A woman with a mental disability was raped in her Texas group home, and needed an abortion. Under the state's new bill, she would have had to keep the baby.

·4 min read
texas abortion clinic
An exam room at the Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center is shown following the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas law imposing strict regulations on abortion doctors and facilities in Austin, Texas, U.S. June 27, 2016. Reuters/Ilana Panich-Linsman
  • Texas abortion provider Grace McGarry shared a Twitter thread of 25 patients she's helped get abortions after 6 weeks.

  • She posted the viral thread after Texas passed a bill banning abortion after 6 weeks.

  • McGarry wanted to illustrate that every abortion patient's story is unique, and they all deserve treatment, she told Insider.

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When Kate was raped by an employee at her Texas group home, she and her family didn't learn she was pregnant until over two months later, when they went to a reproductive health clinic.

Kate, who was in her mid-twenties at the time, didn't know about her pregnancy because she has a disability that causes stunted mental maturation and prevents her from explaining what she experienced. 

After Grace McGarry, a healthcare worker at the clinic, confirmed Kate's pregnancy, she was able to get an abortion. That was 10 years ago, McGarry, who still provides abortion care in Texas, told Insider.

If Kate went through the same experience today, she would not have been able to terminate her pregnancy, as she learned of it after more than six weeks.

On Tuesday, Texas legislators passed SB8, a bill banning all abortions including for rape and incest, after six weeks. The bill incentivizes Texans to sue fellow residents involved in abortion care performed after 6 weeks of pregnancy. If a resident sues and wins, they get $10,000 in damages and their attorney fees are compensated.

"This is somebody who we didn't know she was pregnant until she was after six weeks because the patient didn't have any means of communicating that information," McGarry, who has been working in abortion care since 2004, told Insider.

McGarry said Kate was one of hundreds of her patients who would have lost abortion access today.

Video: Former Planned Parenthood president on standing up for your beliefs

McGarry helped abused women, trans men, and homeless people get abortions after 6 weeks

After SB8 passed, McGarry posted a Twitter thread, sharing the stories of 25 abortion patients she's worked with after the six-week threshold, including Kate. In the thread, McGarry changed each patient's name for privacy, she told Insider.

"Tonight I'm thinking about Imani, who had a condom break the first time she had sex. Six and a half weeks," McGarry wrote at the start of her thread.

She also mentioned how abortions helped a transgender man overcome his gender dysphoria, and allowed a homeless woman to live more comfortably out of her car.

McGarry also worked with a woman who didn't speak English who had seven children and wanted to terminate her latest pregnancy. She had never seen a doctor, and never heard of birth control before meeting McGarry.

-watch how much i can ignore your wit 🏳️‍🌈🐝 (@gracieminabox) September 1, 2021

 

'Everybody who's in the position to need an abortion is the expert on their lives'

According to McGarry, she created the Twitter thread for the same reason she became an abortion care provider: "I know that everybody has a story. I know that everybody who's in the position to need an abortion is the expert on their lives, and we need to trust them with that."

Since posting her message, McGarry said she's had an overwhelmingly positive response, including from people she knows are personally against abortion, but "understand it's a much more complex issue than outright banning the procedure."

Strangers on Twitter have responded too, telling McGarry their own abortion stories.

"Regardless of how anyone feels about the procedure, I really want people to recognize that everyone loves somebody who has walked in those shoes, even if they don't know it," McGarry said.

"Every story is unique. When you blanket bans like this, it does far more harm than good to the most vulnerable people, especially people of color, especially low income people, especially trans people."

Read the original article on Insider

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