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  • Writer's pictureRob Icsezen

Ep. 22 Katie Sullivan - Access to Abortion in the Houston Area

Katie Sullivan 0:00

***radio effect on voice*** I think about "antis" and I say it's your children and it's your sisters and it's your people who come to us desperate because they know they can't come to you. It personally breaks my heart to think about someone who has that need and doesn't have anyone they can go to to get that need met.

Music 0:36

***Intro Music***

Rob Icsezen 0:36

What's up Houston! Welcome to H-Town Progressive, Houston's Impenetrable Fortress of Progressive Thought! I'm your host, Rob Icsezen. ***Intro music fades out** In the United States, we have a constitutional right to abortion. That's the law. And well, while I want to say that's the law, end of story, in fact, it's really just the beginning of a very long complicated story. We've all heard of Roe vs. Wade, the seminal constitutional law case in which the Supreme Court decided that the right to have an abortion was included, and an extension of, the right to privacy protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. That was 1973, and since then, abortion has been protected. But that case was not rock solid by any stretch, as it allowed for a balancing of certain state interests against the right to privacy. And well, since then, the anti-choice fanatics have been chipping away so that now depending on a number of factors, and remember that I'm going to come back to it, the United States government and its willing accomplices at the state level, will indeed do whatever it can to force you to carry a fetus inside your body against your will. And the details really matter here because much, if not most, of the substance around the issue is lost in the tiresome public discussions you hear in our national media. And with the current Supreme Court, the right to an abortion is in jeopardy now more than it ever has been. But we're not covering any of that today. Today we're going to focus on one of the many tactics employed in the conservative grand strategy of government control over your body. As I said earlier, the law is the law, abortion is protected in this country, at least for now. But depending on a number of factors, you will not be able to enjoy that protection. First and foremost, if you are rich, you absolutely have a right to an abortion period, end of story. That's because the many tactics employed by the opposition to control your body can be easily bypassed if you have the means to do so. Of course, that's to say nothing of the great social stigma that may constrain you depending on your community and your personal situation, which absolutely can't be ignored. But conversely, for the rest of us without financial means, you will have to jump through a number of hurdles to access your constitutionally protected right. And the less privilege you enjoy, the more difficult and impossible an abortion becomes for you. To name just a few of these intentional hurdles: there are waiting periods, you can be forced to look at a sonogram and listen to a fetal heartbeat. Your doctor can be forced to read you an untrue statement about the risks of medical procedures. And none of these things have to do with your health. All of them have to do with the conservative forces in the government trying to influence the decisions you make about your body. So our focus today covers a particularly insidious tactic. The states can and have regulated out of existence many health care providers that provide abortion so that the number of clinics will be far and few between and thus, your access to even consider an abortion will be extremely limited. Just to cite one stat that's an astonishing stat: in Texas, about 900,000 reproductive age people who are able to become pregnant, live more than 150 miles from an abortion clinic. If you can take off work, if you could afford travel and lodging, you're still potentially covered. But if any of those things are a challenge to you, your healthcare is at risk. And that is very much the intention of this policy. But it's not all bad news. While we fight this battle in government, and we will continue to fight this battle on a daily basis, many ally organizations are there to help and our guest today is with one of those organizations. Katie Sullivan is a board member for Clinic Access Support Network (, a nonprofit organization that provides transportation, lodging and emotional support to those seeking abortion care. It's my honor to welcome to the show today, Katie Sullivan! Katie, welcome to H-Town Progressive!

Katie Sullivan 0:51

Hi, happy to be here.

Rob Icsezen 4:54

It's really really fantastic to have you as a representative of an organization doing incredibly important work here in Houston and nationally, but I'm excited about hearing about that.

Katie Sullivan 5:05

Thank you.

Rob Icsezen 5:09

So, in the intro remarks, I kind of covered the impediments, the hurdles that have been put out there by the opposition and ended with "but there are organizations out there who are there to help" and your organization is one of them. Tell us about what y'all are up to.

