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Celebrating Abortion Providers, Today and Every Day

An Open Letter to Abortion Providers

Today is Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. While many people today are writing letters to thank you for all that you do, you’re at work. Today, you very likely walked past a group of people yelling at you, shaking photoshopped signs intended to intimidate your patients. You probably had hate-filled words hurled at you as you walked from your car into the clinic. You may have even donned a bulletproof vest because you have received death threats many times before.

When these are the obstacles you face just to do your job every day, your job becomes a revolutionary act. To endure bullying, harassment, even violence–against yourself, your staff and your patients–and continue to provide health care, well that makes you a hero.

Abortion providers endure people stalking them at their homes, publishing their personal information online, harassment outside of their clinics and attacks on their ability to provide medical care by politicians. These attacks on clinics and the lives of doctors are a result of the anti-abortion rhetoric and legislation in our state and across our nation.

Like any other doctor, you strive to provide the best possible care to your community with as much compassion and expertise as you can. However, abortion providers, unlike other healthcare professionals, are blatantly singled out by politicians and anti-choice extremists.

We know that recent legislation is, unfortunately, making it more and more difficult for you to do your job. Despite their very limited understanding of the reproductive system–and the law–state legislators rely on misinformation to curb access to abortion for thousands of people.

The recent legislation passed throughout our country are increasingly outlandish and, frankly, dangerous. Every year, the number of regulations grows steadily even though abortion is already one of the most regulated medical procedures. Since 2010, over 1,000 laws have been enacted to restrict abortions. One such law has the potential to set a nationwide precedent, which would drastically affect the ability of millions of people accessing their right to reproductive healthcare.

Right now, the Supreme Court is pondering on the implications of Texas’ House Bill 2. Specifically, they are debating if the requirements within the law present an undue burden for Texans. As the Justices deliberate, you continue working with bated breath because you understand the importance of your work. You’re still bravely performing abortions. You are still doing your job with grace, compassion and tenacity, despite the fact that HB2, and other laws like it, strive to make it almost impossible. This national absurdity would discourage someone else. Yet, you fearlessly persevere. We are in awe of you.

And here’s the thing–you do more than perform abortions. You help people regain a sense of control in their lives. You give them an opportunity to live, grieve and plan their futures in their own way, in their own time. You do all this simply because you trust your patients.

Because of you, millions of people every year are able to exercise their right to bodily autonomy. Because of you, your patients are able to access a medical procedure that is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. Your commitment to providing safe abortions without judgment, and with sincere compassion, is a testament to the highest standard of medical care.

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for existing. Thank you for being here, every day, no matter what. Thank you for providing abortion care.

Sincerely,

Laila Khalili & Lesli-Elsie Simms on behalf of Lilith Fund Board & Staff

If you’d like to show your appreciation and gratitude for abortion providers, you can take part by sending a postcard through the 1 in 3 Campaign.

Lilith Fund’s Executive Director to speak at the Supreme Court Rally next week!

In one week from today, I will be in Washington D.C. sharing Lilith Fund’s work and telling my personal abortion story to thousands of people in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

On that historic day, March 2, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for the Texas case Whole Woman’s v. Hellerstedt regarding House Bill 2, and people from all across the country will rally together in support of abortion rights. The decision will determine the future of abortion access in Texas and could set an extremely important precedent for the rest of the nation.

Since 2001, Lilith Fund has provided small grants to people who seek abortion care in Texas. We’ve seen attacks on our reproductive rights unfold over time, but none as severe as House Bill 2. This omnibus abortion bill threatens to close all but 10 clinics should the Supreme Court fail to permanently block the ambulatory surgical center (“mini-hospital”) and admitting privileges provisions of the law. This would result in only 10 abortion clinics left to serve 5.4 million women in the entire state.

We’ve done our best to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of abortion access in Texas. But as the obstacles to abortion care have grown over time, so have the costs associated with obtaining an abortion. Because our clients now have to pay more for these obstacles such as travel expenses, child care, and lodging over longer periods, they are in need of more funding in order to make their reproductive decisions a true reality.

