US: Texas Coffee Shop Offering Free Contraception Sparks Protests, Police Calls

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A Texas coffee shop which serves contraception kits alongside espressos and pastries has ignited the ire of anti-abortion activists, who are protesting against the shop's initiative and reporting its activities to the local police.

Anti-abortion activists have been gathering to protest outside a Texas coffee shop handing out free 'Plan B' kits to anyone who wants them. In this photo, a PlanB one-step contraceptive tablet is displayed on June 30, 2022 in San Anselmo, California. © Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Anti-abortion activists have been gathering to protest outside a Texas coffee shop handing out free 'Plan B' kits to anyone who wants them. In this photo, a PlanB one-step contraceptive tablet is displayed on June 30, 2022 in San Anselmo, California.

Tumbleweed + Sage Coffeehouse in Wolfforth, a suburb of Lubbock, started giving away contraceptive kits in late July, after the Supreme Court's decision on June 24 to end Roe v. Wade made abortion immediately illegal in Texas.

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By overturning the landmark 1973 ruling establishing the constitutional right to abortion across the country, the Supreme Court handed the responsibility to decide on abortion access back to individual states.

In the case of Texas, a "trigger law" dating back to 1857 that outlawed performing or "furnishing the means for" an abortion—except in the case the life of a pregnant patient is at risk—is expected to take effect on August 25, making abortion illegal in most cases.

Texas was already one of the states with the strictest access to abortion in the U.S., after a law passed in December 2021 stating that abortions couldn't be performed once the embryo's heartbeat was detected. As of June 24, Planned Parenthood in Texas has stopped providing abortions.

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Faced with the sudden disappearance of abortion rights in Texas, Tumbleweed + Sage's owner Destiny Adams decided to take action. As of late July, she started leaving contraceptive kits worth $60 in the bathrooms of her shops. Now, anyone who needs one can get one inside the shop, or ask for one at the drive-thru.

In each pack, provided in partnership with Texas-based nonprofit Jane's Due Process, there are two Plan B pills, pregnancy tests and condoms, plus an instruction pamphlet.

The coffee shop has received plenty of support for its initiative, and Adams told McClatchy News it has given away at least 75 kits as of August 18.

"Thank you for stepping up and meeting such a vital need in our community! All while making yummy drinks to boot. So thankful for this business!" commented a user on the coffee shop's Instagram profile.

"Thank you for what you're doing. You restore my faith in some humanity," wrote a user on the shop's Facebook page.

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"Thank you for standing tall and supporting the rights of women and those who need it! Ordering a shirt and donating!" wrote another.

But many anti-abortion activists have been angered by the coffee shop's initiative, gathering outside it to protest on Saturdays and flagging Tumbleweed + Sage's activity to Wolfforth police.

"The Wolfforth Police Department is aware that a business in Wolfforth is offering 'free plan b kits' to anyone wanting them," the police wrote in a statement on Facebook. "We have received many calls and emails questioning the legality of this practice. Unfortunately, the legality of the practice is not a simple question to answer."

Newsweek has contacted the Wolfforth Police Department and Tumbleweed + Sage for comment.

At the moment, the constitutional right to contraception—including birth control and emergency contraceptives—remains untouched in Texas, and are they are considered legally different from drugs used to induce an abortion.

But many worry that, after Roe v. Wade, the constitutional right to contraception might be overturned next.

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