You still have options — even if you think you don’t.
On Sept. 1, reproductive rights in Texas were almost completely gutted as Senate Bill 8 (SB8) went into effect within the state, banning abortions just six weeks into gestation. Because most people don’t even realize they’re pregnant at six weeks, this law amounts to a near-total ban on abortion. While it’s still technically legal to get an abortion in Texas, the tightened restrictions have many people wondering if they even can access it at all. So, here’s the info on how to get an abortion in Texas — because yes, you still can, even though the state government really, really doesn’t want you to.
SB8 bans abortions after six weeks, and also allows private citizens to sue alleged ban violators for a “bounty.” To be clear, any procedure before that six-week mark is legal. While the law offers no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, you can also still get an abortion past the six-week mark for “medical emergencies.” But according to Tamara Marzouk, the director of abortion access at Advocates for Youth, just because abortion is legal in Texas doesn’t mean it’s easy to access. “Legality is so different [from] accessibility,” she says.
Still, there are many pro-choice organizations working toward making abortion more accessible in Texas. So if you’re seeking abortion care in the Lone Star State and you’re not sure what you should do, here are some resources you can use to get the care you need.
Find Out How Far Along You Are
If you’re thinking about seeking an abortion in Texas, the sooner you can find out how far along your pregnancy is, the better. If you think you might be at risk of an unwanted pregnancy, Marzouk recommends keeping close track of your menstrual cycle with sexual health apps such as Euki, and says “having pregnancy tests available and nearby [is also] a great idea.”
Find An Abortion Care Provider
Although it may seem like a simple Google search, finding an actual abortion care provider can be difficult. “There are a lot of crisis pregnancy centers out there” posing as clinics, says Marzouk. “A lot of the time, if someone Googles abortion, these [fake clinic] sites will come up,” she adds. Many of these centers are religiously affiliated, and although they may advertise free pregnancy tests, counseling, or other types of support, they don’t actually offer abortion care. In fact, these centers will often use shame, guilt, intimidation, and misinformation to try and dissuade someone from considering abortion at all.
That’s why Marzouk recommends using the site ineedana.com to search for a legitimate abortion care provider in your area. The site ensures you get accurate information on clinics, and will even help you address some of your biggest questions, like “how am I going to afford this?” and “what are the restrictions in my state?”
If a patient in Texas needs abortion care over six weeks into their pregnancy, it’s still perfectly legal for them to travel to another state to access that care, per The Washington Post. But Marzouk notes out-of-state travel simply isn’t an option for many people — it’s just another “tremendous financial and logistical [barrier]” that further marginalizes communities already facing oppression.
However, it’s still legal to help someone seeking an abortion travel outside Texas to visit a clinic in another state. “Because the six-week ban is specific to Texas,” Marzouk says, “someone can only be sued by supporting an [illegal] abortion in Texas.” So if you need out-of-state abortion care (or abortion care at all) but can’t afford it, this means you can still seek financial support without worrying about someone taking legal action against anyone who helps you access abortion care. Remember: Under SB8, you can’t be sued for getting an abortion, but anyone who performs, aids or abets, or intends to aid or abet a ban-violating abortion can face legal action.
If You Need Financial Help, Reach Out To An Abortion Fund
Abortion is often already expensive: A first trimester abortion can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500, according to Planned Parenthood. And with SB8 now in effect, it can cost even more with added out-of-state-travel expenses. This is where abortion funds come in: they’re here to help you overcome financial barriers to access the care you need, whether it’s in or out of Texas.
Some funds will even help you pay for travel, lodging, child care, translation services, and more to make abortion care more accessible. For a list of abortion funds in Texas, you can visit here. And for a list of abortion funds across America, you can visit the National Network of Abortion Funds.
“When people hear the word self-managed abortion, they often think about unsafe methods,” says Marzouk. However, she explains how self-managed medication abortion — using a two-pill regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol — can be one of the safest methods to end a pregnancy of up to 12 weeks.
“[It’s] extremely safe and effective,” she states, with fewer reported complications than penicillin or Viagra. It’s so safe, in fact, that it’s supported by the World Health Organization, and several trusted national medical providers can ship the pills right to your mailbox (even if you’re in Texas). You can find abortion pills through several online resources, such as plancpills.org and through the Euki app.
But is it legal in Texas? To date, self-managed medication abortions in Texas aren’t criminalized, and providers can give pills to patients up to 10 weeks pregnant. Current law allows abortion pills to be mailed in Texas, per The Texas Tribune. However, Senate Bill 4 is poised to change this, as it aims to prevent practitioners in Texas from providing abortion pills to patients more than seven weeks pregnant, and also blocks sending pills through the mail. It’s currently unclear if out-of-state practitioners or allies can still mail abortion pills to patients in Texas. And of course, it’s important that anyone using medication abortion do so carefully and responsibly.
If you experience rare complications when self-managing your abortion, you should absolutely seek emergency care from a trained medical professional. Just remember that you have no legal or medical obligation to say you’ve used abortion pills. “If a person is taking the medication orally, there is no way for a [medical] provider to differentiate between a self-managed abortion and a miscarriage, because the process is the same in the body,” says Marzouk. So, all you need to tell your medical provider is that you think you’re having a miscarriage.
Find A Support Network
Even under the best circumstances, abortion can leave people feeling a range of emotions — happiness, sadness, joy, relief, and the list goes on. If you don’t think you can go through your abortion experience alone, you can find a support network to help you through. Advocates for Youth has organized the Youth Abortion Support Collective, a group of almost 300 young activists across the country dedicated to fighting for and supporting individuals seeking abortion care.
“I really see young people leading this fight, not only in Texas, but everywhere, leading the fight for abortion access,” says Marzouk. “Amidst all of this chaos, there’s a lot of creativity.”
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story mischaracterized the timeframes regarding medication abortion in Texas. It has been updated with the correct information.