On September 1st, the final restriction of HB2 will go into effect in Texas. HB2 was voted into law in the summer of 2013. Throughout the year, we have moved from over 40 clinics, down to just over 20. On September 1st, Texas will be left with between 6 and 8 abortion clinics, for over 6 million women* of childbearing age.
That’s one in a million.
The restrictions claim to make abortion “safer.” Safer than what? Abortion is an extremely safe outpatient procedure, many times safer than childbirth, and with similar possible complications. HB2 forces doctors to use out of date protocols for medical abortions, requires “hospital admitting privileges” within 30 miles for doctors (unnecessary since in the extremely rare instance of complications, ER doctors usually do the admitting), and now requires extremely expensive retrofitting (or rebuilding) to have all clinics reclassified as “Ambulatory Surgical Centers.” Most abortions don’t even require an incision. They can be done safely in most doctors’ offices.
Even before this final part of the law takes effect in September, hundreds of thousands of Texans now live over 200 miles away from their nearest clinic. Waiting times have shot up at clinics, and with that wait comes an increase in cost. All of this conspires to force more people to carry pregnancies to term that they don’t want, and cannot afford. All of this endangers the health of Texans.
We don’t know what will happen about September 1st. The only sure thing is that it will be even more difficult for Texans to access the abortions they are legally entitled to, that they truly need. Join us as a sustaining donor. Even a small monthly donation allows us to focus on supporting Texans. We’re fighting harder than ever for our clients, and we need your help. Click here to join us!
*We’re using the word women because that is the public statistic available to us, but we know that people who don’t identify as women also need access to abortions. We support, and will fund, their right to abortion access.
Are you interested in reproductive justice? Do you want to directly help Texans access abortion services? The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity is currently seeking 3 – 4 hotline volunteers for our Spanish language hotline.
Lilith Fund hotline volunteers provide direct assistance to low-income people seeking abortion services in Texas. All you need is a phone, internet access, and 4 hours per month. You will be responsible for returning phone calls left by women in need of funding for abortion services.
Our next volunteer training will be in San Antonio in June. Spanish language volunteers can also be trained remotely. To apply to be a volunteer, send a completed volunteer application (PDF) to Hotline Coordinator Kat Craft at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spanish Language Hotline Volunteer Description
Title: Spanish language hotline volunteer
Position description: Hotline volunteers provide direct assistance to low-income women seeking abortion services in Texas. All you need is a phone, internet access, and 4 hours per month. You will be responsible for returning phone calls left by women in need of funding for abortion services. With each woman requesting help, the volunteer listens to the woman’s story, provides guidance and suggestions for raising the needed funds, and where possible provides a grant to cover a portion of the cost of the abortion. The volunteer then sends a voucher to the clinic with Lilith’s funding commitment. Finally, the volunteer logs the case into the Lilith client database. A phone and computer with internet access is required.
Hours: The call volume on the Spanish language hotline is light, approximately 4 – 6 calls per week. Spanish language volunteers commit to one week shifts; they return calls on the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of that week. Total time commitment is 3 – 4 hours for the entire week. The Lilith Fund hotline is a voice mail system so volunteers return calls at their convenience. Shifts can be completed anywhere as long as volunteers have access to the internet and a phone. Our Spanish language hotline volunteers are typically expected to commit to at least one shift every other month for a year.
Position requirements: Lilith volunteers must be passionate about reproductive justice and committed to making sure that poverty does not prevent a woman from having access to the same rights as other women. Familiarity with Excel or other spreadsheet software is helpful. Training is provided.
Application process: Prospective volunteers fill out an application listing their contact information, opinions on reproductive health issues, particular volunteer interests, and references. The volunteer coordinator and/or executive committee review these applications and determine whether the volunteer is a good fit for Lilith.
Get your Lilith Fund Swag at the Bowl-A-Thon! We’ll be bringing a sample of swag to each BAT event. However, why not beat the rush and guarantee you get the “We Fund Abortion” shirt in your perfect size? Order ahead, and your swag will await you in all your bowling glory.
Saunter on over to our Lilith shop. To avoid paying shipping, select any country other than the US, let me know in the notes you are a BAT participant, and which city you’re taking part in. This is an easy way to pay by credit card! Email email@example.com if you have questions. We’ve got unisex and women’s fit shirts, tanks, stickers, and koozies.
This year, Texas is facing more repressive abortion restrictions than ever before. In September, many of the clinics we work with will be forced to close. Does any of this stop the need for abortion? No. All it does is make abortion more difficult, onerous, and expensive to get. That’s where we come in.
The Bowl-a-thon is our biggest fundraiser of the year. It’s the chance for you to fundraise for us so we have money to give to people calling us through the year. For the past four years, you’ve answered the call. This year, in addition to our events in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, we’ve even seen brand new events in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley, areas especially hard hit by HB2 regulations. This year, we need you more than we’ve ever needed you before.
Find your city’s event and sign up to captain or join a team here. Need a team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set you up with a group of reproductive justice powerhouses. It’s a great way to be a part of something huge and meet other supporters. Come to our bowling party, wear a costume, drink some beer, and do it all for abortion access. What could be better?
