Officials at a Texas Democratic Party news conference said the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has worsened an already-existing maternal mortality crisis.
June 24 will mark one year since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Texas leaders at a press conference highlighted the decision's impact on the state over the past year.
State Representative Ann Johnson said there are many mothers who now have to be at near-death to receive medical attention.
"They were so excited about [their] pregnancy, and then they got to a point of a miscarriage, a ruptured membrane, so many complications that so many women are afraid to share the story, and when they showed up at their doctor's office, their doctor said, ‘I can do nothing'," Johnson said.
Planned Parenthood's Gulf Coast (PPGC) said 20 states have now banned or reduced abortion access. They said the decision is already increasing health disparities and worsening an ongoing maternal mortality and morbidity crisis.
Harris County Commissioner Lesley Briones shared her experience with two miscarriages in the past. She said she had to go to the hospital for the care she needed.
"If this were to happen today, and as it happens for so many women around Texas," she said. "We are putting women's lives in danger, asking them to go home and be at ... near-death before they can get the care they need."
Briones said Harris County has the highest rate of maternal mortality in Texas and the United States. Black women have a mortality rate three times higher than the rate of other groups in Harris county, she said.
Within the legal framework that is currently available, Briones said Harris County has invested $6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to go toward the Reproductive Healthcare Access Fund. The fund is used to increase access to education, contraception, and preventative testing for women.
"We have [also] invested $7.7 million in the Maternal Child Health Program with a special emphasis on Black mothers in Harris County," she said.
The program aims to improve the health of women of childbearing age, adolescents, children, infants, and children with special health care needs.
PPGC said over 1,500 Texans and Louisianans have had to travel hundreds to thousands of miles to access out-of-state abortion care. In the first 10 months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, PPGC provided more than $650,000 in financial assistance for airfare, gas, lodging, meals, and childcare for those people.
"Abortion bans in Texas, Louisiana, and across the country have put people's lives at risk, and these heartbreaking stories are just the tip of the iceberg. This harm is not hypothetical: It is happening every single day to real people with real lives.
"With the stroke of a pen, the Supreme Court decimated lifesaving health care access for millions of people and emboldened anti-abortion politicians in their continued attacks on our health and rights," President of PPGC, Melaney Linton said in a statement."