Good afternoon. My name is Lainie Duro, I am a single mother of two boys and an unruly activist for choice. I am against this bill.

I wanted to take some time today to represent a group of people who I haven’t seen represented in these hearings in numbers proportionate to how this bill will affect them. Over 60% of abortions are performed on women who already have children. Many of them, no doubt, are single parents like me. Some may be women in abusive relationships who do not wish to further complicate the lives they are already responsible for.

I am here to stand for these women because I am fortunate. My children are older, I’m able to take time off from work to be here, I have the financial means to stay here all day to ensure my voice is heard…and I don’t THINK I currently have to fear for my or my children’s safety if my ex-spouse finds out I am here.

The same things that cause people to be excluded from the legislative process also cause them to be inordinately burdened by a pregnancy, as well as by rules that limit access to abortion clinics. As it is, 85% of Texas women live in a county that doesn’t have an abortion clinic. Being a mom makes it extremely difficult to travel long distances or schedule several appointments in order to act on a difficult decision. Voting for this bill puts these women at greater risk of either choosing an unsafe abortion or being forced to delay an abortion. Which, by the way, WE ALL KNOW is not preferred.

Rather than spending a couple million dollars attempting to further limit a woman’s right to choose, why not SUPPORT the 70% or so of women who say they chose abortion for financial reasons? I am FOR legislation that ensures NO woman has to feel compelled to terminate a pregnancy based on strictly economic reasons. Legislation such as equal pay for equal work, so women-led families don’t have to be the poorest families in our state. Medicaid expansion – so our working poor families don’t have to worry about going bankrupt when a child they already have gets sick. Family-friendly work policies that allow for parents who have kids to stay home if they are sick – or if they need to kick the asses of their elected officials. Don’t tell me you stand for women until you are doing everything you can to ensure women and their families have ENOUGH resources to live healthy, dignified lives. Until we win THAT fight, we at least need to ensure that ALL women have the right to make the choices necessary to ensure the happiest, healthiest, most dignified lives possible for themselves and the children they already have. To me THAT is the definition of Pro-Life. I am very definitely Pro-Life.

I’m also an optimist. I know we’ve already won, and I think you know it too. We won when the whole world watched you change the timestamp on a vote. We won when the whole world witnessed you silence a female senator several times before finally committing that fraud. We won, because women of Texas and across this country are rising up to take back their power. We are mighty. We do not forgive, and we do not forget.