YouI was in the H-EB grocery store when a bizarre, uncontrollable paranoia took over. Suddenly, I couldn’t look at any of the faces that passed me without my heart clenching. I was blinded by the fluorescent glow of produce, and my eyes were drawn to the piles upon piles of apples & pears that looked almost plastic.
Two days later, it was Sunday. Roe v. Wade It was overturned and Texas’ reproductive-care facilities had stopped any further abortions. I’ve been a single-issue voter for my entire life, and that issue is not forcing people to give birth against their will.
I’ll spare you the story of my own abortion at 25 — I don’t owe that to anyone. We often resort to telling our emotional stories of our abortions and explaining why ectopic pregnancy is necessary to protect our rights to choose. All women have equal rights to an abortion regardless of their circumstances.
Three years ago I moved to Austin in search of a job. I was immediately attracted by the laid-back atmosphere, nature and the blue sky. It was the first time I felt like I’d ever seen such a vast expanse of sky. The sunsets still make me stop and take a moment to appreciate them.
I’d moved from San Francisco via Philadelphia, two cities with their own versions of frantic energy that felt electric and nonstop. Austin was the place that everything seemed to slow down. It felt like the whole city was on vacation. I was stopped by people to ask how my day went.
The other reasons I fell in love: the writing community, everyone at BookPeople and Malvern Books, poetry readings on my friends’ front porches, tacos at Quickie Pickie, tubing down the river, hikes around Lady Bird Lake with my dog, intimate concerts like Jenny Lewis playing to 200 of us at Scoot Inn, Phoebe Bridgers at Stubbs, Chelsea Wolfe beneath the dappled stained glass of the small chapel inside the Presbyterian Church.
This is how I created my own life. At first it was magic.
But after RoeI knew my decision to flee Texas was finalized when Texas implemented a ban on 1925 abortions. And it wasn’t only because of Roe.
RoeThis was only the end.
Austin: The party lineIt is this liberal bubble that Texas has saved. “Oh, Austin? That’s the blueberry in the cherry pie!” a co-worker said to me before I moved south. “You’ll be fine there.”
But on the way to the grocery store that Sunday, I passed three different trucks with LET’S GO BRANDON bumper stickers. While I was out shopping, my thoughts kept going back to that anti-Joe Biden slogan. I felt more paranoid. I felt more fearful for every man walking past me in my produce section. I kept thinking of a question that was constantly on my mind. Do you agree that I should be forced into having your child?
72% of Travis County’s voters voted for Biden in 2020. Austin is included within Travis County. At first glance, that’s not too bad. But dig a little deeper, and the numbers aren’t so reassuring. Biden was chosen by 81% of Philadelphians. The number of Biden voters in San Francisco was around 81%.
Continue reading: Roe being overturned will have devastating consequences for more than just abortion patients
It isn’t insignificant to see a difference in vote count of between 10% and 15%. Also, consider the Austin Pandemic that drove people to Austin at an all-time high. In the three years I’ve lived here, the average price of a home increased nearly 68% above the historic trend line, a three-decade high.
The demographic is changing because of the rising cost-of-living. Axios claims Austin is where young Republicans want to live in 2022. Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, and others moved to Austin and encouraged their followers and friends, as well as employees, to do so. It feels increasingly difficult to rely on the 2020 election as an indicator of how liberal Austin is — let alone whether the city being liberal can ever overtake the relentless underlying Republicanism of the state itself.
Even if you’re in Austin, even if Austin is liberal, you’re still in Texas.
My friend, a nonbinary trans woman who lives down the street, has a common refrain: “This state is trying to kill me.”
The grocery store has the following:While the men were walking around me and buying bags of lettuce, my face blurred into blurry, I thought about Austin’s dating history.
In the last year, I’d started having 30-minute screening calls before I went on dates with anyone from the apps. A disturbing trend had begun: I’d go to dinner with a man who was seemingly liberal — only to find out before we finished our first round of drinks that he was anti-vax, pro-Joe Rogan, and “doing his own research on who really did 9/11.”
It hadn’t always been this way. What had been billed as a liberal haven of art, music, and weirdos — and most of the weirdos were long gone — had become something else: an increasingly expensive city caught in a fraught deadlock with the state.
Continue reading: Why I Stay in Texas, Even Though It’s Breaking My Heart
There were other problems: Austin’s dependence on Texas’ unreliable electric grid, the traumatic week of our terrible winter storm, the threat of rolling blackouts on 100-degree days to conserve energy, the continued struggle the city has when it comes to supporting the unhoused, the number of times I’ve watched random men casually carrying assault rifles around town, the easy access to guns resulting in mass shootings like we saw in Uvalde, the surge of anti-LGBTQ bills.
Ivy Miller (9) holds up a sign during a March for Our Lives event at Austin’s Texas state Capitol. It was held on June 11, 2010.