Needless to say, this law was designed to make it hard for anyone to get a safe abortion in Texas — but it’s especially challenging for low-income people who are struggling to come up with the money to pay for it. At Lilith Fund, there’s no question of the undue burden caused by this law. We know it to be true because we hear about it firsthand from the 4,000 callers who reach our hotline every year. Our volunteers hear from callers who face systemic and direct racism, discrimination, and oppression in every way imaginable. For our callers, the undue burden doesn’t only make seeking care more difficult, it can make safe abortion impossible to obtain.

When I’m in D.C. next week, I’ll be sharing my own experience of how the pursuit of an abortion can be a fight for a chance at a life that we want and deserve to live. While our callers are disproportionately affected by House Bill 2, they’re still fighting to gain access, and they’re working to overcome disastrous barriers to get that very chance. They are resilient and they deserve justice from this decision. We can only hope that the Supreme Court understands the importance of our work and our clients’ experiences. Until then, we’ll continue to fight from Texas all the way to D.C.

Amanda Williams

Executive Director, Lilith Fund

One way to fight back against these harmful restrictions is to donate to Lilith Fund’s biggest fundraiser of the year, our bowl-a-thon. Please consider supporting a bowler, or donate on our website today at www.lilithfund.org.

Harmful Impact of Abortion Restrictions Confirmed: Increased Wait Times, Delayed Care

Independent research confirms that Texas is already seeing the harmful consequences reproductive rights organizations warned would happen following the passage of draconian anti-abortion legislation, leaders of those organizations said today. A new study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP), released on Monday, reveals that widespread clinic closures are substantially increasing wait times for abortions, pushing women seeking abortion care later into their pregnancies.

Nan Little Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Texas Equal Access Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance for abortion said, “Access to abortion shouldn’t depend on where a person lives or how much money they have, but this is the Texas we live in today. If a person is traveling from Lubbock to Fort Worth and facing waiting periods of 20 days or longer, the level of financial and life stress caused by the combination of finding time off of work, the cost of travel, finding childcare, and the higher cost of a second trimester procedure will put abortion completely out of reach for thousands of Texans.”

Tina Hester, executive director of Jane’s Due Process states, “Such extensive wait times push a minor further into her pregnancy, creating dangerous circumstances in homes where teens are experiencing family violence. Additionally, the cost of the procedure rises significantly when the pregnant teen is forced to wait until the second trimester, placing a tremendous financial burden on a teen who lacks family support.”

Holly Benavides, member of the Board of Directors of the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, an abortion fund providing financial assistance to Texas residents in central, south, west and east Texas, stated, “House Bill 2 has had disastrous effects on access to reproductive health care for people in Texas—especially for Lilith Fund clients in South Texas and non-metropolitan areas of our state. An increase in the wait time for an abortion means greater costs, and will effectively put safe and legal abortion care out of reach for some—especially those disproportionately impacted by income disparity, racism, immigration status, geography, and other barriers.

Natalie St. Clair, operations manager of Fund Texas Choice, an organization providing transportation assistance, shared the struggles of one of their clients, “This morning I had a conversation with a woman who wanted to make an appointment at an Austin clinic last week, but all had waiting times of more than two weeks.  This wait would put her past 22 weeks of pregnancy, when no Texas clinic would be able to see her. Instead she is planning a trip to Albuquerque next week.  We’ll have to plan out every detail so she can take off work, find childcare, book a hotel and a plane for what will be a 6-day trip out of state, all to access an abortion she wanted to get last week at a clinic 45 minutes from her home.”

The research from TxPEP reveals the impact House Bill 2, a Texas law that has already forced more than half the state’s abortion clinics to close since it was passed in 2013, has had on wait times for an abortion. TxPEP found that wait times for an abortion went up to 23 days at clinics in Austin and Fort Worth.

Organizations working in the field are already seeing the impact of the clinic closures. These groups include the Texas Equal Access Fund, The Lilith Fund, Whole Woman’s Health, ACLU of Texas, Progress Texas, Texas Freedom Network, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Jane’s Due Process,Fund Texas Choice, Frontera Fund, West Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and Shift.

Initially posted by ProgressTexas.org here.

Now Accepting Applications for the 2016 Lilith Fund Board of Directors

The Lilith Fund, a Texas-based abortion fund, is looking for energetic leaders with a commitment to abortion access to join our Board of Directors. Lilith provides direct financial assistance to low-income Texans seeking abortion services and our board members actively oversee and participate in the work of the organization.

