tv Fault Lines Al Jazeera September 28, 2014 2:00am-2:31am EDT
they have proven that by operating for years now without it. >> all right, thank you to all of our guests we are out of time, until our next show, we will see you online. >> it's friday afternoon in the rio grande valley in texas. >> abortion is one of the most common medical procedures for women around the world. >> two friends are reading a manual on how to give yourself an abortion. >> and then i asked you for sure like how pregnant you are. >> for sure right now, i'm seven weeks. >> that's good because once you get to 12 weeks, it's like riskier. >> they wouldn't let us film their faces because here, like in most states, what they are
about to do could be considered illegal. >> and ultimately, it has to be your choice and make sure that you want it. >> i'm sure. >> to end her pregnancy, 23 year old mellisa is going to take a drug called misoprostol. it's normally used to treat ulcers. >> you have to put them under your tongue because it's more effective that way. >> identical to a miscarriage. >> yeah it does say on the box not to use while pregnant. by the time she's done, mellisa will have swallowed 12 pills. >> when should we do this? >> whenever you're ready, really. >> okay. >> the rate of attempted self-induced abortions in texas is believed to be one of the highest in the united states. >> you're going to take four. your first dose is four. >> fault lines is here to find out why. >> just keep checking the time, 30 minutes.
then you can swallow it. >> whole woman's health in mcallen. a city in the lower rio grande valley, on the southern most tip of texas. >> a few months ago mellisa could have come to this clinic for a legal abortion, but it's been practically shut down and isn't allowed to provide abortions anymore. >> last november a law went into effect that made it harder for doctors to perform abortions. under the new legislation doctors need an official affiliation with a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. but in this conservative region, none of the hospitals are willing to do that.
its just one of a number of laws that have swept texas and other states, which have made abortion more difficult to obtain. the supreme court made abortion a constitutional right in 1973, in a landmark case called roe versus wade that actually began in texas. >> in the last two years there's been more restrictions passed against reproductive justice than there were in the 30 years prior to that. and we've really beared a lot of the brunt of that here in texas. >> even though they've won, anti abortion activists continue to protest in front of whole woman's health marching from church on a saturday morning, despite the cold and rain. >> we pray for the least among us, the children in the womb. >> protect them from the violence of abortion. we pray for those that are scheduled to die today. save them from death.
>> helping a person to end the life of their child is not helping a person. >> we are here to ask the lord. to give everyone who is considering an abortion, hope. >> do you think women have a right to choose? >> no, because they made a choice, now take the consequence because there is a life. if you say yes then suffer the consequences as they think. it's not a consequence to us, but they think it's a consequence, a product. not to kill. because nobody has a right to kill. >> there's still a stigma around having an abortion in texas. whether it's because of cultural attitudes or religious beliefs it's unusual for people to talk about it freely here. >>i'm just not ready to be a mother. if i would have a baby i'm going to do it right, you know, and i want to have all the resources that i can. basically i'm just really poor. >> did you ever think it would be so difficult to get an
abortion in the us? >>no, i thought it would be much simpler. texas is huge and you know three or four or five clinics here is going to be many hours drive for a lot of people and i either have texas at my disposal or mexico because i'm on the border. there's nothing closer or in between. >> it's just a half hour's drive for mellisa to get to mexico, where she bought the misoprostol. we wanted to see what her journey looked like, so we headed there with a local health activist. >> how far is the border from here? >> it is probably around 15-20 minutes away. >> that's it? >> yeah. >> that's really close. >> are there several groups you work with down here? >> no, i think people do things individually but there is no organized movement. >> that must make it really hard? >> yeah, because you want to do stuff like last year there was a lot of momentum and it kind of
