➡️ Yes! Abortion is still legal in Texas and all 50 states.
➡️ Visit needabortion.org for more information on accessing abortion care in Texas.
➡️ Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) is set to go in effect on September 1, 2021, however, there has been a federal lawsuit filed challenging the Texas 6-week ban that may affect the implementation date. Lilith Fund is a co-plaintiff in the suit.
What is Senate Bill 8, the 6-week abortion ban + harassing lawsuits law?
🚨 Senate Bill 8 bans abortions when cardiac activity is detectable in an embryo, which typically is around six weeks gestation. This is before many people even know they’re pregnant. For those with regular menstruation cycles, this bill would ban abortion only two weeks after a missed period.
🚨 The bill makes no exceptions for rape or incest. The only exception is for a medical emergency when the life of the pregnant person is at risk.
🚨 The bill creates a private cause of action that allows anyone, anywhere (including non-Texas residents who have no connection to the person having an abortion) to use frivolous lawsuits to harass anyone who assists Texans in accessing abortion care after 6 weeks.
If implemented, who could sue under SB 8?
➡️ Anyone, anywhere (including non-Texas residents who have no connection to the person having an abortion).
➡️ The person suing does not even need to be connected to the person having an abortion.
If implemented, who could be sued under SB 8?
🚨 Anyone who helps someone access abortion care in Texas after 6 weeks of gestation could be sued. That could include an abortion provider, an abortion fund, or a friend or family member of a person accessing abortion care who helps by giving them money or a ride to an appointment.
If SB 8 is implemented, could I be sued for getting an abortion after 6 weeks gestation?
➡️ No. The person who obtains an abortion after 6 weeks gestation cannot be sued under SB 8.
Isn’t SB 8 unconstitutional?
➡️ Yes. A six-week ban on abortion is clearly unconstitutional and is in direct conflict with the 45 years of Supreme Court jurisprudence since Roe v. Wade that has continuously and systematically upheld the right to abortion care pre-viability.
➡️ Even though many other states across the nation have tried, no 6-week ban on abortion is in effect because it is unconstitutional. However, SB 8 is unlike no other abortion ban passed in other states—primarily due to the enforcement mechanism. The private cause of action provision of SB 8 is engineered to help the state of Texas evade constitutional accountability.
➡️ We are hopeful for a positive outcome in the federal lawsuit challenging SB 8.
How would SB 8 impact abortion access?
🚨 Even before this law is implemented, millions of Texans will hear that abortion has been banned, and they’ll be more confused about their right to access abortion care than they were before. Many will think they simply cannot get an abortion, even though abortion is legal in Texas and all 50 states.
🚨 If the law is implemented, SB 8 could take away Texans’ right to make their own medical decisions before they even know they have a decision to make. A recent study by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project shows that SB 8 would prevent more than 8 in 10 people from obtaining abortion care.
🚨 Even if Texans find out they are pregnant before 6 weeks, other restrictions on abortion in Texas make it difficult for patients to see a provider as soon as they would like. Upon scheduling, patients must navigate many existing restrictions, including a 24-hour forced delay and mandatory sonogram. This 6-week ban will be especially harmful for Texans in rural areas who have to travel extensively to get care. It could also completely bar undocumented people in border towns from accessing abortion care after 6 weeks since they will not be able to travel out of state to access care due to immigration checkpoints.
❤️ Abortion funds will be here to help Texans access abortion care before 6 weeks gestation within the state, and we will help people access abortion care outside of the state after 6 weeks gestation.
Abortion funds and advocates will be here for Texans no matter what.
❤️ Abortion funds will continue to fund abortion for Texans whether or not SB 8 is implemented
❤️ If SB 8 is fully implemented, abortion funds like Lilith Fund will fund abortion for people up to 6 weeks gestation in Texas, and we will fund abortion for Texans who need to travel out of state to access abortion care after 6 weeks gestation.
