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What kind of country do we want as Americans? Gerrymandered Red by the Republican minority, Texas is a testing ground for restrictive policies and ideologies that export themselves to the rest of the country. We follow up on our episode from last year, “Forget Everything You Know About Texas,” to mark the one-year anniversary of the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and opened the door for states to ban or severely restrict the availability of abortion care. For this episode, we’ve reconvened a panel of organizers and activists in Texas to discuss what has (or hasn’t) changed on the abortion, trans and voting rights fronts, and the ongoing impact on women, girls, LGBTQ lives and democracy across the country. Our guests say that Texas may just be a predictor of how 21st-century change happens when people organize differently. They also acknowledge that the backlash has grown and are finding creative strategies to push back. Caroline Duble is the political director of Avow: Unapologetic Abortion Advocacy; Eesha Pandit is co-founder of the Center for Advancing Innovative Policy (CAIP) and Emmett Schelling is the director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT). This July 4, we discuss whose rights are in the crosshairs, and what Texas can teach us all about movement strategy. Plus, a commentary from Laura.
“In order for these bans on healthcare to be enforced, they require policing and surveillance and criminalization. We need to look to the leadership of Black advocates, of people who have been fighting the carceral state for decades. They were warning us about the dangers of criminalization and over-policing and surveillance long before this abortion ban existed.” – Caroline Duble
“The legal and legislative responses are vital. They are however, in a state like Texas, harm reduction approaches . . . We’re trying to protect people’s rights, and that often looks like stemming a legislative tide rather than enacting proactive things that will actually protect us and our families and our vision for our state.” – Eesha Pandit
“This was horrifically bad. We saw a record number of Texans come out in full opposition, to oppose seeing medical care rolled back and families targeted, physicians targeted, especially in a post-pandemic world that we still live in.” – Emmett Schelling
- Caroline Duble: Political Director, Avow: Unapologetic Abortion Advocacy
- Eesha Pandit: Co-founder, Center for Advancing Innovative Policy (CAIP)
- Emmett Schelling: Executive Director, Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT)
Portions of this interview are featured in our episode, “Texas Under Siege: Dobbs, Democracy & Bodily Autonomy in the Crosshairs“