6 Places in the RGV Fighting for Reproductive Rights

Words by Melissa Cortes Santiago

Edited by Abigail Vela

: A young woman crying, in a white shirt and jeans, sitting criss-crossed, looking up. She’s holding birth control pills in her left hand. Her reproductive organs are highlighted, glowing colorfully. An orange border and a yellow background with playful stars and scribbles surround her.

After the fall of Roe last year, Texas became a state with some of the most restrictive bans on abortion and reproductive healthcare in the nation. Seeking help during this time can be scary and incredibly overwhelming for many. However, here in the RGV, many organizations are ready to help and provide support to those who need it. 


If you’re feeling lost or just curious about where to access reproductive healthcare, check out the resources below. 

Pink table filled with resources such as emergency contraception, dental dams, informational pamphlets, and stickers.
Resources provided by the Intersectional Feminist Student Organization at the UTRGV campus. Photo courtesy of Natalie Palacios

Access Esperanza Clinics

First stop is the Access Esperanza clinics, a nonprofit focused on family planning and reproductive health care. Their main goal is to provide affordable health care throughout the Valley. Free exams and services are available to those who qualify, and low-cost services are available for those who don’t. 

 

Some of the services provided in all the offices include physical exams, women’s exams, men’s exams, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and various other health screenings. All of the services outlined are available for teenagers as well. 

 

They have several locations throughout Hidalgo County, including Mission, McAllen, Edinburg, and Weslaco offices. You can visit their website to request an appointment or call (956) 688-3700. 

Valley AIDS Council (VAC)

Another nonprofit organization, the Valley AIDS Council, offers sexual health and wellness services with locations in McAllen, Harlingen, and Brownsville. They focus on HIV prevention, education, and testing services. For recently diagnosed patients, the clinic provides support services and collaborates with the community to help patients navigate what can be an incredibly confusing time. 


VAC offers free, confidential HIV testing in all its locations and free testing for Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia. To get tested or to book an appointment, you can visit their website and schedule an appointment at any of their locations. 

An IFSO tabling event hosted at the UTRGV campus. Emergency contraceptives and informational pamphlets were provided to students. Photo Courtesy of Natalie Palacios
An IFSO tabling event hosted at the UTRGV campus. Emergency contraceptives and informational pamphlets were provided to students. Photo Courtesy of Natalie Palacios

Intersectional Feminist Student Organization (IFSO)

A student-run organization at UTRGV, IFSO focuses on creating a safe space for students on campus to discuss topics of intersectional feminism, reproductive justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, sexual health, and sexual education. They host numerous tabling events on campus where they provide students with condoms, emergency contraception, dental dams, and informational pamphlets on reproductive justice. 

 

The president of the organization, Natalie Palacios, described a lack of sexual education among many students that can lead to unsafe sex practices and uninformed decisions. Something she hopes the organization can change. 

 

“I hope students get more resources and have a space where they can openly talk about reproductive justice,” she said. “As an organization, we hope to not just provide those resources but also fight for them, especially in this community.”


Their DMs are always open to those who need support.

Frontera Fund

The only abortion fund in the Valley, the Frontera Fund, provides financial support to Valley locals who need to travel out of state for abortion services. After the Dobbs decision, which took away the constitutional right to abortion in the country, the organization had to pause its services for 10 months. They resumed services in April of this year and expanded to providing non-abortion-related reproductive healthcare services by partnering with Planned Parenthood in South Texas. 

 

For assistance, the organization can be reached at their hotline (956) 887-0706. The organization will get in touch with the person seeking help and, if needed, help them book an appointment with an abortion clinic out of the state or simply provide information on available options. 

 

Given the current state laws, seeking an abortion can be frightening; however, Cathy Torres, organizing manager for Frontera Fund, urges people to seek support. 

 

“We want to be here to help, so that way you can make an informed decision on whatever it is that you need to do for yourself,” Torres said. 

People outside Congress standing in unison and holding signs advocating for reproductive rights.
Members of Frontera Fund, alongside Representative Ayanna Pressley, in D.C., advocating for abortion and reproductive rights. Photo obtained from Frontera Fund’s Instagram page.

South Texans for Reproductive Justice

A grassroots nonprofit organization in the Valley, South Texans for Reproductive Justice, aims to eliminate restrictions on reproductive rights. The organization hosts several community outreach events, such as their Plan B packing parties, tabling events, advocacy work, and protests. One of their primary services is the distribution of free emergency contraception to 32 counties throughout the Valley. 


Those interested can fill out a request form, and a discrete, safe sex kit will be mailed out to their preferred address. The kit includes emergency contraception, condoms, pregnancy tests, lube, and sexual health resource pamphlets.

Planned Parenthood South Texas

Similar to Access Esperanza Clinics, Planned Parenthood focuses on family planning and providing accessible healthcare. They offer various sexual healthcare services such as birth control, pregnancy testing, pelvic exams, and STI Testing. Depending on a patient’s income, these services may be free or provided at a low cost. 


The only Planned Parenthood offices remaining in the Valley are Harlingen and Brownsville. To schedule an appointment, visit their website. Telehealth appointments for specific services are available.

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