On Wednesday, a Texas law banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy went into effect, and some residents started stockpiling contraceptives immediately.
Makayla Montoya Frazier founded Buckle Bunnies Fund in April 2020, just after Texas Gov.Greg Abbott’s temporarily abortion ban during the COVID-19 pandemic. Montoya Frazier’s organization focuses on funding abortion clinics and providing funds and transportation to those seeking abortions.
Now, Montaya Frazier and other volunteers are collecting contraceptives, pregnancy tests and Plan B pills for residents taking extra precautions. Plan B contains the hormone levonorgestrel which can prevent ovulation, block fertilization or keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
As a sex worker, Montaya Frazier often stockpiles contraceptives and HIV test kits for fellow sex workers seeking extra protection. Her work then evolved into helping others obtain abortions, a process she herself has gone through.
Kat Smith, a volunteer for the Buckle Bunnies Fund, also created their own stockpile of contraceptives and pregnancy tests. Right after the ban took effect, Smith offered the supplies to anyone in need and has received dozens of requests on Twitter.
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Smith said dozens of people are worried they won’t detect their pregnancy at just six weeks and are resorting to weekly tests and extra contraceptives as a result.
“At six weeks, most won’t know they’re pregnant. So now so many are asking where they can get free tests and Plan B and more because if you’re pregnant after six weeks in Texas, you’re given no options,” Smith told USA TODAY.
The Texas abortion law bans abortions at around six weeks but also allows private citizens to sue those abetting in abortions. Under the law, private citizens can sue abortion providers and anyone involved in assisting someone in obtaining an abortion. Anyone who is successful in suing is entitled to $10,000, according to the law.
Amber Latoya, a Houston resident, said she said she took Montaya Frazier’s offer for free Plan B and contraceptives. Most Plan B packages range from $30-50, and birth control methods are at the most 99.9% effective. Latoya is scared her birth control will fail, she’ll realize she’s pregnant after six weeks and be forced to carry a child she’s not ready for.
“I’m looking and collecting any free Plan B’s and contraceptives I can. They aren’t free, and Texas isn’t giving us many options,” Latoya told USA TODAY. “I can’t get pregnant right now, and I won’t let the state make me just after six weeks.”
Some residents are not only stockpiling supplies but doubling up their birth control measures. Meyer Anne Hudson, an Austin resident said she plans to not only take her birth control pills but keep her birth control implant, Nexplanon, inserted. Her doctor put her on birth control pills four months ago with the intent of later removing the Nexplanon in her arm.
But now with the 6-week abortion ban in place, Hudson is taking every precaution she can in the rare case she gets pregnant and it’s too late to terminate her pregnancy.
“I’m not careless, but I am in a long-term relationship. We should be allowed to comfortably be intimate in our 20’s without worrying about completely changing our lives,” Hudson told USA TODAY.
In Texas, birth control is not covered by insurance programs in order to “to prevent pregnancy for low-income teenagers,” The Texas Tribune reported. The state only makes an exception if a teen can prove medical problems such as anemia, endometriosis and heavy periods. The state requires extensive documentation to show the birth control won’t be solely used to prevent pregnancy.
Despite the controversial abortion ban, some doctors are offering hope. Alabama physician Dr. Leah Torres said physicians and reproductive rights organizations nationwide will fight to care for pregnant people in the way “they need, not what the government dictates.”
Torres argued Texas didn’t pass an abortion ban but a reproductive coercion law, and women will not stand for it.
“Health care providers who are taking care of pregnant people are going to find ways to continue to take care of pregnant people. It is in our drive to keep people safe,” Torres told USA TODAY. “We are known to go to great lengths to keep people safe and get them the care that they need. However, we do it, we will find a way.”
Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda