In the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential victory, people have been scrambling to figure out what, exactly, he might be able to do to abortion access in America. He’s made it clear that he would like to appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court, who would have the ability to chip away at abortion rights and Roe v. Wade. And on Sunday, in a 60 Minutes interview, it’s possible that some women would need to drive to another state for abortion access under his administration.
The thought of an America with restricted abortion access is troubling. But women and clinic workers in red states like Texas – a state that voted for Trump – are already deeply familiar with how it feels to fight severe restrictions to a woman’s right to choose. Cosmopolitan.com spoke with Zadara Garcia*, a 24-year-old woman who works as a patient assistant at an abortion clinic in Texas, about how it feels to be an abortion clinic worker in the days following Trump’s win, in a state that elected him.
“On Wednesday, everyone was quiet. We had goodies waiting for us in the break room that morning. It’s been raining all week, and that day, it was raining hard. We kind of associated that with the Trump victory. Like, even the universe is sad. Everyone in the clinic was in their own little world. We’re usually always joking around just being ourselves, but Wednesday, everything was mellow. Some of my coworkers were crying, and there were a lot of hugs going around. It was a lot to handle.
A lot of the girls wanted to call in sick on Wednesday.
A lot of the girls wanted to call in sick on Wednesday. When I got in, everyone was talking about how they were going to call in sick. I was going to call in sick – but when I got there, I was happy I came in because I didn’t have to think about it. I was busy – at the center, it’s always busy.
We usually have protesters every single day at work, but this week, after the election, there hasn’t been one protester. It’s so weird. They were there Monday and Tuesday before the election, in the morning. But not one protester has been here ever since the news broke about the election. So that’s been good in a way – we haven’t gotten bothered or anything.
Both of the mangers I work with have said the same thing: We’ve gone through this before, we’ve always been not wanted. So this isn’t anything new.
Patients are asking about Trump’s win. They’re asking if we’re going to stay open, and what we’re going to do about it. We’ve already gone through intense situations here, so thankfully, we’ve already kind of practiced our response because of what happened in Texas before the Supreme Court ruling. In June, just before the ruling was issued, we started scheduling a lot of women back to back, and not spacing out anybody, just because we wanted to be able to make sure that we were able to see everyone that we could before the hearing, just in case we ended up losing.
We tell patients we’re taking it all in stride. We’re just waiting and going day by day, because we’re still currently open. There are always people ready, locally and nationally, to fight back if Trump decides to pass any anti-choice legislation.
We’re standing up, standing proud, and walking into work, even when protesters are there.
Other than that, patients don’t seem any different than before the election. They’re already naturally distressed because of their situation, some more than others. But one thing I have noticed is that we usually have quite a few missed appointments, or people call to reschedule, just to have more time to think. But since the election, barely anyone has rescheduled or missed an appointment. In the clinic, we’ve been saying that we guess everyone got nervous, and doesn’t want to miss it. Everyone is just trying to get in and be seen as soon as they can, just in case.
We’re busier, but we’re not sure if it’s exactly election-related. Funds for patients have always lacked, but more people are donating to organizations that help patients with their procedure costs ever since Trump won. If you live outside of Texas and want to help, you could donate, since you aren’t able to help give patients rides, or give them room and board.
Personally, I’m scared. The only negative emotion I have right now is that I wonder if I’ll have a secured job next year. I haven’t thought about what I would do, if not this, because it’s nerve-wracking. But I’m proud to be part of something that’s so controversial. I feel like I’m part of something that’s going to go down in history. Our organization is on the front lines. At our events, we’re always talking about the Supreme Court, and how the government is always trying to meddle in our uteruses, as Texas women. But we’re fighting against that. We’re standing up, standing proud, and walking into work, even when protesters are there.
This interview was lightly edited for length and clarity. Follow Hannah on Twitter.
I’m also proud as a bilingual woman. We have a lot of Spanish speakers come into our office as patients, and I’m one of the few who can help them, specifically. We’re being attacked in all sorts of ways by Trump, and being able to help them as a woman of the same race feels like I’m hitting all the right marks.”