Katie Sullivan 5:22

Yeah, absolutely. So Clinic Access Support Network, our mission is to provide transportation, lodging and emotional support to those seeking abortion care in Houston, Texas. Our goal is if you are trying to get an abortion procedure, in the city of Houston, we are going to do everything we can to get you there. So that might mean getting you a ride, that might mean might mean finding you a place to stay, that might mean getting you gas money, or whatever means that you might need in order to get you there. We're going to try and meet that need. Our big overarching pie in the sky goal is to actually in a way franchise out the work that we do so that if you know, national legislation, state legislation is going to keep trying to restrict abortion rights, then we're going to create a network of people to make sure folks can get access to care.

Rob Icsezen 6:13

And so that's great. And so the message really is that for folks who need access to care, and the government or people in the government are trying to make that access as difficult as possible, you guys are there to step in and do what you can to make that access as easy as possible to fight those hurdles. I mean, it's a constant battle, isn't it?

Katie Sullivan 6:35

Yeah. So I'm really glad you brought up legislative restrictions, because that's actually legislative restrictions, particularly legislative restrictions in Texas, were what this organization was born out of. CASN is a pretty young organization. We were only founded in 2013, and in response to HB2, so HB2...

Rob Icsezen 6:55

Remind us of what that is, yes!

Katie Sullivan 6:56

I will remind you of what that is! So HB2 was a Texas legisla-, piece of legislation. It was HB2 and then SB5. Listeners might know it from the very, the viral "I stand with Wendy" moment. Wendy Davis actually filibustered this piece of legislation... ***(for more information see***

Rob Icsezen 7:12

So this is the one where she, ok great...

Katie Sullivan 7:14

Right. And so the legislation was a restricted piece of legislation that was going to require abortion clinics to meet the standard for ambulatory surgical centers. It was going to require doctors to have admitting privileges, which if you're not familiar with the procedure, that seems good, right? We're trying to protect people and keep them safe. But really, it's completely unnecessary, for these clinics to have these kind of restrictions.

Rob Icsezen 7:39

And it is it's rich too, because these are the same people who don't want to regulate oil and gas companies, the same people who have great heartache over even the smallest amount of government regulation, that all of a sudden! have this, this, trust in government and in the, I don't know, faith in its efficacy to perform good.

Katie Sullivan 8:02

Yeah, I it's funny because there will be this anti abortion critique that says, oh, it's the big abortion business. But you know, people on the right are all about big business. So it's funny that this is, if you're calling this a business, which I would argue and it is not, but if you're going to make that argument, since when do you care about restricting big business right?

Rob Icsezen 8:21

Wait, so the argument is that abortion providers are big business?

Katie Sullivan 8:24

Yeah, there's this, so it's become no longer, I guess, fashionable or appropriate in the "anti" movement, I think post Tiller, it's no longer, "antis" no longer see it as appropriate to go after patients seeking abortion care. They're now seen as vulnerable, we need to quote unquote, save them. It is however "appropriate" to go after doctors and clinic workers. There's this really interesting anti organization called "Until There Were None," which writes little postcards to clinic workers saying like, "you can stop working here, we know you don't want to" and they're handwritten notes.

Rob Icsezen 9:02

So this is these

So this is, you're describing strat-, little tactics that have been employed by the opposition to abortion care to try to: one terrorize patients. They're not doing that as much anymore since since the horrible killing of this Dr. Tiller. But what they're doing, you're saying, now is they're writing little notes to people who are on the provider side?

Katie Sullivan 9:26

Yeah, absolutely. The doctors are the ones who are now the targets,

Rob Icsezen 9:30


Katie Sullivan 9:31

And the clinic workers are the targets. That's what they see, the "anti" movement sees as a safe target. Targeting women and people, other people seeking abortion care is no longer, it makes them look bad, frankly. And so in order to protect their movement, that's, this is their safe target. They can go after the people. It's kind of like, you know, going after drug dealers as opposed to going after...

