According to advocates and critics, Texas abortion, education and voting laws are aimed at Latinos and people of color.

Texas is among the seven states and territories where the share of non-Hispanic white population is less than 50%, according to the Census Bureau. There were 11.4 million Texans who identified as Hispanic in the 2020 census, making the group almost as large as the state’s non-Hispanic white demographic.

“They are all laws that are at least in part designed to continue a pattern of discrimination against the Latino community,” Saenz said.

For Greisa Martinez Rosas, executive director of United We Dream, the abortion law and election restriction laws reflect conservative immigration policies and stances.

“What is happening in Texas is a deliberate attack by far-right politicians who will do anything to stifle black, brown, immigrant and LGBTQ communities, both in Texas and in other Republican-controlled states across the country,” he said. dir Martinez Rosas.

Simply existing, “Republicans see us as threats to their white supremacist agenda.”

Most abortions were provided to women of color

The state law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy went into effect Wednesday and left providers and patients scared of their future.

President Joe Biden launched a federal effort in response to the law, calling it an “unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights,” after the Supreme Court denied a request from abortion providers to freeze it.
According to 2019 state data, black, Asian, and Hispanic people were the majority of people who had abortions in Texas.

In South Texas, a region with a predominantly Hispanic population, many women already had limited options when it came to abortion care. There is only one clinic in the region and the costs related to the procedure are not affordable for many, Zamora said.

The Whole Woman Health Clinic in McAllen, Texas, is the only facility that offers abortion care in southern San Antonio.

A procedure in McAllen costs up to $ 800, which is considerably higher than in other cities and women often struggle with the added costs that include losing wages, transportation and childcare, she said.

A spokeswoman for McAllen’s Whole Woman’s Health clinic said the clinic’s staff performed more than 1,600 abortion procedures last year. The Border Fund provided assistance to 400 people requesting abortion care and only a few traveled outside the state to receive care, Zamora said.

“Our patients are scared and confused and desperately trying to figure out what they can do to have an abortion. We don’t know what will happen next. Our staff and our providers are so scared,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Health All. the woman and Health of all the woman.

Cristina Gómez, 37, decided not to have children a couple of years ago. Some of the reasons for his decision were climate change and his student loan debt. For her, the ban makes her feel exempt and her rights are removed.

“The decision to make decisions for my own body is made by people who don’t know me, who don’t care about me,” said Gomez, who is the development director of Annie’s List, a political action committee dedicated to progressive women’s election and pro-election statewide in Texas.

Gomez is concerned that law in Texas is a possible precursor to national law.

“The National Republican Party treats Texas like a Petri dish. They test their oppressive ideas and policies to see if they can get them through the state legislature,” Gomez said.

The law examines the social studies curriculum

Some Texas teachers fear what will happen to them if a lesson “tangentially affects racism” because of a new law that restricts discussions about race and history in schools.

HB3979, one of the legislative efforts to ban critical race theory in American classrooms, says that social studies teachers cannot “require” or include in their courses the concept that “a race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex “or concept that” an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is intrinsically racist, sexist, or oppressive, either consciously or unconsciously. “

It’s not just Texas.  False panic and textbook wars are part of a long history

He also points out that “a professor cannot be forced to debate a specific current event or a hotly debated and controversial topic in public policy or social affairs.” Teachers, according to the bill, cannot demand or give additional credit for a student’s political activism.

Renee Blackmon, president of the Texas Council for Social Studies, said teachers did not teach critical theory of race, as some lawmakers argued. But some teachers are hesitant and wonder if some people would think that a lesson on slavery, which is part of the state’s standard curriculum, is about critical race theory.

Alejandra Lopez, 35, president of the San Antonio Teachers Union, said she did not feel her community was represented or valued when she attended San Antonio public schools when she was little. Since becoming an educator, she has tried to change that and developed training to help teachers reflect on how their lessons approach students ’identities and allow them to explore them.

Lopez said the union will continue to offer these trainings despite the law, because it is “right for our students and our communities” and the union will defend educators who may be accused of complying with the law.

Further restrictions on voting rights are expected

Earlier this week, the state legislature passed a bill that would impose new restrictions on voting and sent it to Gov. Greg Abbott, who has said he will sign it in law.

Senate Bill 1 restricts the hours in which counties may offer early voting between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., and prohibits early voting and 24-hour early voting.

An election worker guides voters in cars to a mail-in polling station at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, last year.

Democratic state representative Christina Morales, one of several lawmakers who fled the state for weeks this summer to prevent the House from having the quorum needed to vote on the bill, said the legislation was one of the most racist things I had heard at Texas Capitol.

The bill “tries to make sure the white vote is counted, not the black and brown people,” said Morales, whose district covers parts of Harris County.

Harris County is home to Houston and one of the cities that last year offered automatic voting and 24-hour early voting. Tens of thousands of people who voted used driving centers and more than half were black, Latino or Asian, according to Morales.

It was an option for many people who did not have the opportunity to wait hours in line. His niece, Morales recalled, waited four hours to vote during the last primary presidential election.

The Texas legislature sends a vote restriction bill to the governor's office

“How many people can wait four hours in line? If you have kids at home, you have a family at home. Maybe you have children’s homework, maybe you have to get to work, maybe you just need to rest, take medication,” he said. Morales.

Claudia Yoli Ferla, executive director of the MOVE Texas Action Fund, one of the groups that for months opposed voting restriction legislation, said “freedom of voting” received a “strong blow” this week.

Lawmakers led reforms that made it easier for people of color and people with disabilities to participate in the election process, but organizers are redoubled their efforts to ensure people stay engaged.

“Our generation is more diverse than ever. We are young, we are black, we are brown. We are the largest and most diverse electorate in history. We are committed and we are powerful,” Ferla said.

CNN’s Rachel Jafanza contributed to this report.

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