We have a wide and diverse client base and we hope to achieve that kind of diversity in our board. Serving on the Board of Directors is a great opportunity for young leaders to gain valuable experience and we encourage young people to apply.

As an organization committed to reproductive justice, we have a responsibility to create a pipeline of leadership and development opportunities for young people, low-income people, people of color, LGBTQIA people and others who are repeatedly and systematically affected by reproductive inequities. People of color and LGBTQIA people are strongly encouraged to apply.

Although our office is based in Austin, we are interested in recruiting board members from Houston/Gulf Coast, San Antonio, south Texas, El Paso, and Austin areas. We’re particularly interested in applicants with a background in non-profit fundraising, non-profit financial management, accounting, database administration, and data analysis.

The Lilith Fund has a part-time hotline coordinator, but board members will have the responsibilities and duties of a working board. Board members should expect to spend at least 5 hours per week working for the organization. Our board meets monthly, either in person, via conference call, or via chat, but we also have quarterly in-person meetings in rotating cities where we have board representation. We do offer partially subsidized travel costs to board members traveling to board meetings.

There is an application and interview process for interested applicants. Please complete the 2016 Board Member Application and send a resume to info@lilithfund.org by November 15, 2015.

What Happened in Charleston is a Reproductive Justice Issue

As you know, last week a domestic terrorist walked into the historic Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, SC and murdered nine people: Sharonda Coleman Singleton,  Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, DePayne Middleton Doctor, Clementa Pinckney, Myra Thompson, Tywanza Sanders, and Daniel Simmons Sr.

We are holding the families of these victims in our thoughts and join the many protesters in the work of unraveling the framework upholding the wretched lie of white supremacy.

White supremacy, racialized violence and lack of safety for people of color are issues of reproductive justice.

Lilith Fund believes that in order to succeed in the movement towards reproductive justice, we must dismantle the structures that prevent us from building a society that truly values the lives and wellbeing of people of color.

These inequitable structures produce countless difficulties, including poorer health outcomes and limited access to care for people of color in the United States. These are but a couple of examples of our country’s battle against bodies of color that we can work towards eradicating in an effort to build a society based on intersectional justice.

If these topics are new to you, or you want resources to help reach out within your local communities, this guide provided by the African American Intellectual History Society is very helpful:  http://aaihs.org/resources/charlestonsyllabus/

May the victims of this atrocity rest in peace and may their families find solace in the change-making justice that will be sought on their behalf.

14 years Later We Are Expanding Our Organization

This year, we celebrate Lilith Fund’s 14th anniversary. With your support, we have grown from a small group of concerned community activists to an organization with statewide impact serving more than 1,200 clients each year. Thanks to your generosity, we have provided assistance to 9,000 people in need and worked to make reproductive justice a reality in Texas.

Over these 14 years, the Lilith Fund board of directors and volunteers have done remarkable work running and growing the organization. To keep up with the expanding need for our services and continue to build the organization, Lilith Fund has saved funds and made the decision to hire an executive director.

Hiring a director will help us strengthen our organization, increase capacity, build statewide relationships and serve more Texans in need. This is a big step for our organization and we’re so excited to work with you to make reproductive justice a reality in Texas.

We’ll be sharing more details with you as we move forward, and as always, we welcome your input.

Lilith Fund is hiring! Executive Director Job Description

To apply for this position: Email us at info@lilithfund.org with your resume, cover letter and salary requirements

Our response to the 5th Circuit’s opinion on House Bill 2

After several months of waiting for a decision, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a severe and devastating opinion on House Bill 2. We are absolutely heartbroken by the ruling, but we are not surprised.
Infuriatingly, the Court found that requirements in House Bill 2 did not impose an undue burden on a “large faction” of Texans seeking abortions, even though only a handful of Texas clinics – all in major cities – meet the onerous, costly standards in HB 2.
While it’s too soon to predict the full impact of the Court’s decision, the 27 million residents of Texas will likely be left with just 7 or 8 abortion providers. This means Texans seeking abortion care will have to travel even further and wait longer for appointment times, resulting in additional costs for travel, transportation, child care, and lodging – and that increased cost could make abortion out of reach for even more Texans in need.
No matter what, we want you to know that we will not stop funding abortion, and we will not stop fighting. We are united in solidarity with Texans who lack access – especially people of color, undocumented people, those living in rural Texas and west Texas, Texans lacking transportation, Texans who are living in poverty – and we will continue to do our best to serve them. We do this work for them and all who are disproportionately impacted by this ruling.
Please support our work by making a donation today. We depend on your donations to help as many Texans as possible – and with today’s ruling, we need you more than ever.
Here for the long haul,
Susy Hemphill
President, Board of Directors
Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity
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2014 Annual Report

