menu
All posts in Blog

Applications Open for Lilith Fund Board of Directors 2021 Term

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.

To apply, please complete the application linked here AND submit a resume via email to info@lilithfund.org with the subject “[Name], Board of Directors” by midnight on October 30, 2020.

To achieve reproductive justice, we must abolish ICE

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: 

Project South

Georgia Detention Watch

Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights

South Georgia Immigrant Support Network

SisterSong

Access Reproductive Care-Southeast

Whistleblower Dawn Wooten GoFundMe

What would happen if SCOTUS banned abortion? Look at Texas during COVID

A photo of the nine Supreme Court Justices, in teal duotone

On Monday, the Supreme Court’s ruled in June Medical Services v. Russo, a case that could have devastated abortion access. The news was good for abortion access, for now.

But what if the news out of SCOTUS had been bad?

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.

A teal button that says DONATE

Black Lives Matter

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: 

Official George Floyd Memorial Fund

Reclaim the Block

Black Visions Collective

Minnesota Freedom Fund

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. 

In solidarity, 

Lilith Fund

P.S. Please consider supporting our local partners Afiya Center and 400+1 who have set up bail funds for protestors.

Welcoming Neesha Davé as our new Deputy Director

We are thrilled to share that Neesha Davé has joined our staff as Deputy Director. In this role, Neesha will help shape the next phase of Lilith Fund as our programs continue to grow in complexity, scale, and reach. She will also guide our organization and staff in developing leadership as they strengthen and ground our programmatic work.

Neesha has worked in progressive politics since 2003 at the state legislature, in local government and on campaigns. Neesha was a member of Lilith Fund’s board of directors from 2014 through 2018, serving as board president for her final two years.

Neesha is an experienced manager and committed fighter for progressive causes. Throughout her career, she has been instrumental in the passage of progressive public policy at the state legislature and in local government.

Most recently, Neesha served as Chief of Staff to Austin City Council Member Greg Casar, where she worked alongside movement organizations to secure many policy victories, including successful efforts to reduce mass incarceration of youth, people of color and working class people, passage of city ordinances guaranteeing paid sick days and fair chance hiring, and funding to address the city’s long-neglected sexual assault evidence backlog. 

Last year, Neesha collaborated with Lilith Fund and other abortion access organizations to fund $150,000 in the city’s budget towards direct practical support for Austinites seeking abortion care, making Austin the first city in the country to advance abortion access in this way.

Neesha graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in Asian American Studies and Government. As a child of immigrants, a person of color, and a working mother of two school-aged children, Neesha’s lived experiences and values drive her work. She lives in Austin with her partner and children.

Responding to COVID-19: List of Mutual Aid Networks

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 info@lilithfund.org.

San Antonio: 

Systema de ayuda mutua comunitaria — Dando y recibiendo apoyo en San Antonio A google form for Spanish-speaking folks to fill out who might be needing aid or would be able to provide right now. Needs include food prep, emotional support, digital support etc. 

COVID-19 Resources for San Antonio A google doc with a list of resources for San Antonio. 

Puro Mutual Aid Network — Giving and Receiving Support in San Antonio A mutual aid project managed by San Antonio’s DSA chapter. 

Austin

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: 

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.

TX School Districts Not Listed Elsewhere Centralized list for local AFLCIO chapter noting which ISDs are offering assistance to students and families

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.

Houston-area Homebound and COVID-19 Resources: A comprehensive list of resources for folks affected by closures or job loss.

Corpus Christi: 

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. 

Corpus Christi area COVID-19 “Request Support” Form 

Corpus Christi area COVID-19 “Offer for Volunteers” Form 

COVID-19 Resources for Undocumented Communities: 

COVID-19 Recursos para Comunidades Indocumentadas


Meet The New Lilith Fund Board Members

Help us welcome five new members to our board of directors for 2020. Our volunteer board of directors serves as a governing board that provides guidance, oversight, and support to our staff of eight. 

Rachel Castignoli has been doing feminist organizing for over 15 years. Her organizing work includes advocating for criminal justice reform, civil liberties defense, affordable housing, paid sick leave, comprehensive and inclusive sex education, people experiencing homelessness, and especially abortion access. She’s worked with the American Civil Liberties Union, Foundation Communities, and the Democratic Socialists of America. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics and a juris doctorate specializing in taxation. She’s a member of the State Bar of Texas and the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees. 

Rana Emerson is a San Antonio native who has recently returned to the city. She now works for the George Gervin Youth Center and is happy to be home and to join the board of the Lilith Fund. Before returning to San Antonio in the summer of 2019, she spent 14 years as a resident of Brooklyn, New York, and working at the Lower Eastside Girls Club and the City University of New York.  Rana has more than twenty years of experience in the education and non-profit fields. In her spare time, she writes about media, culture, and society. Her writing has appeared in journals including Gender & Society, the American Journal of Sociology; the websites xoJane.com and Popmatters.com; and the collections Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion and The Book of Jezebel.

Noorulanne Jan is a student at the University of Texas School of Law. She approaches her work through a trauma-informed lens and is dedicated to serving indigent and migrant communities. She is a born and raised Houstonian and wants to spend the rest of her life in the best city in the world. Noorulanne appreciates the intersection of the legal and social work fields; she especially takes an interest in tackling social inequities through radical leftist lawyering. When she’s not at the law school, she is teaching ESL at Austin Community College or advocating for workers’ rights.  

Amanda Reyna is a native South Texan who spent a few years in the Boston area. Exposed to many alternative methodologies of care during her childhood, she developed a great appreciation to diverse approaches in healthcare. Her passion for reproductive autonomy grew through experience as a volunteer for various health and crisis-support organizations. As the “go to” person for friends and family for all things pregnancy, labor, and breastfeeding over the years, she decided to pursue training and certification for and is currently working as a birth doula, childbirth educator, and placenta encapsulator.

Alli Richard grew up in Houston where she currently lives again after spending several years in Austin. She is a single mom and a longtime advocate and volunteer for multiple community causes. She began her volunteer work as a kid and now has a career in financial and nonprofit accounting. She currently helps run a support and activist group for abuse and sexual assault survivors with a focus on reproductive justice and normalizing menstruation.

We Updated Our Mission, Vision, and Values

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.

Mission

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. 

Vision

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. 

Values 

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.

Introducing We Testify Texas Storytellers

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.

Read more about the We Testify Texas storytellers here.

Austin-based abortion funds respond to lawsuit from former council member

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.

Recent Coverage: Former Council Member Don Zimmerman Sues to Travel Back in Time

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.

next page