🌹 We will continue to bust abortion stigma and to organize and build the community power we need to fully restore access to abortion care. We will continue to fight for proactive abortion policies like Rosie’s Law, which would restore insurance coverage of abortion care.
We will need your help to fund abortion now more than ever!
➡️ No.A majority of Texans believe that abortion should be accessible and that all people should be free to determine the course of their reproductive lives. Nobody should face fear, stigma, or unnecessary barriers when seeking reproductive healthcare, including abortion care.
➡️ A recent poll found that a majority of Texans from across the political spectrum opposed the extreme measures in SB 8.
➡️ SB 8 is part of a nationwide, extremist strategy to push access to abortion care completely out of reach—and will especially harm Black, Indigenous, and people of color, low-income people, rural Texans, LGBTQIA people, young people, and immigrants.
➡️ The politicians supporting this abortion ban are ignoring the real health needs of Texans, such as Medicaid expansion, COVID relief, finding solutions for our failed energy grid, and addressing Black maternal mortality.
Do medical experts support SB 8?
➡️ No. Medical groups like ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) have said: “It puts doctors in an impossible situation between the law & providing evidence-based, individualized, & medically necessary care to their patients.” “[Six-week bans] are both unconstitutional and unnecessary political interference in the practice of medicine.”
➡️ More than 200 physicians in Texas signed an open letter to the House Speaker and members of the House demanding that they stop this dangerous bill from passing—because it poses a serious threat to our healthcare system.
➡️ Someone experiencing a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy may need emergency treatment to prevent serious damage to their health or to save their life. This legislation could tie doctors’ hands, rather than allowing them to treat their patient without fear of civil lawsuits.
The Texas House of Representatives is considering Senate Bill 8 (identical companion to HB 1515) and House Bill 1280 on the House Floor on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.
Senate Bill 8 is an unconstitutional, near-total ban on abortion before most people even know they are pregnant. The bill creates frivolous and harassing lawsuits against anyone who helps people in Texas access abortion care. Anyone, regardless of whether or not they are connected to the person having an abortion, could sue an abortion provider, an abortion fund, and anyone else who helped that person get an abortion for a perceived violation of any abortion restriction.
House Bill 1280 would ban abortion in Texas with few exceptions in the case that Roe v. Wade gets overturned and subjects doctors to criminal and civil penalties and disciplinary actions.
Take action with us RIGHT NOW to fight against these devastating bills:
☎️Find your Texas state representative and call their office using the following script: “I am your constituent and I am asking the representative to vote no on SB 8 and HB 1280. SB 8 would not only ban abortion before most people know they are pregnant, it also allows random strangers to harass anyone who helps people access abortion with lawsuits. HB 1280 would ban nearly all abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned. I strongly oppose any legislation that restricts abortion access. The Texas House needs to focus on the real crises facing Texans like access to health care, responding to COVID-19, maternal mortality, and the energy crisis, not Dan Patrick’s political agenda.”
☎️ Call the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Speaker Dade Phelan, at (512) 463-1000, using the following script: “I’m a Texas resident calling to tell the Speaker to STOP advancing SB 8 and HB 1280, and any other legislation that attacks abortion access. The Texas House needs to focus on the real crises facing Texans like access to health care, responding to COVID-19, maternal mortality, and the energy crisis, not Dan Patrick’s political agenda.”
The 2021 Legislative Session has begun at the State Capitol in Austin. Over the coming days, members of the Texas House of Representatives will debate and adopt rules governing the procedures of the body, including whether or not Texans will be able to participate in committee testimony virtually.
➡️ Call your Texas House member and Texas Senator and tell them that you want a virtual option for committee testimony in the middle of a pandemic. Find your member here if you don’t know and call their office number, and leave a message if you can’t get in touch.
➡️ Call your Texas House member and Texas Senator and tell them that you want a virtual option for committee testimony in the middle of a pandemic. Find your member here if you don’t know and call their office number, and leave a message if you can’t get in touch.