Rob Icsezen 9:54

drug users or something?

Katie Sullivan 9:55

exactly, like again,

Rob Icsezen 9:56


Katie Sullivan 9:56

I do not think of abortion providers that way!

Rob Icsezen 9:58

Yeah I know.

Katie Sullivan 9:58

But that's framing this, from their side, that's the, that is their strategic approach.

Unknown Speaker 10:03

at it

Rob Icsezen 10:04

Is that, do you think that that's a good shift at least to show that at least some part of it, there's a stigma associated with that that strategy on terrorizing people who would seek this health care? Or do you think that they're just doing what they can and we shouldn't look at that as perhaps a positive evolution?

Katie Sullivan 10:24

You know, I'd have to think about that. But my instance- instinct is to say, at first blush, it looks better, but deep down, it's actually not. Anything that takes away from someone's autonomy to make a choice about their own body. And that's really there's a kind of paternalism in that message and in that choice, that you, you know, you are some sort of victim here and at CASN and organizations in this space, we don't think people seeking abortion care are victims. We think it's okay to have an abortion, we support your choice. And we support your right to make the choice that's best for you. So I think it's insidious. And it's meant to seem caring and compassionate. When really it's not.

Rob Icsezen 11:13

Yeah. Yeah. Well, okay, so let's go back to legislation. So the SB2 sorry, HB2 and SB5 in 2013 with the whole thing, they got that through, but, it had its effect, but then it was struck down, right?

Katie Sullivan 11:30


Rob Icsezen 11:31


Katie Sullivan 11:31

So that passed through the Texas Lege, it got through the appeals court. And it went all the way up to the Supreme Court in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt (, which you brought up before, and the Supreme Court, in that 5-3 decision actually struck that down, said this was an "undue burden" on people seeking abortion care in Texas. But at that point, the damage was already done. The number of clinics were cut in half and it also cut the number of clinics in rural areas.

Rob Icsezen 12:00

And to be clear. So what what happened was they said, "Okay, well now clinics, you've got to do all these things which are medically unnecessary, that cost a lot of money." And so all the small clinics kind of in rural areas that don't have a lot of money, we're not talking about big business here, they had to close their doors. And now that presen- presented itself with the problem we have today. Yeah?

Katie Sullivan 12:23

Exactly. And so what that law created is something that at CASN we refer to as an "abortion desert." So again, now abortion clinics are only located in major urban areas. This statistic is from the ACLU, but they state that about 900,000 reproductive age women in Texas live more than 150 miles from an abortion clinic.

Rob Icsezen 12:44

So I made, I saw that myself and I put it in my opening remarks because it was so striking to me. 900,000 people were talking about, don't live anywhere near a clinic.

Katie Sullivan 12:58


Rob Icsezen 12:58

In modern America. Welcome to the first world 21st century. And that exists, that's that's the case,that's a fact? that's stunning to people... or should be stunning...

Katie Sullivan 13:09

Yeah, absolutely. And so this ricochets out to people trying to seek abortion care, because there are, you know, there's a timeline with this. In Texas, you can only get an abortion up to 20 weeks. After 16 weeks abortion becomes more expensive. Another legal restriction is there's a 24 hour waiting period in the state of Texas. So if you, you have to have an ultrasound by the doctor who is going to perform your abortion, wait 24 hours, and then come back for the procedure.

Rob Icsezen 13:42

And it's got to be the same doctor?

Katie Sullivan 13:43

Same doctor.

Rob Icsezen 13:45

And if you don't live within 150 miles of that doctor, that means you need to be at a hotel or something?

Katie Sullivan 13:51

Actually, so I'm glad you brought that up. And a lot of people don't know this, and I'm sure many people even though they have this, they can get that waived. So if you are actually more than a hundred miles from an abortion clinic, you can get the 24 hour period waived because it's considered an undue burden. But if you don't know that that's the case. And this is the way these laws work is that they fuel ignorance and fear. And so at a certain point, a person might despair and think that they can't get to an abortion, that they can't afford it, that they can't get what they need, and then they don't have the procedure that they might otherwise have had. So...

