Part of our weekly series with The Nib
on inequity in the time of pandemic.

Jane Doe, Arlington, Texas
Testimony from a court document dated March 30, 2020

Anti-abortion protesters crowded around several cars outside a Planned Parenthood, waving signs and graphic images.  Jane Doe: I went to the clinic alone. In order to limit the number of patients inside the clinic, they had us sign in and wait in our cars.  I sat in my car in the parking lot for two hours. Meanwhile, anti-abortion protesters screamed at me and other patients.
A doctor in a Planned Parenthood exam room looks apologetic. A poster on the wall says, “The abortion pill: How does it work?” and has a drawing showing two pills.  Jane: I was under 10 weeks pregnant so I qualified for a medication abortion. But Texas has a 24-hour waiting period. Even though I was certain of my decision, I had no choice except to wait.
The woman’s hand holds an iPhone that has an incoming call from Planned Parenthood on the screen.  Jane Doe: I got a phone call from the clinic. My second appointment was cancelled. The staffer told me that Gov. Greg Abbott halted all abortions in the state, claiming that medical supplies needed to be saved for other patients. I started to cry and she cried, too.
In silhouette, the woman is hugged by her partner. Around them is a spiral or other shape that evokes emotional turmoil and distress.   Jane Doe [narration]: She told me my only option at that point was to go out of state or delay and possibly be forced to have a baby.   Jane Doe: “I feel sick.”   Jane Doe [narration]: I knew that I needed to act quickly. I made a bunch of calls- Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado. I finally was able to make an appointment with a clinic in Denver.
On the road, leaving Texas at sunset. The car is driving past an official sign saying, “Now leaving Texas, the Lone Star State. Y’all come back now!” A digital sign set up on the road flashes, “Stay home! Stay safe!”   Jane Doe: It’s a 12-hour drive from my house to Denver. I was forced to drive across the country during a pandemic just to get health care. I feel like Texas put me in danger.
In her hand, the woman holds two small pills.  Jane Doe: The clinic I went to was able to give me the medication for my abortion without further delay. I took the first pill there and they sent me home with the second pill.  We didn’t want to take breaks or rest because I was worried about having my abortion in the car.
Headlights flashing across a nearly empty highway.  Jane Doe:  Why is my life not important enough to the governor and the other men making these decisions? I feel like my constitutional rights were violated when I needed them the most.

Illustrated by Thi Bui, script by Sarah Mirk and Amanda Pike.

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Thi Bui

Thi Bui was born in Vietnam and came to the United States in 1978 as part of the "boat people" wave of refugees fleeing Southeast Asia at the end of the Vietnam War. Her debut graphic memoir, The Best We Could Do (Abrams ComicArts, 2017) has been selected for an American Book Award, a Common Book for UCLA and other colleges and universities, an all-city read by Seattle and San Francisco public libraries, a National Book Critics Circle finalist in autobiography, and an Eisner Award finalist in reality-based comics. It made over thirty best of 2017 book lists, including Bill Gates' top five picks. She illustrated the picture book, A Different Pond, written by the poet Bao Phi (Capstone, 2017), for which she won a Caldecott Honor. With her son, Hien, she co-illustrated the children’s book, Chicken of the Sea (McSweeney’s, 2019), written by Pulitzer winner Viet Thanh Nguyen and his son, Ellison. Her short comics can be found online at Reveal News, The Nib, PEN America, and BOOM California. She is currently researching and drawing a work of graphic nonfiction about immigrant detention and deportation, to be published by One World, Random House.

Amanda Pike (she/her) is the director of the TV and documentary department and executive producer of films and series at Reveal. Under her leadership, The Center for Investigative Reporting garnered its first Academy Award nomination and four national Emmys, among other accolades. She was the executive producer of the inaugural year of the Glassbreaker Films initiative, supporting women in documentary filmmaking and investigative journalism. She has spent the past two decades reporting and producing documentaries for PBS, CBS, ABC, National Geographic, A&E, Lifetime and The Learning Channel, among others. Subjects have ranged from militia members in Utah to young entrepreneurs in Egypt and genocide perpetrators in Cambodia. Pike also has dabbled in fiction filmmaking, producing the short film “On the Assassination of the President,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She is a graduate of Princeton University and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.

Sarah Mirk (she/her) is a digital engagement producer for Reveal. Since 2017, she has worked as an editor at The Nib, an online daily comics publication focused on political cartoons, graphic journalism, essays and memoirs about current affairs. She works with artists to create nonfiction comics on a variety of complex topics, from personal narratives about queer identities to examinations of overlooked history. Before that, Mirk was the online editor of national feminist media outlet Bitch, a podcast host and a local news reporter. She is also the author of several books, including “Year of Zines,” a collection of 100 handmade zines, and “Guantanamo Voices,” a collection of illustrated oral histories of the world’s most infamous prison. Mirk is based in Portland, Oregon.