This post comes from Nicole Diaz, our outgoing Regional Field Intern in the Rio Grande Valley of Southern Texas.
Working for a U.S. Congressman this past semester I was drawn to watching how he voted on legislation dealing with the family, health care and reproductive health for women in particular. I found it interesting that two of his votes seemed contradictory to one another. In one instance he voted to restrict interstate transport of minors to get abortions in the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (Bill H.R. 784). The bill included punishment language of up to one year in prison for those convicted of transporting a minor over state lines to have an abortion. Yet three years previously he supported a bill that withheld funding from federal, state, and local funding to health providers who don’t provide abortion information in the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act of 2002 (Bill H.R. 4691).
This voting record suggests that the Congressman is in favor of informing our youth of their options yet not if allowing them to exercise their right to an abortion if that means crossing a state line. It continues to be a serious issue that despite the right to have an abortion in this country, the scarcity of providers can make it difficult to obtain one.
While working with La Red de Abogacia de Latinas in South Texas I looked into the closest abortion provider in our region, which happens to be 147 miles away in Corpus Christi, Texas. Local Congressman should be more concerned with meeting the reproductive health care needs of women in the area.
Traveling 2 hours and 40 minutes from South Texas to Corpus Christi to meet with an abortion provider is a barrier for most women, and in particular the women I work with, most of whom are without access to a car.
NARAL has a new report out on the Status of Reproductive Rights around the United States called Who Decides? Check it out and see how your state matches up on a variety of reproductive rights issues.