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.
It has always been important that our movement lifts the voices of marginalized people who’ve had abortions to help shift the narrative surrounding the procedure, particularly in areas where access is hardest. That’s why we’re excited to announce the launch of We Testify Texas!
We Testify Texas is a partnership between Texas abortion funds, The Afiya Center, Bridge Collective, Clinic Access Support Network, Frontera Fund, Fund Texas Choice, Lilith Fund, Texas Equal Access Fund, West Fund, and Jane’s Due Process and the We Testify program to support their clients and abortion fund callers as they speak out about their experiences in support of abortion access and reproductive justice. Building on the We Testify program’s curriculum, we’ll be investing in the leadership of people who’ve had abortions and shifting the way the media understands the context and complexity of accessing abortion care. The program focuses on building the power and leadership of abortion storytellers of color, from rural and conservative communities, who are queer identified, with varying abilities and citizenship statuses, and who needed support when navigating barriers while accessing abortion care.
The We Testify Texas cohort held their opening retreat in July with storytellers hailing from all over the state who served by or are involved with a Texas abortion fund. The storytellers are excited to share their stories and educate Texans about what it’s like to get abortions through judicial bypass, as parents, as a trans person, as immigrants, and when supported by an abortion fund.
AUSTIN — Former Austin Council Member Don Zimmerman has named local abortion funds in a frivolous lawsuit against city funding for abortion access. The lawsuit is a response to the passage of an historic and groundbreaking city budget amendment that would provide $150,000 in funding for practical support for Austin residents seeking abortion care. The lawsuit names the funds as a way to bully us into backing down—the oldest trick in the anti-abortion playbook.
The lawsuit names The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, Fund Texas Choice, and The Bridge Collective as defendants, in addition to the Mayor and City of Austin.
The funds are responding today.
Statement from Lilith Fund Executive Director Amanda B. Williams:
“We are not intimidated. Far from it, we are as dedicated as ever to making sure Texans can access their right to abortion care. The Austin city budget amendment represents the kind of bold, creative resistance that we need in the face of attacks on abortion. We aren’t distracted by a lawsuit designed to attract attention away from the real news here: local communities are fighting back against attacks on abortion access and we are winning.”
Statement from Fund Texas Choice Board of Directors President, Melissa Flores:
“Fund Texas Choice is proud of the leadership of our partners and the Austin City Council for taking a stance against the targeted attacks of the state and federal government. We believe it is the role of elected officials to show up for our communities and that includes support for Austinites seeking abortion. We are undeterred from seeking funding from the City.”
Statement from The Bridge Collective Core Member Amanda Bennett:
“This lawsuit is a clear attempt to intimidate people seeking abortions and those who support them. As a small, all-volunteer collective that provides rides to abortion appointments, we feel strongly about protecting the community’s access to reproductive services, which includes the peer-to-peer logistical support that we provide. We envision the city of Austin as a place where everyone who wants abortions has the support they need to access one, and the city’s funding is an important step towards this vision. We do not anticipate this lawsuit affecting our work in any meaningful way, and our volunteers will not be intimidated.”
# # #
Lilith Fund, founded in 2001, provides financial assistance and emotional support while building community spaces for people who need abortions in Texas—unapologetically, with compassion and conviction. Lilith Fund operates a mostly volunteer-run hotline in order to provide direct financial assistance to people in the central and southern regions of Texas. Lilith Fund has provided grants to more than 10,000 people. Follow us @lilithfund.
The Bridge Collective was founded as a full-spectrum doula collective in 2012. We are an all-volunteer, non-hierarchical collective that provides transportation, accommodation, and abortion doula services to people seeking abortions in Central Texas. We strive to create a climate of reproductive autonomy and justice for all pregnant people.
Fund Texas Choice helps Texans equitably access abortion through safe, confidential, and comprehensive travel services and practical support.
As it does every two years, the Texas legislative session has come and finally gone. It was as ugly as usual when it comes to Texans’ reproductive rights and freedom. In fact, extreme anti-choice politicians filed more than 30 bills that sought to limit or ban access to safe abortion care.