Rob Icsezen 14:25

And what I think is particularly insidious about this, is that it has a disparate impact on people with less privilege. I mean, let's be clear, rich people get abortions whenever they want. Right, I mean, or at least the the access is nowhere near as impactful. So if you are in a rural part of Texas, and you don't have any money and you don't speak English, perhaps, I mean, the chances that you're going to be able to access an abortion are way less than a rich white person in downtown Houston.

Katie Sullivan 14:59

No doubt that's true. I think I hesitated to respond immediately because I see so frequently, CASN serves all types of people.

Rob Icsezen 15:07

Sure, yeah.

Katie Sullivan 15:07

And we actually are consistently surprised that the people that we serve are kind of consistent with the demographics of Houston.

Rob Icsezen 15:15

Ok, ok.

Katie Sullivan 15:15

And we pretty much, based on the demographic information we've collected, we come out more or less in line with the way that the city looks. But no doubt that people who are more vulnerable whether they're, you know, whether they don't have the money, whether they're undocumented, that's actually a really interesting side of this, of this issue, is people who are, you know, if you don't have identification, and you need to have identification to come to the clinic to get this procedure.

Rob Icsezen 15:49


Katie Sullivan 15:50

There was a case with Jane Doe, which was either last year or the year before that where it was an undocumented young woman seeking abortion care..., in Texas, and what was particularly disgusting about that case was because she was going through the courts, she had to wait until her pregnancy was much further along. She never wavered in her desire to get a procedure. She always wanted to, but she was forced to continue this pregnancy because the courts were not going to grant her the bypass to allow her to get the procedure.

Rob Icsezen 16:00

Yes I remember this.

She was a minor, wasn't she?

Katie Sullivan 16:11

Yeah. And so the restrictions on minors are also, there are, I mean they are particularly onerous. There's a great organization called Jane's Due Process (, which works particularly with minors to get them judicial bypass. But yeah, these are some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States. Texas and Houston in particular, has a lot of challenges that come with trying to seek abortion care, beyond, and again, this is all beyond the actual procedure. Like this is all...

Rob Icsezen 17:01

Right, it has nothing to do with the medicine.

Katie Sullivan 17:03

No, it has nothing to do with your body, has nothing to do with any of the medical aspects of this. This is all a larger social and legal pressure that is placed on people seeking this care.

Rob Icsezen 17:13

And so let me, let me back up for one second because I want to check some of the language I use. Because, you know, when I say that, if you enjoy privilege, you'll definitely be able to get an abortion, get an abortion, I need to be mindful, and I appreciate your hesitation there because, just because you have plenty of money, you might be in an abusive household, you might be for any number of reasons, religious reasons, cultural reasons, whatever it might be, you might not have the privilege that I'm talking about essentially, you're not... you might be able to get that access because of your money or whatever it might be, but but the limitations on your, you know, your personal limitations might prevent you from getting there. So I need to be mindful about that.

Katie Sullivan 17:56

That's actually, I'm so glad that you brought that up and brought up being mindful about that. When I first started doing this work with CASN, that was one of the things that struck me as most interesting, that we had people who would live in really fancy houses or apartment buildings, they had people, they had cars and plenty of people who would give them a ride anywhere, except to an appointment like this. And there are so many people, one of the things we teach our volunteers who come to train with us is we don't make any judgments or make any assumptions about the people who come to us. And one of the really interesting things you'll learn is there are plenty of people who are seeking abortion care who don't necessarily agree with abortion. They will say, you know, abortion is wrong, but my abortion is okay because of XYZ. And that's, organizationally, that's fine. You get to make whatever choice you think is best for you. And we're not here to judge you and we're not here to teach you anything. We're just here to support your access. That is what our mission is. But it is personally for me, I think, when I think about people who are anti abortion or maybe uncertain about abortion, those kind of stigmas, you know, this is our overarching organization National Network of Abortion Funds ( has this great t-shirt you can buy that says "everyone loves somebody who's had an abortion" and that's true, and any...