just dies off until the next you know horrible thing happens. >> within 20 minutes we'd crossed into arrived in nuevo progreso, a small border town. >> this entire street is full of pharmacies. >> this is the big business here. this is why a lot of people come here? to buy cheap drugs? >> it was really easy to get it, misoprostol, it was just 31 dollars. >> hi do you have misoprostol? >> misoprostol? >> yes, how much is it? >> dollar is 187. >> 187 dollars. you don't have a cheaper kind? >> the generic? >> yeah, don't need the brand name. >> i cannot believe how easy it is to get misoprostol here. this guy charged me 45 dollars but as soon as i said the word misoprostol, he knew what i was talking about and he gave it to me. >> women who buy the drug in mexico and bring it back to the
us for self abortions, could face possible charges. >> it is a legal drug to have like people it for ulcers, if they know that you're using it for an abortion that's a different story, it is illegal, >> what about undocumented women? what can they do? >> they are kind of trapped because they can't go to mexico because they will check for their papers. >> the rio grande valley has a large population of undocumented immigrants.with no abortion clinics left here, undocumented women have virtually no options. but we heard that they could find misoprostol at this flea market outside of mcallen. people come here to buy cheap beauty produts, used cars, and medication being sold on the black market. >> we wanted to go into the flea market but they wouldn't let us in with a camera so we're going to try to go in through another entrance and just use our cell phones to film
what happens in there. >> this is amazing, gosh. >> yeah, people pay crazy prices in desperation. there was one woman who had, she bought 100 pills for over 600 dollars and they weren't even real. >> do you have misoprostol? >> which one? >> misoprostol? >> no, they don't carry that. >> do you have misoprostol? >> no, is it like an antibiotic? >> no its like for if you want to get your period back, if you want to. >> no, they don't sell them anymore, no they don't let them, they are prescribed, they took them months ago. >> really? they used to be sold here right? >> they used to be sold here? >> when did they stop? >> i don't know. i wouldn't sell it but i knew that the stand over there use to sell them. >> looks like there is a real alter on for misoprostol, they are not allowed to sell it here anymore. i think everyone here seems to be aware that you need a prescription for it, seems to be a real crackdown on folks who do sell it.
no one here wants to talk about it. they just say they don't have it. >> traveling north to san antonio and other cities which do have abortion clinics is not an option for undocumented women. they'd have to cross through internal checkpoints on the way, where homeland security agents would ask to see their id. but for women who do have access to misoprostol, self-inducing an abortion carries its own risks, like being far away from a doctor in case anything goes wrong. researchers say self-induced abortions will become more common here as access to clinics becomes harder. >> we are back at mellisa's house. she had have taken her pills by now. i'm going to see how she's doing. >>hey, how are you feeling? >> so walk me through what happened last night.
>>even before i swallowed the pills while it was under my tongue i feel the cramps starting again, i mean they never really stopped but they were getting more intense and i even said along with how quickly it was contracting. >>and those were the longest three hours of my life, it felt like after the second dose. the pain was super deep, it was really long. my uterus felt so tight, i tried taking medication for nausea and i ended up throwing that up. and i just kept on throwing up until there was actually nothing left to throw up. >> when did the pain stop? >> the intense pain probably stopped around 6 in the morning or so. >> almost 12 hours. >> yeah, it was a long time. >> what would you say to the politicians who are restricting access to surgical abortions? >> i would say, try it. i don't know if they are aware
that this is what i have to go through, what other people have to go through. >> my name is shaquan mcdowell i'm a 17 year old teenager. i go to a public high school outside of the city limits of atlanta. it's 99% african american we do get a quality education. you know we have teachers that really care about us as far as the african american stereotypes, all the music they listen too is rap, they only use ebonics, they don't know how to speak proper english, they've never read a book in their life, all they do is get high, smoke weed, no... i've never been exposed to anything like that... coming from a mom who as a single mother, had her first child at 16, who is the ceo of her own company, me being someone who is about to graduate, who is the recipient of a full scholarship, the stereotype is absolutely flawed. >> did it ever cross your mind that. being a single mother that, your children may end up like the statistics say they're gonna fail >> being a single mom...