Sample script for phone calls or e-mail: My name is xxx and I’m a constituent of Rep./Sen. _______. I’m reaching out because I want the Texas Legislature to create a virtual option for Texans to be safely able to advocate and weigh in on legislative issues in the middle of a deadly pandemic.
We are in a historic and critical moment, and it’s more vital than ever that the public is able to participate in the legislative process in our state. Give us a safe and virtual option for testimony during this legislative session. As elected officials and our representatives, you must make the legislative process accessible *and* keep Texans safe. Does Rep./Sen. ____ support a virtual option for committee testimony for the 2021 Legislative Session?
Our executive director Amanda Beatriz Williams testified Tuesday morning before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services about the harms of the Hyde Amendment for people who are denied access to abortion because they cannot afford to pay.
This was the first Congressional hearing focusing on the impacts and the harm of the Hyde Amendment. Amanda explained why we must repeal the Hyde Amendment and ensure insurance coverage for abortion care. We’re working towards a future where everyone can access the abortion care they need, without political interference.
Amanda joined Dr. Herminia Palacio, President and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute, and Dr. Jamila Perritt, President and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health in providing testimony at today’s hearing. You can watch the full hearing on YouTube.
Amanda’s prepared remarks to the committee are below.
Good morning Chairwoman DeLauro, Ranking Member Cole, and members of the committee. Thank you for having me before you today to speak about the impact of policies that deny insurance coverage for abortion, including and especially the Hyde Amendment.
My name is Amanda Beatriz Williams, and I am a queer Tejana and daughter of an immigrant, with a decade of experience in the reproductive health, rights, and justice movement in Texas. I serve as the executive director of the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, the oldest abortion fund in Texas. Abortion funds exist to help people navigate the intricate web of anti-abortion restrictions—including abortion coverage bans like the Hyde Amendment— that prevent people from obtaining safe abortion care. Lilith Fund provides direct financial assistance and emotional support to those in the central and southern regions of Texas, and is one of ten abortion funds serving our state.
I am also a proud abortion storyteller with We Testify, an organization dedicated to the leadership and representation of people who have abortions, to change the conversation to one of compassion and remind us that everyone loves someone who had an abortion.
However any of us feel about abortion, politicians should not be allowed to deny someone’s health coverage for it just because they are struggling to get by. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Congress has done for the last 44 years through the Hyde Amendment.
Across the country, the Hyde Amendment has had devastating impacts for people unable to make ends meet — who are more likely to be women of color — LGBTQ people, immigrants, and young people. And for too many, coverage bans like the Hyde Amendment can act as defacto bans on abortion altogether.
At Lilith Fund, we know firsthand the impact that coverage bans have on the Texans we serve. During the year 2019, 68 percent of Lilith Fund clients were people of color, 45 percent were uninsured, 42 percent did not have paid employment and they traveled an average of 158 miles to reach the abortion care they needed.
The harms of the Hyde Amendment are further compounded by additional state restrictions, including state-mandated ultrasounds, medically inaccurate and biased counseling, and a mandatory 24-hour waiting period that forces Texans to needlessly delay their care. Since 2013, my state has shuttered nearly half of its abortion clinics, forcing people to travel far distances and shoulder additional expenses.
In addition to affording the abortion care, there are costs for travel to one’s nearest clinic, lodging for overnight stays, lost wages from missed work, and child care for the nearly 60 percent of our clients who already have children. On top of all of this, Texas restricts private insurance coverage of abortion, forcing people to pay completely out of pocket. These unnecessary delays can take weeks, forcing people to delay accessing care until later in their pregnancy.
As the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout ravages Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, the same people impacted by the Hyde Amendment are already marginalized by inequities in our healthcare system and systemic racism.
Anti-abortion Texas officials also exploited the pandemic by banning abortion care in our state for nearly a month. During the first week of April when the ban was in effect, half of Lilith Fund callers were forced to travel out of state to receive abortion care. The average distance traveled by our clients in 2019 before the pandemic was 158 miles, about the distance from DC to Philadelphia, but during the pandemic when our callers were forced to travel out of state for their care, it increased to 635 miles, more than the distance from DC to Louisville, KY.