Rob Icsezen 19:16

I'm glad you raised that, yes.

Katie Sullivan 19:17

...and anytime you express those stigmas or talk about "abortion is okay, but I don't know" sort of thing, like you are creating a culture that shames people seeking abortion that makes them afraid to come out to you. And it's, you know, I think about "antis" I say, "it's your children, and it's your sisters, and it's your people who come to us desperate, because they know they can't come to you. And that's just personally that's something that makes me particularly sad when I think I'm glad we can provide that service, but it personally breaks my heart to think about someone who has that need and doesn't have anyone they can go to to get that need met.

Rob Icsezen 20:05

Yeah. And it has so many reasons in their own life that will prevent them from making that choice, even if they have the capability to make that choice, you know, financially or whatever it might be.

Katie Sullivan 20:17

Absolutely. I don't mean to understate that, like financial barriers are a huge barrier to access. And that is probably the largest barrier to access to most people. I don't mean to overstate the case of stigma or emotional reasons, but I think just for me, personally, that's the one that hits me a lot.

Rob Icsezen 20:36

Yeah, well, I mean, it's the choice to have an abortion is such a personal choice for any person who is confronted with it. And I think that the one most important thing is to respect the integrity and autonomy of the person confronting that choice and the fact that y'all are non judgmental, you're saying, hey, if you've made the choice that's up for y- up to you, whatever your reasons might be, we'll help you get there. Which is in direct opposition to folks who are saying that, yeah, even though the law says you can make that choice, we're going to do everything we can to make that choice more difficult for you, in addition to whatever social pressures might be out there, whatever personal limitations you might have in your family, or friends or groups or community or whatever it might be, we're going to try to make it as hard logistically as possible. That's particularly insidious. I think.

Katie Sullivan 21:32

I agree with you. Absolutely.

Rob Icsezen 21:33

So, abortion deserts. Now, Houston's not a desert though, right? I mean, we have, we have we have, we're big city. And so we're not rural Texas. What is- What is- what are some of the challenges particular to Houston, in this whole mess that that has been created by the Texas Legislature?

Katie Sullivan 21:53

Right, so I think right now there are currently six operating abortion clinics within the Houston city limits. But what happens is because, so that's meant serve the city of Houston. But now folks in outlying areas of Houston, there are no clinics in these outlying areas. So, if you live in Beaumont, you are either coming to Houston, or you're going to Louisiana, if you live in Galveston, you're coming to us, if you live in College Station, you're either going to Waco or you're coming into Houston. And so that, those are long distances, but they're also distances that are under 100 miles. So people have, but they're long treks right? So people have to make long treks several times in order to get their procedures completed. Again, as I mentioned before, that that forces pregnancy, there are people who don't want to be pregnant who don't want to carry their pregnancies to term who are forced to do that because of these restrictions. And I really, I really want to impress upon your listeners to think about that, that you are forcing someone to be pregnant who doesn't want to be by maintaining these kinds of laws. And that is, and pregnancy is no joke! like pregnancy, delivering, like having a birth is much, is 14 times more dangerous than having an abortion. And that is what you are sentencing a person to do by these particular laws.

Rob Icsezen 23:22

That's a really good statistic actually.

Katie Sullivan 23:24


Rob Icsezen 23:24

I think that people who then say. "oh, we're doing it for health reasons or whatever." I mean, that's, that's just clearly wrong. And there's so many, they're - all of their sort of subterfuge, "we're doing it for the interests of whomever" the person you know, they're all subterfuge! I mean it, and it's clearly, all of that is debunked.

