AUSTIN (KXAN) — Marching in support of abortion rights in downtown Austin, sisters Lauren and Brianna McKinney said they worry if Roe v. Wade is overturned, Texas patients without the resources to cross state lines for procedures will feel the biggest impact.
“Woman of color are really going to be affected most,” Brianna told KXAN.
They’re not wrong.
According to Texas Health and Human Services data, in 2020, Black women made up 30% of the state’s abortions despite making up 12% of the population.
Chelsey Youman with Human Coalition, an anti-abortion group contracted with the state to provide Alternatives to Abortion resources, said the disparities are real.
“Most women seeking an abortion are living in sometimes dire circumstances,” she said. “[They’re] low income, if not at the poverty line.”
In the last budget cycle, the Texas State legislature approved $100 million for the Alternatives to Abortion program for the next two years, a $20 million increase.
“We look at that as a win for Texas,” said Amy O’Donnell with the Texas Alliance for Life.
O’Donnell said the Alternatives to Abortion covers counseling for mothers, parenting classes, job training, and even clothing and formula. It also connects those who are expecting with resources like WIC and Medicaid.
“That helps to eliminate the burden of cost around the birth, itself,” O’Donnell said.
According to the CDC, Texas pays for about half of all births through the state’s Medicaid program, about 183,000 babies per year.
Some state lawmakers have raised concerns about the spending on Alternatives to Abortion. Last summer, former Republican State Rep. Sarah Davis of Houston and Laredo State Sen. Judith Zaffirini both cited transparency issues when interviewed by the Texas Tribune.
Back near the state capitol, Lauren McKinney said she agrees with helping those who decide to carry to term — if that’s their choice.
“If there are support measures in place, I think that’s wonderful,” she said. “But I think there should be additional funding going toward sex education and Plan B.”