raising five kids, i've always said you guys, you be 100% the best that you can be >> i would like to run for the senate in 2032. then it leads to the great big goal in life, to run for the office of the president of the united states of america >> catch more stories from edge of eighteen on al jazeera america
>> it's a chilling and draconian sentence... it simply cannot stand. >> this trial was a sham... >> they are truth seekers... >> all they really wanna do is find out what's happening, so they can tell people... >> governments around the world all united to condemn this... >> as you can see, it's still a very much volatile situation... >> the government is prepared to carry out mass array... >> if you want free press in the new democracy, let the journalists live. >> weekday mornings on al jazeera america >> we do have breaking news this morning... >> start your day with in depth coverage from around the world. first hand reporting
from across the country and real news keeping you up to date. the big stories of the day, from around the world... >> these people need help, this is were the worst of the attack took place... >> and throughout the morning, get a global perspective on the news... >> the life of doha... >> this is the international news hour... >> an informed look on the night's events, a smarter start to your day. mornings on al jazeera america >> this is where it all began. the texas capitol building, where last summer politicians passed one of the most restrictive abortion laws the state has ever seen. democratic state senator wendy davis tried to block the bill through a filibuster, speaking for 11 hours straight. >> members of congress, i'm rising on the floor today, to humbly give voice to thousands of texans who have been ignored. >> after loud interruptions by
protesters, the deadline passed without a vote. >> senate bill 5, cannot be signed in the presence of the senate at this time and therefore cannot be enrolled. >> texas senate rules meant she couldn't sit down, lean on the podium, eat, drink or go to the bathroom for the entire time. for her efforts, davis won supporters from around the country, including powerful democrats who convinced her to run in this year's governor's race, but the victory was short lived. >> in signing, house bill two today, we celebrate and further cement foundation on which the culture of life in texas is built upon. >> republican rick perry called a second special session in july and this time, the bill passed. he sign it into law that month. >> no one will ever have to ask you where you when the babies' lives were being saved. >> house bill 2 is that finally
passed this summer as you know there was back-and-forth. and it has a multi-layered effect on us. it's brilliant strategy on their part both because it has the admitting privileges for physicians and it also has the ambulatory surgical center requirement and those two things combined really creates a perfect storm for the vast majority of us to even remain open. >> that's because the bill known as sb2 or hb2 requires clinics to meet the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers. it also bans abortion at 20 weeks, among other restrictions. >> i'm going to meet one of the most prominent anti-abortion lawmakers. he was one of the main cosponsors of house bill 2. >> is this why you got into politics because of your views on abortion?
>> that's my primary motivation for going into politics. it really is. >> human life doesn't get any more innocent than a little baby in a womb. >> so as a christian, we recognize the old testament and new testament as god's word. >> there are versus in some that we look at that talks about the lord forming us in the mother's womb and all in the scriptures it's pretty clear that god is the author of life and he gives life and it's his to take. >> do you feel like you've won? >> if we're building a culture of life if more mothers are choosing life and if more people are coming alongside those mothers encouraging them and meeting their physical needs, then we are winning. if that's happening, we are winning. >> by september, when the rest of the law's provisions are expected to go into effect, texas will have gone from 40 abortion clinics last year to just 6 this in a state of 26 million people, that can take twelve hours to drive across
this clinic in austin will have to shut down in a few months. >> hi i'm. >> hi i'm diane, i'm an administrator here. >> it can't afford to make the renovations to meet the same standards as an ambulatory surgical center or asc. >> explain again why it's going to be shut down.because this isn't wide enough? >> yeah, because right now the walls that we have about three feet wideand to be an asc it has to be eight feet wide. the lighting has to be different, the ventilation has to be different, room temperatures have to be different. so, it's just changes like that and it's expensive. >> the bill supportes insist that the new restrictions are necessary to keep women safe but abortion providers told us that the process is a quick and safe one especially the first trimester and that complications are rare. >> the real wave of successful opposition and difficulty for us has been through the regulatory
system. >> one they pass laws and get laws into effect and two they are actually utilizing that system to harass us. >> when we came here on a busy tuesday morning we saw dozens of women walk through the clinic's doors. >> there's teenagers, there's college students, there's mothers, people who thought they were done being able to get pregnant who are over 45. >> the waiting room is mixed with all different kinds of people most of them wouldn't talk to us even off camera but the ones who did told us about the clinics closing. >> its like easier to get breast implants, than it is to get an abortion in texas, which is ridiculous. it is so frustrating and it makes you feel like you're not an, equal citizen just because you're a woman and just because like something mistake happened, you shouldn't be held accountable for it and almost die for trying to fix it. and we don't have a proper separation of, church and state