Brandon Bell–Getty Images
Advocates are pushing for political change by trying to get liberal candidates like Beto O’Rourke elected. He should win. But after years of gerrymandering and Governor Greg Abbott’s absolute drive to remain in power, I have slim hope.
Even if O’Rourke does win, he still has a majority Republican state legislature to deal with. They have proven time and again that they are willing to do whatever it takes to push their agenda. We underestimate Texas Republicans at our peril, regardless of whether they are trying to ease gun restrictions or encourage investigations into trans families.
It’s impossible.Talk about reproductive rights and not mention race or class. People who are most likely to be hurt the most by RoePeople of color, and those without income are most at risk.
I’m a white woman with a good job and, for the first time in my life, the means to pick up and move to Los Angeles in a few weeks. I’m privileged enough to leave. I’d be privileged enough to afford to get on a plane and travel for an abortion if I were to stay.
California is fighting for abortion access. However, Californians are still struggling to provide access to reproductive care at the same level as those who have more wealth.
Texas is already one of the poorest states in America for racial disparities. Texas’ Hispanic and Black populations will suffer the greatest from lack access to reproductive healthcare.
Continue reading: I’m a Doctor Who Cares for Newborns. I’m Nervous After the End of Roe
Texas, however has been so regressive towards people of color. People of color made up 95% of the state’s overall growth in population over the last decade, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. This year, the state redrawn its congressional map to make it less likely that people of color hold a majority in certain districts. Politico called the new map a “big boost for the GOP.”
A reason to stay in Austin is to vote for and support the rights of people most affected by it, including those who are unable or unwillingly leave. It was something I believed too.
But now I think differently. Texans found themselves without power during the winter storm that decimated the grid, leaving them without food or water in freezing temperatures. Without government assistance, mutual-aid organisations began to collect donations and place unhoused and indigent people at hotels. Austin Bat Cave needed food and supplies. I helped them distribute water and clothes. We took care of those who our government had abandoned, along with other community groups. In the end, that storm killed 246 people.
The refrain We look after you is often used in the mutual-aid community, and it’s something I have been thinking about when it comes to abortion. Days after Roe was overturned, President Biden took to the podium to tell us “Roe is on the ballot this November.”
As if we haven’t already been voting. As though we have the luxury of waiting.
If people tell me to stay, I assume that my broken system will save me. It suggests that racial gerrymandering doesn’t exist and ignores the fact that our current Supreme Court seems inclined to accept it. It suggests that the latest congressional districting map of Texas hasn’t already set the stage for a Republican win by reducing the worth of votes from liberals, women, and people of color.
Texas is a state where the systems are not intended to assist the marginalized and poor. And they won’t be what helps them immediately.
It’s no longer enough to vote. It’s not enough to vote. Local abortion funds can be used to assist people with reproductive issues outside the reach of government. People who have privilege must make sure they are given money and their time. Leaving doesn’t mean I will stop donating to organizations that can assist those who need it most, right now, today, who can’t wait until November.
You will find it in the grocery shop.It all flashed in my head: Let’s Go Brandon72% of voters. The power going out again. Boiling water for days in the winter storm. My dog runs out of food. That’s how my parents looked after Uvalde shooting. I’ve been doing my own research about COVID-19 vaccines,Clinics that have stopped abortions; the population of the state which would be required to deliver; the 37% who are gun owners in Texas. The state is threatening to kill me.
Prior to the overturning Roe v. WadeI like to pretend that I moved to Austin partly because I wanted to see Texas turn. I believed my vote would make a difference even though SB8, the law that banned most abortions within six weeks of their implementation, was in place last year. I thought anyone with the privilege to leave who left and didn’t fight was rotten.
However, there are some differences between reality and fantasy.
On February 15, 2021, a group of pedestrians walked on an icy street in East Austin (Texas)
Montinique Monroe— Getty Images
People don’t move to or stay in a city or state in order to vote in a way that helps other people. People move and stay because they have to for financial reasons. They will now move to protect their rights. Texas will attract people because they accept these laws. People who don’t agree will flee to Texas.
Continue reading: I Will Not Give up Hope Roe
My friends and I were both already moved out of Texas due to their jobs following the change in government. RoeThis was published. A married friend who wants a second child with her husband is selling her house to leave because she doesn’t want to risk a complicated pregnancy here. The parents I know are leaving because they are terrified when they send their children to school — it’s hard to imagine asking them to stay and fight. My transgender friends talk about leaving, too – and I want them to. I want them all to live.
It Keep fightingLine of thinking can be used to reduce the body’s dependence on politics. This suggests that I, a single female, should remain in a state that advocates for abortion criminalization. It opens up to the possibility that someone who receives or performs an abortion could face death penalty charges.
To Keep fighting implies I should either stop having sex altogether, hope my birth control doesn’t fail, or simply pray I never get pregnant. Telling someone else to Keep fightingTexas offers another method of making them feel deprived. It’s another way of forcing someone into the same tragic, untenable situation we relied on RoeWe are protected from all of this for many years.
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