Monique Jimenez, 48, holds a portrait of her mother Rosie, who died in 1977 from an infection days after getting an unsafe abortion. Her death followed the passage of the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds for abortion care.

Texas woman died after an unsafe abortion years ago. Her daughter fears same thing may happen again

Updated 9:56 AM ET, Mon October 11, 2021

McAllen, Texas (CNN)Outside the only abortion clinic in the border city of McAllen, Texas, a debate has played out for years. Some people pray and beg patients to not go inside as some volunteers escort patients to the entrance. But none of them were there when Rosie Jimenez died just across the street more than 40 years ago.

As thousands of people marched to the Supreme Court in support of reproductive rights earlier this month, Rosie's photo was displayed in banners and her name was repeated by crowds at vigils and rallies across Texas, Arizona, California and Oregon. In McAllen, there was a defiant mood. Activists held a rally about eight blocks from the clinic that stands across the street from city hall.
The building at the edge of the city's bustling downtown shopping district -- where Jimenez died and likely received health care more than four decades ago -- was demolished in the early 1990s to make room for the city hall.
Rosie was 27 years old when she contracted a deadly infection in 1977 after she sought a midwife, who was not licensed to perform abortions, to terminate her pregnancy. She couldn't afford a physician in South Texas and the Hyde Amendment prevented Medicaid from covering the cost of the procedure. For decades, she has been a symbol for abortion rights advocates, inspiring them to draft legislation and focus their work on helping underserved communities — even as one of the strictest abortion bans remains in effect in Texas and the Supreme Court is set to hear a direct challenge to Roe v Wade.
In McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley -- a mainly rural region in Texas -- where there are high levels of poverty and a large population of Mexican Americans, advocates say they want to make Rosie's story known because poor people of color are often those experiencing the dire consequences of abortion restrictions.
A mural with vibrant colors is painted on the side of McAllen's abortion clinic. Brown women of multiple hues are portrayed helping each other in a lush green field. Light beams from their hands. The words "justice, compassion, empowerment and dignity" are neatly scrawled across the top of the mural.
The clinic serves McAllen and numerous Texas counties south of San Antonio. Many of the patients are undocumented and a procedure in McAllen costs up to $800. The cost is considerably higher than in other cities and women often struggle with the added costs that include loss of wages, transportation and child care.
A federal appeals court on Friday night put a temporary hold on a judge's order that had blocked Texas' six-week abortion ban.
The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals acted swiftly to grant Texas' request for an administrative stay of the order, which it had filed Friday afternoon. The state's move came after a US district judge just days earlier issued a sweeping order blocking the law at the request of the US Justice Department, which had brought a legal challenge last month.
What is constant is that the ongoing legal battles don't lessen the decades-long anguish and ripple effects of Rosie's death.