Thanks to your support, Lilith Fund had a historic year in 2014 despite the hardships created by House Bill 2.

We doubled the amount of direct assistance we gave out in 2014 from the previous year, granting our callers nearly $140,000 to access abortion care.

Thank You for being part of our mission in 2014.

Lilith Fund 2014 Annual Report

The Lilith Fund Statement on HB 3994 and SB 575

This session, lawmakers have shown no hesitation to further destroy access to Texans who need abortions. Proposed bills HB 3994 and SB 575 are directly in line with last session’s successful attempts to further restrict access to safe, legal, and timely abortion care services. HB 3994, an omnibus bill that would severely dismantle the judicial bypass process, will make it virtually impossible for young people under the age of 18 to utilize this trusted safety net. This bill will also enforce a highly discriminative ID requirement for all Texans seeking abortion. The Lilith Fund hears from Texans of an array of ages, including minors who are survivors of incest, abuse, and neglect from their parents or caretakers. We are extremely concerned that provisions under HB 3994, including delays and automatic denials, will create further harm for vulnerable young people at a time when they seek protection, support, and compassion. As an abortion fund who hears from over 3,000 Texans a year, we recognize this bill as yet another attempt to create barriers that our callers will have to overcome to access a safe abortion. We are proud to work alongside our partners at Jane’s Due Process (JDP), a non-profit organization that works tirelessly to help neglected and abused minors navigate the judicial bypass process. We are united in solidarity with JDP as they spearhead the fight against this malicious legislative attack, which blatantly singles out some of our state’s most vulnerable Texans.

SB 575 bans health insurance coverage for abortion. While defending this policy, some opponents say that abortion funds will be able to “pick up the slack” if the insurance coverage ban is passed, but we know that this will not be the case. While we do our best to help every client who calls us, the reality is that we can only offer funding to a fraction of the people who reach out for help. Last year, we were able to provide assistance to one third of our callers. The Lilith Fund sees firsthand the devastating impacts
of denying low-income Texans coverage for abortion under the Hyde Amendment. Expanding such restrictions on abortion coverage will further jeopardize even more Texans’ health, safety, and well-being.

We are #HereForJaneTX and all Texans who need abortion.

Now Accepting Applications for the 2015 Lilith Fund Board of Directors

The Lilith Fund, a Texas-based abortion fund, is looking for energetic leaders with a commitment to abortion access to join our Board of Directors. Lilith provides direct financial assistance to low-income Texans seeking abortion services and our board members actively oversee and participate in the work of the organization.

We have a wide and diverse client base and we hope to achieve that kind of diversity in our board. Serving on the Board of Directors is a great opportunity for young leaders to gain valuable experience and we encourage young people to apply.

As an organization committed to reproductive justice, we have a responsibility to create a pipeline of leadership and development opportunities for young people, low-income people, people of color, LGBTQIA people and others who are repeatedly and systematically affected by reproductive inequities. People of color and LGBTQIA people are strongly encouraged to apply.

Although our office is based in Austin, we are interested in recruiting board members from Houston/Gulf Coast, San Antonio, south Texas, El Paso, and Austin areas. We’re particularly interested in applicants with a background in non-profit fundraising, non-profit financial management, accounting, database administration, and data analysis.

The Lilith Fund has a part-time hotline coordinator, but board members will have the responsibilities and duties of a working board. Board members should expect to spend at least 5 hours per week working for the organization. Our board meets monthly, either in person, via conference call, or via chat, but we also have quarterly in-person meetings in rotating cities where we have board representation. We do offer partially subsidized travel costs to board members traveling to board meetings.

There is an application and interview process for interested applicants. Please submit a completed board application and a resume to info@lilithfund.org by September 30, 2014.