts the voices of marginalized people who’ve had abortions to help shift the narrative surrounding the procedure (particularly in areas where access is hardest). With We Testify Texas, we’ll work in deep partnership with member organizations The Afiya Center, Bridge Collective, Clinic Access Support Network, Fund Texas Choice, Lilith Fund, Texas Equal Access Fund, West Fund, and Jane’s Due Process to support their clients and abortion fund callers as they speak out about their experiences in support of abortion access and reproductive justice. This July, the We Testify Texas cohort held our opening retreat with 21 storytellers hailing from all over the state. They’re excited to share their stories and educate Texans on what it’s like to get an abortion through judicial bypass, as parents, as a trans person, as immigrants, and when supported by an abortion fund.
For three years, I worked as a clinic counselor at the Houston Women’s Clinic and witnessed how sharing my stories with patients helped them tremendously. I know We Testify Texas storytellers will change the conversation by being visible and testifying about their multiple abortions, faith, immigration experiences, and why abortion should be accessible in our communities. Investing in Texas abortion storytellers will be a huge help in dispelling stigma and changing our culture. This is the power when we testify.
In 2013, I had an abortion in Texas that coincided with the filibuster and passage of HB 2 [a heavily restrictive state-wide abortion bill]. Despite the fact that abortion was what everyone was talking about in Texas, I had no one to turn to. I feared that I would lose access to abortion, and because of the stigma around it, I worried about the harm it would do to my body and soul. I had a second abortion in Texas not long after that.
Eventually, my shame turned to anger as I learned that everything I went through to get abortions was not backed by science or out of medical necessity. The state intentionally designed these restrictions to perpetuate stigma, shame, and oppression. I share my abortion stories because I long for culture change and want to bring attention to the unjust barriers that exist to accessing this essential part of health care. I also want others to know that their abortions are normal and OK.
Participating in We Testify Texas was a truly meaningful experience. The retreat was a safe and special place. Participants shared intimate details of their lives and forged bonds that will persist long after the cohort officially ends. Texas has some of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws, but Texas is also vibrant. The We Testify Texas cohort reflects the diversity of people and abortion stories across the state. I am excited to see the leadership of the We Testify Texas participants cultivated because we are the ones who should be leading the fight for abortion access in Texas.
It is also my hope that We Testify Texas amplifies the critical work of abortion funds across the state. I received funding for my abortion in 2013 and don’t know what I would have done without it. It was a couple hundred dollars that truly saved my life.
Texas Abortion Fund Partner Organizations