As news of the landmark decision to overturn Roe v. Wade came down, Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa was overcome with emotion over a decision the anti-abortion advocate believes is a step in the right direction but also one that came too soon.
“It was such a mixture of conflicting feelings,” said Herndon-De La Rosa. "I believe in protecting the unborn child in the womb 100%. But at the same time, from a practical standpoint, we don't have the systems in place, the safety nets, to support women and children the way that we should. We don't just want them to survive, we want them to thrive."
An unplanned child herself, Herndon-De La Rosa had her own unexpected pregnancy at 16. She chose life, thanks in part to a strong support system.
She later founded New Wave Feminists to do the same for others, advocating for a violence-free life from womb to tomb.
"It has been optional for the last 49 years for us to be stepping up, helping women, and there are a lot of wonderful boots on the ground, people, small organizations who have been doing this work. But unfortunately, it's not nearly enough. I mean, we need much, much bigger accommodations to be made for women to truly be equitable in a society that doesn't allow abortion as an option,” she said.
At Texas Woman’s University where students protested Friday’s decision, women's studies director Danielle Phillips-Cunningham couldn't help but reflect on the history she teaches.
"I never thought that this country would take several steps back to that particular society where women were considered second-class citizens,” said Phillips-Cunningham.
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It’s a move she said will hurt some women more than others.
“Texas is one of the states in the country with the highest maternal mortality rates and infant mortality rates in the country, and the women who mostly experience that are Black and Latino women, poor women, working-class women, even some middle-class women,” she said. “As the President mentioned earlier, women can travel to other states where abortion is not outlawed to get abortion services, but that takes money. It takes time off of your job. Many women work jobs that won't allow them to have that significant amount of time off.”
She encourages those disappointed by today's decision to make their voices heard.
“I really would like for young people to understand how much voting really means,” said Phillips-Cunningham.
Meanwhile, Herndon-De La Rosa reminds those who fought for abortion bans that there's still work to be done.
"I think that that's where people who have these pro-life convictions, you have to step up. We have to be there to fill in that gap because there are a lot of women who are desperately going to need it now in the future,” she said.