and because of that lawmakers are going to do whatever it takes to get people to keep them in office. >> is this a difficult decision for you? >> yes, its very difficult being a travel nurse and that you know i'm trying to save lives and it's very difficult. >> crystal had to drive three hours to get here because her hometown has no abortion clinic. >> part is being alone. >> i don't have anybody who would come with me or go with me because their opinions are very strong. >> and they don't agree with my decision and so i have to do it alone. >> do you know that this clinic might have to shut down in september? >> no, i didn't know that. >> what will you do if you are in this situation again. >> for me. >> i would drive to wherever i would need to go, that means in state, out of state, it really wouldn't matter to me. >> i mean we are truly in survival mode and we are trying to fight things instead of
really out in front strategically and looking at asking bigger questions like who is benefitting from restricting access to safe abortions for women, like who benefits from the passing of these laws and what is their ultimate objective and what is their strategy and what are they trying to do? >> i don't want to clean up the abortion industry, i want to close it but because i can't close it if they can't close it i want them to meet the high level of standards any other surgical facility would because the truth is, they are. and killing women in substandard facilities. on tech know, >> i landed head first at 120 mph >> a shocking new way to treat brain injuries >> transcranial direct stimulation... don't try this at home... >> but some people are... >> it's not too much that we'ed fry any important brain parts... >> before you flip the switch, get the facts... >> to say that passing a low level of current is automatically safe, is not true >> every saturday, go where technology meets
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>> how are you? >> i'm fine thank you. >> carol everett, prominent anti abortion advocate who helped push for the new restrictions. >> hello, how are you? >> hey how are you doing? >> i'm fine, how are you doing? always good to see you. >> what have you been up to? >> not much, trying to buy those abortion clinics and put pro-life centers in them. >> there are a lot of christians in our legislature and i work with those christians and my job is to share with them what's going on so we are very fortunate to have a majority of conservatives in texas. we don't expect that to last but we are excited about it and we have made great strides in the last five years in texas. >> she used to own a chain of abortion clinics but left the business.
one day a man walked into one of her clinics and asked her to pray with him. >> dear god i am a sinner, please forgive me in my sins. thanks you for sending your son jesus christ to die on the cross for my sins. reign in the throne of my heart my lord my savior make me a worker in your vineyard, amen. >> i had an abortion. it destroyed my life. i lived it. >> i was in the abortion industry for 6 years. i was responsible for 35,000 abortions. they don't care about women, they care about money. >> hello, is dr. minto in? >> sure, go ahead and come right in. >> how much money is in this business? >> watch, old tennis shoes, blue jeans, 8 year old car. not a heck of a lot of money. dr. lester minto is the last
abortion doctor left in the rio grande valley. >> well, this is the sono room. this is where we do sonograms and check everybody. >> the suction machines, you keep them here? >> we keep the suction machines here, so the girls don't have to listen to the noise. every week he makes the five hour drive from his home to his clinic. >> and where is the room you stay at night when you're here? >> it is right back here. there's nothing vulgar. kind of like a jail cell. >> this is where you stay two or three nights a week? you said you sleep with a gun on you? >> i lay it there besides me. >> really, can you show me? this is what you use? >> i don't want to ever use it, i've never had to use it, but i always carry it just for safety. >> they call me murderer, they followed my kids around yelled at my children when they were little. >> these good christians, they don't have the courage to stand up to me but they would follow
my kids around and say things to them in store things like your dad is a murderer and terrible things they'd come home crying and ask me about it. >> dr. minto can't legally perform abortions here. what he can do, he says, is carry out what he calls "miscarriage management" that means he sees women who have tried to self induce an abortion and have only been partially successful. >> we do sonogram and ascertain that there's not a viable fetus. >> and then i can legally clean out the young ladies uterus, and remove any debris or any tissue that is left in there. >> stephanie, a young mother of three young children, came to the clinic for "miscarriage management" she had been pregant with twins. >> what's the hardest thing about this? >> just knowing i have to do this.
>> and many women just have kids and don't take care of them and it's not fair to the kids, and kids die every day from different situations without the mother caring for them. >> it doesn't seem like it was an easy decision for you. >> i'm not doing it to kill a child. it's not what i'm trying to do. i'm trying to protect the ones that i have now. they're going to take the only abortion clinic that we have here, it's just going to make it way harder on the women. way harder. >> see a 10 year old girl that's pregnant and tell me that's what god wants. see a 58 year old woman that's pregnant and tell me that's what god wants. what are those girls going to do? none of these laws decrease the need for abortions. they only make it harder for girls for get them. do something to decrease demand. i'm against abortion too. a few weeks after we left texas,
we heard that dr.minto's clinic had shut down. >> roe v wade started here, came out of here, and destroyed we don't know, we believe well over 60 million lives. but the end started here. the end of abortion started here in the summer of 2013. >> investigating a dark side of the law >> they don't have the money to puchace their freedom... >> for some...crime does pay... >> the bail bond industry has been good to me.... i'll make a chunk of change off the crime... fault lines...
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