DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Advocates for survivors of domestic violence say limiting access to safe, legal abortions will have devastating consequences for those suffering abuse.
Pregnancy and violence often go hand in hand.
"We know that during a woman's pregnancy can actually be a more dangerous time than when she's not pregnant," said Jan Langbein, CEO of Genesis Women's Shelter & Support in Dallas.
A study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology shows homicide is a leading cause of death during pregnancy and the postpartum period in the United States.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, one in six abused women is first abused during pregnancy.
"Among the people we have served at One Safe Place, pretty consistently about 40% tell us they have been abused by an intimate partner during pregnancy," said Ken Shetter, the president of One Safe Place in Fort Worth.
That's why some advocates say not being able to access abortion care will have catastrophic impacts on victims of domestic violence, both during the pregnancy and long after. The physical, emotional, and economic toll of pregnancy, childbirth and raising a child can make it harder for survivors to leave.
"It's problematic for us anytime we have to take things off the table and take options away in terms of things a survivor might otherwise be able to do to be safer," Shetter said.
Organizations that have been working to ban abortions in Texas don't think domestic abuse warrants an exception.
"Violence is not a solution to violence, and we consider abortion to very much be a violent act," said Amy O'Donnell, communications director for Texas Alliance for Life.
O'Donnell pointed to the state's Alternatives to Abortion program, which is allotted more than $100 million to crisis pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies, as a resource to help women experiencing domestic violence.
"As imperfect as our systems are, the state of Texas does have a responsibility, as well as the pro-life movement, to do everything possible to help any woman in a domestic violence situation or a rape/incest situation and her unborn child to get out of any abusive situations and move forward and support them in choosing life," O'Donnell said.
Advocates want victims to know the recent Supreme Court ruling doesn't change the fact that they still have options.
"Survivors shouldn't believe the lie that help is not available to them, because it is," Shetter said.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-799-7233. Those looking for help can also call or text the Genesis Women's Shelter hotline at 214-946-4357. You can reach One Safe Place at 817-916-4323.
"We need to be in the business, all of us, of providing safety and not removing opportunities for women to live safely and live freely and be able to live independently," said Langbein.
The Family Place, the largest family violence service provider in the state, released this statement on how overturning of Roe v. Wade will impact victims and survivors: "The Family Place's mission is to empower victims of family violence and support them in seeking services they need to pursue safety and stability. Unfortunately, pregnancy is one of the most lethal times for a victim of domestic violence. According to the Obstetrics & Gynecology Journal of the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG), homicide is a leading cause of death during pregnancy and the postpartum period in the U.S. Understanding the importance of a woman's right to make decisions that impact her safety, we will continue to support clients in accessing the services they need for their safety."
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