Katie Sullivan 23:41


Rob Icsezen 23:41

But it doesn't matter

Katie Sullivan 23:42

And that's why I resisted that moment, that paternalism you said earlier, right. All of these laws are based on a kind of paternalism that is really dangerous. And so you have to always be aware of that language of protection. Because if you're really interested in the welfare of pregnant people, you would be supporting what pregnant people wanted. Right? You would be supporting healthcare that would provide if people did want to carry their pregnancies to term, that they could get adequate maternal health care, that they could get adequate childcare, and support, adequate education, right!!! If you were really interested in the welfare of these people and the welfare of families, then you would be heavily invested in that!!! But it's not about that welfare. Again, it is about trying to control women and then tangentially other people who can get pregnant as well.

Rob Icsezen 24:34

Sure. And so and so let's take an example, there- A person, a theoretical person is pregnant in Galveston and has made the choice to have an abortion. That person then needs to, the closest place is going to be in Houston somewhere. Houston is not cheap. I mean, it's the one of the biggest cities in, or the biggest city in Texas, and it's certainly more expensive than Galveston. So now that person has to find transportation to first, have to find an abortion clinic so they have to do the research and figure that out...

Katie Sullivan 25:00

and then they're at risk of finding a "crisis pregnancy center," which might not actually provide them with abortion care. Are y'all familiar with crisis pregnancy centers?

Rob Icsezen 25:08

What is this? yeah?

Katie Sullivan 25:08

Oh, man!!! Let me tell you about crisis pregnancy centers because they are the worst!!!

Rob Icsezen 25:15

Wait, so are these people who are, oh okay, sorry. Go ahead. I think I know where you're going with this...

Katie Sullivan 25:18

So if you've ever seen like the big blue van in front of Planned Parenthood, that is a crisis pregnancy center. Crisis pregnancy centers are funded by the state !!lavishly!! but they don't actually provide any medical services or care. And they're essentially these scaremongering tools to scare people away from abortion. Sometimes they don't even have medical staff who are there. But a lot of people get tricked into going there because they're like, hey, we'll give you a free ultrasound. When really it's like, here's your ultrasound, and please keep this beautiful baby. And as I mentioned before, if you wanted an abortion, you would have to get an ultrasound by the doctor who's going to perform the abortion, but they these crisis pregnancy centers, they are inviting because they offer a lot of services for free and they masquerade like they're going to offer abortion services even though they absolutely do not...

Rob Icsezen 26:12

So they're, I mean, honestly trying to dupe people into... you know pull their heartstrings on a very personal decision. And they're, I mean, they're being dishonest. They're outwardly just trying to dupe folks into doing stuff that's that that, really they're just trying to force a choice, force an opposite choice. Get them to change their mind.

Katie Sullivan 26:32

Yeah, in the repro movement, this is one of the things that people are very concerned about stopping because again, it's not factual information. Many times it's not even medical service provided by a medical doctor. And they're a dangerous force in the anti movement.

Rob Icsezen 26:52

So there's a person in Galveston. This person is trying to get an abortion. First researching where to get one at all, you might stumble across one these, what did you call it again?

Katie Sullivan 27:01

A crisis pregnancy center.

Rob Icsezen 27:03

Crisis pregnancy center, which sounds like a perfectly legitimate place to go by the way, crisis pregnancy center!

Katie Sullivan 27:09

But it's a van in front of Planned Parenthood! Let's be clear.

Rob Icsezen 27:11

Okay. Okay, but so you might be duped into going to one of these places. Okay, so now you found your place. Now you have to plan your trip, you and who knows if you're going to be a - I guess you need to call, make your appointment, they're going to presumably tell you that you're going to have to have an overnight stay because you need a 24 hour waiting period. Now you got to find a hotel. That's a lot to deal with. You got to take off work, perhaps, or you go on a weekend. I mean, there's a lot to put in to this decision making. Maybe you already have kids and you've got, I've got four, I know weekends are really hard. You know, you're working, you know whatever it might be. I mean, they're all these practical limitations on this theoretical person that you can throw in there that make it harder.

