North Texas Daily

Several Denton nonprofits’ services limited by new abortion ban

Several Denton nonprofits’ services limited by new abortion ban

Several Denton nonprofits’ services limited by new abortion ban
September 18
12:00 2021

Several Denton organizations have been forced to limit their services in response to Senate Bill 8, Texas’s new restrictive abortion law

Taking effect on Sept. 1, the Texas Heartbeat Act bans most abortions at six weeks, before many women even know they are pregnant. This includes cases of rape or incest.

The law also places a minimum $10,000 reward for accurate reports of any person caught attempting to help an individual seeking abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy. This new legislation impacts several nonprofits around Denton and restricts the type of services they offer to patients seeking an abortion, family planning options or grief counseling.

“It’s infuriating,” Sarah Lassberg, founder of nonprofit Elf Army of Light, said. “Instead of embracing these [people], we’re making it even harder, even more anxiety driven, and [putting] even more weight on their shoulders.”

The local support program gives non-judgmental, nonreligious grief support and resources for those who have experienced pregnancy loss and infant death. Lassberg herself lost her daughter at five months in the womb.

Under the new law, Lassberg said her community must be “very careful” in what kind of help they can give.

One of the Elf Army’s services is a monthly support group, where those who lost a child or had to terminate a pregnancy may attend. Lassberg said the group is aimed to let people know that they are not alone. Because of the new abortion law, many patients do not feel comfortable participating in Elf Army’s usual community setting.

Lassberg said while the law’s reward incentive encourages medical professionals to comply with the law, it also puts citizens at risk of being turned in and/or sued.

“They’re already going through the worst time in their life,” Lassberg said, “This is another thing on top of it.”

Lassberg urges residents to contact large corporations to persuade them to side against the bill, saying the Texas legislation does not listen to people but they listen to people’s wallets.

Indivisible Denton County, a nonpartisan political action group, advocates for civic engagement in the Texas legislature to hold lawmakers and representatives accountable. Community Leader Sharon Kremer helps educate citizens on how the legislative system works and emphasizes the power of influencing state representatives in the Denton community.

Kremer said the heartbeat bill threatens the health and well being of the people IDC advocates for, including the well-being and health of women, children who are victims of incest and children who are sex trafficked.

In the face of SB8, Kremer’s goal is to continue fighting for the rights of the marginalized communities who can not travel out of state or receive a safe abortion in Texas.

“A blonde, middle-class cheerleader who gets pregnant can travel out of state to get an abortion,” Kremer said. “Those from low-income communities, not so much.”

Funding out-of-state travel is out of the question for many women, who do not have the ability to take off work and/or venture out of state.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community are often left out of the conversation, despite some transgender men and people who fall under the nonbinary umbrella being able to become pregnant.

“While I don’t agree with the pro-life side, I understand them,” psychology senior Victoria Guajardo said. “But this is not just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue.”

The university chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas and the Denton County Conservative Coalition, outspoken pro-life organizations, did not respond to requests for comment.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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McKensi Bryce

McKensi Bryce

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