While we are relieved to make it out of session without extreme abortion bans like the ones sweeping the southern and mid-western regions of the country, we can’t forget that we had strikingly similar proposals in Texas. In fact, lawmakers proposed one bill that would have banned abortion at 6 weeks, another that would make abortion punishable by the death penalty, and many others came uncomfortably close to passage.
In the end, only a few bad bills made it to the governor’s desk, but we can never, ever be complacent. We must keep pushing for proactive and comprehensive reproductive healthcare policies that support the wellbeing of all Texans.
The good news:
🎉 SB 15: Attack on paid sick days, “Fair Chance Hiring,” and the other critical worker protections — FAILED
Senate Bill 15 started as an attempt to pre-empt emerging local labor policies, like mandatory paid sick leave, in cities including Austin, San Antonio and Dallas. Economic justice is central to reproductive justice and we know from our hotline callers that missing work for the mandatory two days it takes to get an abortion in Texas is one of the biggest barriers to accessing abortion care. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and other lawmakers made the bill even worse by removing language that explicitly protected local nondiscrimination ordinances (NDOs) for LGBTQIA Texans in several cities.
🎉 HB 25: Allows children to attend Medicaid appointments — PASSED, SENT TO GOVERNOR
This bill, which allows parents to bring their children to their Medicaid appointments under the Medicaid medical transportation program, passed in both the house and the senate, making life a bit smoother for parents on Medicaid.
🎉 HB 253: Addressing postpartum depression — PASSED, SENT TO GOVERNOR
This will create a commission to create a strategic plan to address and treat postpartum depression.
🎉 HB 541: Pumping in public — PASSED, SENT TO GOVERNOR
A bipartisan bill that gives Texans the right to pump breast milk anywhere.
🎉 HB 1651: Protocols for incarcerated pregnant people — PASSED, SENT TO GOVERNOR
This bill stipulated that county jails had to provide clear protocols for the treatment of pregnant incarcerated persons that included transparent reporting from each county jail, a health plan for a pregnant person, and banning the shackling of a pregnant inmate in labor.
🎉HB 2169: Jail conditions and menstruation — PASSED, SENT TO GOVERNOR
This bill will improve the conditions for menstruating inmates in county jail and require that county jails supply them with menstrual products.
🎉 HB 650: Training regarding pregnant incarcerated people — SIGNED BY GOVERNOR
This bill will require training for correctional officers on handling pregnant incarcerated people and would also reduce the use of restraints.
🎉 SB 1033/HB 2434: Fetal Anomaly bill — FAILED
This bill would have removed the fetal anomaly exception for the 20 week abortion ban in Texas. Its companion version, HB 2434, was heard in the House State Affairs committee. Lilith Fund was there to testify and the bill was left pending, never to be brought up again. Notably, the house bill’s author, Schaefer, used language in the bill that alleged that HB 2432 would close a “loophole” to end sex and race selective abortions in Texas, insinuating that Texans are purposely waiting until after the 20 week ban to have their procedure. On the contrary, the fetal anomaly exception is a compassionate rule that aids grieving families and SB 1033/HB 2434 is a piece of legislation that has failed before because it was so extreme. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court said that a similar provision of an Indiana law should remain blocked.
🎉 SB 2243: Required counseling for people seeking abortion at CPCs — FAILED
This bill, which made it from the Senate to the House, but then died in committee, would have required people seeking abortion care visit state-funded Crisis Pregnancy Centers. CPCs provide inaccurate and misleading counseling, usually intended to talk people out of getting an abortion. CPCs are known to tell pregnant people that if they choose to abort they’re at higher risk for depression and breast cancer, all of which has been proven to be untrue.
The bad news:
😡 SB 22: Attack on abortion providers — PASSED, SENT TO GOVERNOR
This bill would prohibit government contracts with abortion providers and their affiliates. For example, this would mean that providers couldn’t partner with public libraries or universities, the City of Austin would no longer be allowed to lease a building to Planned Parenthood; and furthermore this bill would restrict Lilith Fund’s and partners’ local policy advocacy efforts—in partnerships with local governments—to make crucial, local improvements to abortion access.