Katie Sullivan 27:56

Absolutely. So the scenario presented is actually really common for us. So most people, like the average person who comes to CASN who needs help from us will come in for their ultrasound appointment, and this is also a hard thing is a lot of people just don't know, like, they don't know that they're going to have a 24 hour waiting period. They show up, they get their ultrasound, the ultrasound will say, yes, you are pregnant. Yes, you can have this procedure. You can have it tomorrow, but you're going to need to be sedated, and you're going to need to get a ride. And so all of those limits that you brought up are are absolutely limits that affect people who call us. The cost of travel, again, if it's just gas money, trying to find someone who can get you there, if you need to, you know, public transit, not that I would be wary of taking public transit after this procedure. Because again, people are just sedated but if you wanted Uber or Lyft, then you don't know if your Uber or Lyft driver is going to take you to the clinic or not. There's a lot, yes, there are so many, the logistics of trying to get this procedure to completion is very, very difficult.

Rob Icsezen 29:02

Well and you're in a state of vulnerability. I mean you're making this really difficult choice, you're vulnerable having made that choice, but after going through the procedure, you're also vulnerable. I mean, you've got, you've been sedated, you've had a medical procedure, whether it's a surgical or another way of doing it. You can be victimized in some way. I mean, it's, it's, an impediment that requires respect, I think, and with any other medical procedure, we provide that. I mean, it is not stigmatize it is, people help you out. But here, you've got people actively trying to prevent the kinds of care that are part of just the dignity of being a member of our society.

Katie Sullivan 29:02

Right. And so this is where CASN comes in. And this is what we're trying to do to help. So for those not familiar with our organization, we're almost entirely volunteer. We have one part time employee, we've got about 90 volunteers, but we complete about 130 rides a month.

Rob Icsezen 30:03

That's great, 130 a month. Fantastic.

Katie Sullivan 30:05

Yeah, and we always have, and we are, there are always people who still need our help. We hate to ask people to reschedule but sometimes we do have to. So if listeners are interested in driving and volunteering for us, we would love to have you we'd love to have your support.

Rob Icsezen 30:21

So one of the things we talk about on the show is activism and advocacy. And people will think, well, what can I do and maybe they're shy about calling their legislator or whatever it might be. This is one of those ways that you can be active in your community. If you care about this, and you should, and you're a progressive, this is one of the great things that you can do. You know, if you don't want to call your legislator, great if you don't want to go to Austin, if you don't want to knock doors - you should do all those things! But if you don't getting involved in an organization, like CASN, the Clinic Access Support Network is one of the great things that you can do.

Katie Sullivan 30:57

Absolutely. And I would say one of the real... compared to other, you know, volunteer opportunities in the progressive movement, stuffing envelopes, knocking on doors - you will get to see the immediate difference you make in somebody's life by supporting them. You will get a personal connection to supporting a person trying to seek abortion care. And I've, you know, I love driving for CASN! Like it's generally a really great experience. And I think many people come back to us and continually support us because there's a lot of fulfillment comes with making that direct impact on people. And I know that can be challenging to find when you do this kind of progressive work, so that's something our organization does offer. For those who maybe don't have the capacity or time to do that, you know, we also provide about, gosh, about $1,000 a month in just direct funding support. So childcare vouchers, lodging, so if you have, you know, a spare bedroom or a camper or something where you can put people up for the night, we absolutely take those kinds of volunteers but we also take gas money, food, post procedure, birth control, pretty much anything that you need in order to get that procedure we're going to try and help with. So financial support is great for us too, we're fundraising right now! It's the big, abortion funds are all doing Bowl-a-thon right now and you can support us or our wonderful Texas sister organizations so, Lilith Fund (, Fund Texas Choice (, TEA (, Frontera ( These are all great Texas funds that support abortion care. And really we're a work driven organization, like we get work done, we're a logistical powerhouse. So if you really want to get your hands dirty in the movement, particularly this part of the movement, there is a place for you at CASN! We would love to have your help! And we're doing, just really exciting, boots on the ground work for reproductive care and reproductive justice.