I know this personally, because the stress was all too real for me. When I was 19 years old and a freshman at the University of Houston, I had an abortion. While my decision was clear, the path to coming up with the money to pay for my care was difficult and nerve-wracking. I was privileged enough to borrow money, and make an appointment.
When I arrived for my procedure, I was overwhelmed by the kind support I received from clinic escorts, the clinic staff, and my provider, who all made me feel comfortable and safe. I keep them in mind every time we are able to help someone get the care they need. Everyone having an abortion deserves to be met by people who support them and care for them in loving and respectful ways, every step of the way. We deserve to be trusted.
I also want to leave you with the story of another Texan, Rosie Jimenez, whose legacy we continue to honor in our work every day. Rosie was a beloved mother of a young child, student, and young Chicana living in McAllen, Texas in the 1970’s. Rosie was enrolled in Medicaid, but Medicaid did not cover an abortion at a clinic in her hometown, due to the recently passed Hyde Amendment. Instead she sought a cheaper, unsafe procedure and ultimately died due to complications. Rosie became the first known person to die as a result of the Hyde Amendment. To be clear: Rosie died because of Hyde.
When each of us can make our own decisions about our reproductive health care, when we can forge families we love on our own terms, we have more control over our lives and our economic security. It’s long past time to strip the Hyde Amendment from federal appropriations legislation and help ensure that everyone, whoever they are, wherever they live, however they get their health insurance, can get the abortion care they need safely, and without political inteference.
Lilith Fund is a Texas-based abortion fund providing direct financial assistance to people seeking abortion care in the central and southern regions of Texas. Our volunteer board of directors serves as a governing board that provides guidance, oversight, and support to our staff of eight.
We are looking for highly motivated people who are dedicated to reproductive justice and excited about furthering the work to expand abortion access in Texas. We are looking for community members residing in our service area, particularly in or around Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Our board meets monthly via video conference call.
Lilith Fund is especially looking for board members who have backgrounds or experience with financial management and planning, fundraising, or non-profit organizational management. Ideal candidates will have an understanding of the reproductive justice framework and the state of abortion access in Texas.
Lilith Fund is committed to investing in the leadership of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color), people who have had abortions, people who have received funding from an abortion fund, low-income people, people with disabilities, people who are immigrants, formerly incarcerated or detained people, non-binary people, gender non-conforming people, and/or LGBTQIA people.
Horrifying reports of forced hysterectomies on people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Irwin Detention Center in Georgia remind us there cannot be reproductive justice without immigrant justice.
The reported human rights violations of forced sterilization of people detained by ICE are part of a continuum of our nation’s long history of reproductive oppression. The targets of U.S. reproductive oppression have been people of color, including Black and Indigenous women, Japanese women, Puerto Rican women, people with disabilities, queer and trans people, and more.
These recent accounts are also consistent with a pattern of sexual abuse and medical neglect in detention centers around the country. In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of pregnant immigrants being detained by ICE. Pregnant people in immigration custody have repeatedly spoken out about being shackled and having medical care denied by immigration officials, and even suffering miscarriages as a result. Right here in Texas just three years ago, the Trump administration attempted to block an undocumented young person from obtaining an abortion, prompting a lawsuit in federal court.
We say: Enough!
We are in solidarity with the Georgia organizations working together to build communities free from ICE’s cruelty—where immigrants are treated with dignity and respect and families remain whole. We join them in their call to Abolish ICE once and for all.
Please add your name to this sign on letter, and join us in supporting these Georgia-based organizations and resources:
Unfortunately, we have a pretty good idea of what that world will be like. We’ve just lived through a nightmare scenario in Texas when our state exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to ban abortion for nearly six weeks this spring. Texans who needed abortions during this time were forced to put their lives and health at risk just to access healthcare.
Waiting longer. Our clients had to make appointments with providers out-of-state and faced long wait times. This pushed them further into their pregnancies, making procedures more expensive.
Traveling. On average, our clients had to travel 606 miles to access abortion care. One client traveled 1,610 miles—even though she lives just three miles away from her local clinic. Many were forced to travel by plane—putting them at greater risk of COVID-19 exposure.
Being alone. Those who managed to travel out of state were stuck in hotels for 3-4 days, isolated from family and friends. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, many clinics had a “no companion” rule to limit the number of people in the clinic at any given time. This means patients were going through it on their own.
Paying more. While procedures were more expensive for many, there were also other factors that drove up costs. Travel, finding childcare, lodging, and other factors meant the cost of accessing a clinic at all was higher. In the midst of the bans, the average amount we gave to clients was $355, a 17 percent increase from our 2019 average.
For those weeks when anti-choice state leaders exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to ban abortion, we experienced a Texas where abortion access is decimated. We hope we never see that again. But depending on the Supreme Court ruling, we could be living this reality again sometime soon.
Looking at this, we are reminded that Roe has never been enough to ensure access to safe abortion care, especially for low-income communities of color. No matter the outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling in June Medical or any other case, we must always show up for our communities.
Rest assured that abortion funds are not going anywhere. No matter what happens, our work won’t stop, our hotline will stay open, and we will still be here for Texans who need abortion care no matter what that looks like.
Funding abortion is an act of resistance.If you are able, make a donation to Lilith Fund today.
At Lilith Fund, we recognize the connection between reproductive justice and systematic police violence—especially as it directly harms Black people, their families, their children, and their communities. We acknowledge police brutality as a violent epidemic that endangers the Black members of the Lilith Fund community, including our clients, supporters, volunteers, partners, board, and staff.
As an abortion fund, we are and must be committed to dismantling the structural barriers to bodily autonomy, and therefore this work must include putting an end to the unacceptable and racist police brutality that ravages Black communities across the U.S. We must actively affirm that freedom from police violence and racial justice are reproductive justice issues. And today we are also affirming that Black Lives Matter.
Please take action with us and support the following funds and organizations committed to racial justice in Minnesota, where on May 25th a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd:
We act in solidarity with the people of Minneapolis, and we are mourning the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Mike Ramos, Larry Jackson, David Joseph, and countless others—those known and unknown—who were murdered at the hands of police.
In the last week, right here at home—we have seen the Austin Police Department respond to a protest about ending police brutality by brutalizing protesters like Brad Ayala, Justin Howell, and many others, including “Nemo” Martin, who is a pregnant Black woman. The disproportionately high rates of Black women’s maternal mortality and the ongoing criminalization of pregnant people are outcomes of racist systems of oppression. These are the same systems that police uphold when they shoot pregnant Black women. We’re seeing similar violence towards protestors across Texas. This is unacceptable.
We need to quit pouring millions of dollars into an agencies that are putting all of us, but especially Black community members, in danger. Our cities must put resources back into the people and build community safety by giving everyone what they need to survive and eventually thrive. As SisterSong teaches us, reproductive justice can only be obtained if we can parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.
We must continue to use our voices and affirm that Black Lives Matter today and every day.
P.S. Please consider supporting our local partners Afiya Center and 400+1 who have set up bail funds for protestors.
Lilith Fund is intimately familiar with the need to show up for our community when the government refuses—it’s why our mission is to fund abortions in Texas.
The COVID-19 global pandemic is the latest example of a government that can’t meet the basic needs of their people. But thankfully communities are creating mutual aid networks to show up for each other in this moment. Here’s a short round-up of mutual aid efforts in the areas we serve in Texas to address needs folks may have. If you have more to share you can contact us at [email protected]
Austin Care Web A network of people requesting or able to provide mutual aid including errands, emotional support, food supplies, housework etc. Included is a list of different mutual aid projects throughout Austin.