😡HB 16: “Lies Into Laws” Bill — PASSED, SENT TO GOVERNOR
The bill that supporters called the “Texas Born Alive Bill” tried to make science fiction into law by stating that an abortion provider was mandated to give life-saving treatment to fetuses who are “born alive” after an abortion, even though that has never been reported to happen in the history of medicine.
😡 SB 24/HB 4240: State mandated lies to patients — PASSED, SENT TO GOVERNOR
Expanded the “Woman’s Right To Know” Act by imposing further rules and restrictions on informational materials that must be provided to patients by physicians on the day of their abortions. It mandates that each patient seeking an abortion get a physical copy provided to them by the clinic they’re going to. These informational materials intentionally contain medically inaccurate information designed to scare and shame people seeking abortion care.
😡 SB 1978: Discrimination against LGBT people — PASSED, SENT TO GOVERNOR
This is an anti-LGBTQ bill that opens the door for discrimination by businesses towards employees and communities. Gov. Abbott has publicly expressed his support of the bill.
😡 HB 2271: Funding for anti-choice propaganda — INCREASED
This bill lets the Attorney General’s office to use up to 2 percent of the “Choose Life” license plate fund to advertise, and passed with ease in both chambers.
😡 Funding for the “Texas Alternatives to Abortion” program — INCREASED
A funding increase to this anti-choice program was approved in budgets this year, meaning that more taxpayer money will go directly to state programs that try to limit people’s reproductive options without actually providing contraceptive services.
😡 Texas Medicaid Expansion — FAILED
Texas is one of 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. An estimated 1.1 million low-income Texans would be eligible for coverage under a Medicaid expansion, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
💔 HB 896: Death penalty for seeking abortion care — FAILED, BUT SET A NEW LOW
This bill would have charged people who get and provide abortions with capital murder, which in Texas, would be punishable by the death penalty. Known as the Abortion Abolition Act, it was given legitimacy by being granted a hearing in the committee of House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence. Fortunately, it did not move past this committee, but it did advance the anti-choice extremist agenda and gave it a bigger platform in the Texas Capitol.
💔 HB 895: Medicaid coverage of abortion care AKA “Rosie’s Law” — FAILED, BUT SHOULD HAVE PASSED
Finally, the proposal that was closest to our hearts as abortion funders. This was an historic proposal led by abortion funds in Texas. We were disappointed (but not surprised) it did not make it out of committee in this legislature. If passed, it would have expanded Medicaid to cover abortion care, meaning that people enrolled in the Texas Medicaid program would be able to afford safe abortion care in Texas. Named after Rosie Jimenez, a woman from McAllen, Texas, who was enrolled in Medicaid, and who died after she could not afford a safe and legal abortion. HB 895 was referred to committee but died there without a hearing. We won’t give up on Rosie’s Law, though. Are you with us? 🌹
💔 HB 744: Curbing Maternal Mortality in Texas — FAILED, BUT SHOULD HAVE PASSED
Exposing the culture of hypocrisy and cruelty of Texas’ anti-choice politicians, HB 744 was left to die in committee. If passed, it would have expanded the amount of time that a pregnant person can stay on Medicaid to a year after they’ve given birth. Studies have proven just how dangerous giving birth can be in Texas, particularly for Black parents, and this bill would be imperative in turning around maternal health outcomes. Increasing the time that a person can get to a doctor can be lifesaving.
💔 HB 4301: Reimbursement for pregnancy-related support — FAILED, BUT SHOULD HAVE PASSED
This would have provided medical assistance reimbursement for doula support during pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period to Medicaid recipients, which could have been a way to curb maternal mortality for Black parents in particular.
💔 HB 607: Fighting bias at the doctor’s office — FAILED, BUT SHOULD HAVE PASSED
This would have required coursework and continuing education in cultural competence and implicit bias for physicians. This would have benefited people—often Black women—who face discrimination in the doctor’s office.
💔 HB 652: ICE Out of Domestic Violence Shelters — FAILED, BUT SHOULD HAVE PASSED
Like HB 744 above, the failure of this proposal laid bare how little Texas “pro-life” politicians care about children and families. This bill would have made domestic violence shelters safe for undocumented immigrants and ensure that no one gets deported while they’re trying to remove themselves from a violent situation.