Rob Icsezen 32:58

So there are a lot of different types of nonprofits out there, some of them are just sort of, you know, rich people trying to raise money, for a good cause. This...

Katie Sullivan 33:05

Yes! if some rich people would like to give us some money, I will happily take your rich people money, thank you very much, tax deductible donations!

Rob Icsezen 33:12

Yes please, send your money! But if that's not you, or if you want to go and do some real boots on the ground work, and I really like what you said about the personal connection, and I can totally see that. I mean, it's it's it's a very personal choice for a person to make. And then the fact that there's this organization that's out there to offer, you know, a friendly hand, to be a part of the community saying yes, you're accepted. You're part of the community, you're not being questioned, you're not being challenged, in a way that that disrespects your autonomy, is profound. And so I can see that that those relationships can be built and and how rewarding that must be.

Katie Sullivan 33:54

Yeah, I'm very happy. I've been working with Clinic Access Support Network since 2016. And it's been so exciting to see the organization grow, to have more people, to provide more support. And I'm really excited to see where we go in the next couple years as well.

Rob Icsezen 34:13

Well, awesome. Well, thank you for your work. And thank you for sharing all of this information with us. We've identified a problem, but y'all are offering a solution. While we fight in government to change these laws, y'all are there to fight that opposition on the front lines. And we really appreciate that work. Now, I know that you're going to have an event soon and I want you to tell our listeners about that.

Katie Sullivan 34:33

We are! Right! So I guess I haven't, I've been so seriously talking about abortion. We are also a really fun organization! We've got really cool people. So if you are sitting and listening and you're like, I'm in Texas, and I work in oil and gas, or I'm marooned in the Woodlands and I don't have any people who are like me, please come and chill with us at our events! Our next event is going to be on April 27th. It's our Trivia-thon Fundraiser event ( You can come join and play trivia with my team. My team name is "Ted Cruz and the Zodiac Killers"

Rob Icsezen 35:03

[laughing] Alright, that's fantastic, nice!

Katie Sullivan 35:05

Yea, it's gonna be, yeah, it's going to be at Rudyard's (, I think from 4 to 7. You can follow us on social media if, to get more specifics on that, we're CASN HTX, is usually our social media handles across all platforms (@casnhtx). But yeah, that's going to be, just fun! Come meet us! We'll have some abortion trivia questions you can answer, also just other fun trivia, and it's run years, which has great tater tots, so you should come out and chill!

Rob Icsezen 35:36

That's right! Fantastic. So that's April 27th, on Saturday at Rudyard's, go out and meet all these good people. And I can say, I just met Katie, and I think she's awesome! I think we've had a great time, so I can personally vouch for that! [laughing]

Katie Sullivan 35:50


Rob Icsezen 35:50

Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. Really appreciate your time and the work that you do.

Katie Sullivan 35:55

Appreciate you too. Thanks for running this podcast.

Rob Icsezen 35:58

Sure thing...

Next week, we're gonna continue on the topic of abortion, but our focus will shift, as we'll discuss abortion from the perspective of a Houston physician, Dr. Bhavik Kumar. Hope you'll join us! So, if this discussion made you think, motivated you, are hell, even made you angry! hit that subscribe button at or wherever you get your podcasts. ***end music begins to fade in*** And don't forget to tell all your friends about us. Also, we've revamped our website with more information and accessibility. Now we'll be providing a transcription of all new episodes shortly after they're released. And we'll be doing the same for back episodes slowly but surely. Another thing you'll see on the website is an option for swag! It's not available yet, but we hope to have t-shirts and other cool stuff available for all you awesome H-Town Progressives soon! So, again, check all this out at And as always we'd love to hear from you! If you have a comment, a topic idea, or a guest suggestion, email me at Or, give us a call and leave us a message with your comments at 281.915.9561, again, that's 281.915.9561 and we'll put your message on the show.

Thanks for listening! I'm Rob Icsezen, and THIS, is H-Town Progressive!!!

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