ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – Two women are sharing personal details in a very candid interview about reproductive rights with ABC Big 2. Our very own Ozzy Mora sat down with them and with a Midland center on how it educates women about other alternatives.
These two women tell us they just want to be heard and hope that their stories will resonate with other women to continue fighting for reproductive rights.
The overturn of Roe V. Wade continues to create an uproar with protest after protest nationwide and some of that concern is right in West Texas.
“Healthcare is healthcare and I think everyone deserves it, even us, I am not your baby maker, she is not your baby maker [and] you are not a baby maker,” said Emily Jolley. “I am tired of getting treated as I am less than a body.”
Now, for the very first time on camera Emily Jolley and Mia Little are speaking out about their abortions before Roe. V. Wade was overturned.
“I didn’t have enough money to have a kid and I already had a son, so I really was only able to provide for him at that time ,” said Little. “I knew if I had another child that I wasn’t going to be able to give myself and my son that life I wanted.”
Jolley and Little both said they hope their stories will motivate other women to fight, speak up and protect the future of reproductive rights.
“We have worked so hard 30 to 40 years to fight for this and why are we taking it away,” said Jolley. “We fought so hard to get this for us and now they are just ripping it away from us and that seems very wrong.”
During their pregnancies, Jolley and Little said it was extremely difficult to talk or even think about abortion.
“Especially around here, you never know who is really on your side and who really wants what’s best for you as a person,” said Little.
Ozzy: “what do you mean when you say especially here?”
“Well, I’ve grown up here in Odessa my whole entire life and its very religious driven society … an imposition of morality for everyone that lives here,” answered Little.
As for Jolley, she said it took her some time to opt for an abortion.
She said after reaching out to the Life Center in Midland for guidance, she felt pressured into having the baby.
Life Center Executive Director Judy Rouse said the center only educates; it does not legislate.
“That is not how we address people, if she’s feeling pressured by learning her options, well that would be a hard thing for her to navigate because maybe we did not say what she wanted to hear,” said Rouse.
According to its website, it’s a group, faith-based alternative to abortion that advocates sexual wellness through several ways of outreach.
“We explain to them through a pamphlet called a Women’s Right to Know and explain to them what abortion is, what parenting is and programs that help them walk through the decision to parent,” said Rouse.
We asked Cheri Howard, a registered nurse and intervention director at the center if they have seen an increase of people seeking out birth control since the recent abortion ban in Texas.
“You know that’s a very interesting question and it almost makes me want to giggle because probably less than one percent of our clients that come in tell us they have been using birth control,” said Howard.
The center says its number one birth control is abstinence.
Howard said if a woman does have any questions, their doors are always open.
“We never ever tell as far as the abortion or choice of the pregnancy, no we do not ever tell them what to do, it’s not our choice to make,” said Howard. “But we educate them so that at the end of the day when they make that decision, they know all the facts.”
“We’re not here to be moved, we’re here to be who we are,” said Little.
“No woman should have to sit here and fight for their own rights,” said Jolley.
As of today , what’s front and center is the future of abortion pills and if that could get banned. There’s currently a lawsuit from a federal judge in Amarillo that could block the sale of the abortion drug mifepristone nationwide, which is currently FDA approved.
The Texas legislature is currently considering a bill called SB 24. It promotes healthy pregnancy and childbirth. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick released a statement in response to the bill:
“As a Christian and a conservative, I have always been committed to helping as many women choose life as possible. When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, I said this was an acknowledgement of the truth: when an abortion is performed, a human life is ended. That victory was not just a victory for innocent life, but a victory for all of humanity. “Over the years, Texas has led on Alternatives to Abortion programs, which have been a lifeline for many new mothers and families. SB 24 codifies and renames the program to the Texas Pregnancy and Parenting Support Network and will promote healthy pregnancy, childbirth, and family formation, and help families achieve economic self-sufficiency. SB 24 also moves more support services to the purview of the Texas Health & Human Services Commission to allow for better coordination between services. “I know the reformed Texas Pregnancy and Parenting Support Network will provide key resources and help countless new mothers and families well into the future.”Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick