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.”
Please join us in welcoming our newest Lilith Fund Board Members!
Shanice Brim, she/her
Shanice Brim is a native of New York City. She has been involved in social justice work since her days at University of the Pacific where she began raising money for and volunteering at women’s shelters. In 2015, she began organizing in the Movement For Black Lives as an NYC Chapter member of abolitionist group BYP100. She went on to work for BYP100 as an Internal Communications Specialist, at Flatbush Tenant Coalition as a housing organizer, and at Austin Women Health Center as an abortion care provider. Shanice first encountered Lilith Fund while working at Austin Women’s Health Center where she frequently advocated for patients who needed funding and is so excited to now be involved as a board member! She is currently Communications Manager at Texas Harm Reduction Alliance. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with her pup Cosmo, roller skating, and rewatching Clueless for the millionth time.
Maggie Cheu, she/her
Maggie Cheu is a native Austinite who has finally returned to Texas after too many years away. She is a proud and active volunteer with Jane’s Due Process, the SAFE Alliance, and Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas. Maggie is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and is currently a sole practitioner providing affordable family law services to survivors of gender-based violence. Her passion for reproductive justice began during her undergraduate years at UT Austin and she is excited to continue that work with the Lilith Fund Board of Directors.
Eliza Horn, she/her
Eliza leads Deloitte’s diversity, equity, and inclusion communications and brand strategy. In this role, she drives internal campaigns, directs social media strategy, leads the messaging platform, and has authored numerous research papers. She also has spearheaded storytelling to increase empathy and understanding. Additionally, she has been a frequent speaker on current trends, research insights, and best practices on diversity, equity, and inclusion at multiple organizations and conferences.
Before this role, Eliza drove Deloitte’s marketing efforts for the Houston marketplace, including spearheading a program for executive-level women.
Eliza graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Law & Social Justice as well as English. She completed her masters in English with a focus on creative writing. She served as President for the University of Houston Friends of Women’s Studies. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and writes fiction in her free time.
Tiek Johnson, she/her
Tiek Johnson is a daughter, mother, doula, advocate, and an aspiring IBCLC. She studied Public Relations at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and worked in the social services field supporting local artists and unhoused individuals for 7 years.
Tiek was drawn to reproductive health after having a traumatic experience with the birth of her son. In 2018, she joined Mama Sana Vibrant Woman, a BIPOC reproductive health collective, and further solidified her passion for reproductive justice. She has since taken doula trainings with Mama Sana Vibrant Woman, Doula Training International, and Sumi’s Touch.
Tiek believes that we can solve 90% of the world’s problems if we uplift the Earth and the marginalized folxs on it. One of her core values is uplifting the people around her so that they can feel loved, supported and valued.
Zoraima Pelaez, she/her
Zoraima Pelaez graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Humanities. As an undergraduate, she was awarded a Harry S. Truman Scholarship for her commitment to public service in the realm of reproductive rights. Zoraima has worked on statewide electoral campaigns, for the ACLU’s National Prison Project, and for the Texas Freedom Network, where she managed community advocacy and grassroots lobbying efforts at the Texas Legislature and State Board of Education. Zoraima is a proud abortion storyteller and a J.D. candidate at The University of Texas School of Law. She plans to work in civil rights law, specializing in reproductive rights litigation. When she’s not advocating for reproductive freedom, Zoraima enjoys spending time with her partner and two chihuahuas, Mami and Viva.
Paige is a parent, writer, advocate, storyteller with We Testify, Artist-In-Residence with Shout Your Abortion, and works as an abortion counselor at the same Texas clinic where she had her own abortion.
She advocates against harmful state and federal restrictions that disproportionately impact our callers and the patients she serves at the clinic, and her writing can be found in Vice, Rewire News, Shondaland, Scarleteen, TalkPoverty, Progress Texas, and more. Paige also provides support to young Texans and works as the weekend Text Hotline Supervisor at Jane’s Due Process.
Prior to joining Lilith as a board member, Paige was also a previous client and volunteer from 2016-2019, a volunteer with The Bridge Collective, and she provided direct services to Texans traveling to abortion clinics as an interim trip planner and Intake Hotline Coordinator with Fund Texas Choice.
She has shared her abortion story with lawmakers, in media, has spoken at rallies, and given testimony in favor of bills that would help us become a world where everyone has the freedom to plan their family how they want to.
Lilith Fund is seeking a paid, part-time intern to assist in the organization’s advocacy, organizing and mobilization activities. Compensation for this temporary position is set at $20 per hour for 20 hours per week, with an additional health care stipend. The position will begin in March 2021 and last for a period of 4-5 months.
About Lilith Fund
Lilith Fund provides 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.
Engage and recruit supporters and volunteers to get involved with Lilith Fund’s organizing and advocacy efforts
Mobilize supporters and volunteers during fast-paced and critical advocacy and organizing moments
Foster community connections in San Antonio, and assist and collaborate with ongoing local advocacy efforts in San Antonio, including helping facilitate meetings and communications with coalition partners
Assist and support with Lilith Fund’s organizing activities during the 2021 Texas Legislative Session
Strong candidates will possess many of the following qualities and skills:
Basic knowledge or understanding of reproductive justice and anti-racist principles
Experience in or understanding of grassroots community organizing, advocacy, and proactive communication
Experience using organizational tools and technology (for example, email, Google Suite, Slack, and EveryAction) and experience with digital organizing and social media tools
Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively, to be flexible, and to be solutions-focused
Ability to learn quickly and to work effectively in fast-paced environments
Preferred Qualifications (not required):
Knowledge or basic understanding of organizing principles
Familiarity with the Texas legislative process
Proficiency in Spanish
Lilith Fund is committed to investing in the leadership of people of color, people who have had abortions and/or who have received funding from an abortion fund(s), low-income people, people with disabilities, immigrant people, students, Black and Indigenous communities, formerly incarcerated people, queer, trans, and gender nonconforming people. We do not discourage applications from or discriminate against people with a conviction history, and we do not conduct conviction history checks as a part of our hiring process. You will not be asked about your conviction history at any point in the hiring process.
This temporary, paid internship is based in San Antonio, TX and the desired start date is March 15, 2021. The position is remote. The Organizing Intern directly reports to the Organizing Program Manager.
How to Apply
Submit a 1 page cover letter and resume attached in an email titled “Organizing Intern, [your name]” to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to March 5, 2021. Early submissions are encouraged as we will close the application period prior to the close date if a candidate is selected. Applications missing a resume or cover letter will not be considered.
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?
Join Lilith Fund, TEA Fund, and Frontera Fund in welcoming Ana Rodriguez, the new Rosie’s Law Legislative Campaign Coordinator. Ana will be leading our team in fighting for Rosie’s Law at the Texas Legislature this year. If passed, Rosie’s Law would restore insurance coverage of abortion for Texans. Currently, Texans access to insurance coverage of abortion—whether public or private— is banned. Rosie’s Law would therefore make a huge difference in making abortion care accessible to Texans.
Ana is deeply knowledgeable about organizing communities, the legislative process, and how people are impacted when healthcare is out of reach. The barriers Ana has faced in accessing medical care as an undocumented Latina have informed her fight to ensure Texans can get the healthcare they need, including abortion care. Ana has been working to build the world that will allow people like her to thrive since she was first politicized by the youth-led immigrant rights movement in 2006. Ana earned her BS in Political Science and her Masters of Social Work from the University of Houston. Since then, Ana has worked as a staffer in the Texas legislature, most recently as Rep. Eric Johnson’s Deputy Chief of Staff in the 84th legislative session.
In her last professional role, Ana was an immigrant justice community organizer in Colorado where she helped win a city wide fight for a Sanctuary Policy and Immigrant Legal Defense Fund in Denver, which ensures that local law enforcement do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement and that immigrants in Denver have access to a lawyer. While in Colorado, she also fought to expand the immigrant driver’s license program, led deportation resistance work, and a campaign to shut down the local private immigrant detention center.
“I’m excited to work with abortion funds and build towards a future where we do not just win Rosie’s law, but also include undocumented people like me in Medicaid, and eradicate the racial disparities in maternal health so that Black mothers and Black pregnant people can thrive.”
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.