Emergency Covid19 Relief for Sex Workers in Austin Sex Workers Outreach Project of Austin (SWOP ATX) is raising funds to support survival sex workers in Austin TX who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many sex workers who rely on in-person clientele are seeing a dramatic decrease in availability of work as the spread of the coronavirus continues. Those who are already struggling with financial instability, health concerns, racism, and transphobic violence are most vulnerable to the widespread impacts of the current situation, and are unable to stay afloat without support through this crisis.
ATX Free Food Sharing A facebook group for mutual aid. Please post if you are seeking food or food related items or have them to give!
Austin Virtual Tip Jar A way to give money to local service industry workers, affected by the closures of local businesses. Please contribute or submit your name if you are in the service industry and need assistance.
Houston Virtual Tip Jar When restaurants and bars close, the service industry is living paycheck to paycheck. Please contribute to this virtual tip jar, or submit the form on top if you are in the industry and need assistance.
Mattress Mack, Gallery Furniture Click the COVID-19 tab to donate to the GoFundMe on Gallery Furnitures website. If you call the given number; Seniors may get food/ toiletries delivered to their doorstep. And children may come to Gallery Furniture locations to grab-and-go sack lunches. Volunteers are needed. Probably beginning mid-week, TBA.
Corpus Christi’s local DSA chapter is organizing a mutual aid project for people in the Corpus Christi area. You can fill out either forms for requests for support. Each contains a link to forms in Spanish.
Earlier this year, we started thinking deeply about the mission, vision, and values of Lilith Fund. We reflected on the work we’ve been doing since Lilith Fund started funding abortions in 2001 and the work we are doing now. We asked ourselves where we had been and where we are going—especially as a grassroots abortion fund in Texas at this important time in our history.
The process of developing the new iteration of these statements involved collective input from staff, board, hotline volunteers, and former clients who have received financial assistance from Lilith Fund. We are excited to share with y’all the results of that collaboration, and we look forward to holding ourselves and each other accountable to the powerful commitments we made together.
We provide financial assistance and emotional support while building community spaces for people who need abortions in Texas—unapologetically, with compassion and conviction. Through organizing and movement-building, we foster a positive culture around abortion, strengthen people power, and fight for reproductive justice in and with our communities.
We dream of a reality where everyone has the agency, power, and resources to thrive in their communities. We envision a world where the full range of reproductive decisions are affirmed and accessible, people have the dignity of thriving wages, and we can all build and care for our families free from state-sanctioned violence or separation. In this world, all people have access to comprehensive healthcare—including abortion—and the opportunity to have a fulfilling sex life without shame or stigma.
Compassion: We lead from the heart and do our work with love, care, and compassion. We center the role of emotion and struggle within our humanity and create stigma-busting, judgement-free spaces for our callers, communities, and ourselves.
Intersectionality: We recognize that the overlap of various identities creates systemic forms of oppression and privilege that are extremely complex. We embrace this complexity and respond by centering low-income people of color and those who are most impacted by compounding barriers to abortion access.
Anti-racism: Within our organizational culture and through our work to fund abortions and build power, we strive to honor the dignity of Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color. We acknowledge that white supremacy and anti-Blackness create violence and harm in our society, in our movement, and to ourselves. We work to dismantle these systems of oppression and replace them with racial justice.
Client-centered: We are grounded in the belief that the voices and leadership of those who have had abortions should be centered and uplifted in our work. We also remember that while many communities are impacted by abortion restrictions, those who call our hotline—who are mostly low-income women of color who are parenting—should guide and inform our work and decision-making.
Inclusivity: We recognize that reproductive justice is for everyone. We commit to challenging ourselves to look for every opportunity to include communities that are impacted by the barriers to abortion access. Specifically, this means using gender-inclusive language, ensuring our spaces are accessible to people with disabilities, and actively considering many different barriers affecting people’s power to show up in this work.
Collaboration: It is a privilege to do this work, and we acknowledge the power we hold. In our partnerships, we embrace the responsibility to operate with transparency, prioritize intentional communication, and practice accountability and equity in our work.