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 particularly interested in recruiting board members from the Houston/Gulf Coast area, San Antonio, south Texas, and El Paso. We’re especially interested in applicants with non-profit fundraising, communications, and financial experience. The Lilith Fund has recently added a part-time staff member, 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. We do offer partially subsidized travel costs to board members traveling to board meeting.
There is an application and interview process for interested applicants. Please submit a completed board application and a resume to email@example.com by September 30, 2013.
Join us for the 10th Annual Lilith Fund Reproductive Equity Awards
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 from 6-9pm
Mercury Hall, 615 Cardinal Lane
This year’s event will honor Reps. Dawnna Dukes, Jessica Farrar, and Mary González, organizer Brittany Yelverton of Planned Parenthood Greater Texas, social media star Jessica Luther, and reproductive rights journalist Andrea Grimes and other courageous Texans who stood for reproductive rights this legislative session.
The Lilith Fund is very pleased to announce a new workshop in Austin in August 2013.
On Saturday, August 24th in Austin, TX, the Lilith Fund presents its first Community Continuing Education workshop. These workshops are designed to deepen Lilith Fund volunteers’ knowledge, and to facilitate a conversation with the community about the complexities of reproductive justice. Lilith Fund volunteers and the general public are welcome.
You must register to attend. Registration will be capped at 30 participants. The workshop will be held from 1-3 p.m. at an accessible location in Austin – we will email you the location once you have registered.
Our first workshop, titled “Reproductive Justice and Intersectionality” will present the genesis and history of the term “reproductive justice” and will discuss factors which intersect to limit Texans’ access to abortion – including poverty, income/assets, race, ethnicity, language, legal status, immigration, rape, partner violence, reproductive coercion, sexuality, gender identity, disability, illness, age, education and specific legislation and regulation.
To register, please use the form below.
[contact-form to=’firstname.lastname@example.org’ subject=’Signup for Aug 24 workshop’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email address’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Why are you interested in participating in this workshop?’ type=’textarea’/][contact-field label=’Do you have experience working%26#x002c; organizing or volunteering in reproductive rights or grassroots community issues? If so%26#x002c; please describe. If not%26#x002c; are you interested in getting more involved?’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]
Lilith Fund board member Suzanne testified at the July 8, 2013 hearing in the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Senate Bill 1 – that’s the name the Senate version of the anti-abortion omnibus bill has taken on during the second special session. Read Suzanne’s take on the bill below:
I am here to represent myself and as a volunteer with the Lilith Fund. I am speaking in opposition to Senate Bill 1. Thank you for the opportunity to testify.
Lilith Fund is a local abortion access fund that helps women afford abortion. We believe the right to abortion is meaningless without access.
Last week I volunteered for a shift on our hotline. On one day alone we received 27 phone calls from Texans that wanted and needed abortions but could not afford access. The callers ranged in their reasons – some experienced rape, domestic violence, and incest. One discussed the death of her partner and that continuing with the pregnancy was too much. One was from a young girl 14 years old, facing a major life decision. All the callers were thinking of what’s best for themselves and their family.
I couldn’t help all of those callers, which is difficult, but I am terrified of the outcome of SB 1 and what I will tell callers when there is no abortion access in Texas.
Research from the World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute show similar abortion rates in countries where abortion is legal and illegal. Abortion restrictions do not reduce the abortion rate. Instead, where “abortion is permitted on broad legal grounds, it is generally safe, and where it is highly restricted, it is typically unsafe.”
So when we’re talking about SB1 we’re talking about a vote in favor of restrictions that will shut down abortion access in Texas and lead to unsafe abortions and death, of actual people. If SB 1 passes we will see an increase in back-alley abortions, self-abortions, and deaths among women seeking abortion.
As a volunteer with Lilith Fund I speak with people needing help accessing abortion. I hear stories, I talk, I listen. And I’ve heard a lot of folks in this building talk about abortion without talking or listening to those stories; in fact, y’all shut down testimony without hearing from thousands.
Women who have an abortion do not do so lightly. I listen to good people facing an unwanted pregnancy and making hard decisions that are best for themselves.
The 27 people I talked to last week, I believe in their hopes and dreams and that they know what’s best for themselves. Don’t legislate private decisions; leave those to individuals, families, and doctors. They know what’s best, you do not.
With this in mind, I urge you to stop the advancement of Senate Bill 1 immediately.
Thank you for standing for Texans’ reproductive rights last night. In case you haven’t heard the news, Senate Bill 5, the harmful omnibus abortion bill, failedtopass.
This was an important night for reproductive rights in Texas. We appreciate everyone who joined us in orange at the Capitol, posted on social media or followed along.
Thank you, too, to our donors. Since the start of Senator Wendy Davis’s history-making filibuster at 11:18 a.m. yesterday, your generosity has stunned us. Contributions poured in from 98 donors from around the world – nine of you signed up as new sustaining monthly donors.
We are so glad you value the Lilith Fund’s work to remove barriers to reproductive access. Thank you for partnering with us and standing with Texas women and anyone who needs a safe, legal abortion in our state.
This afternoon, the Texas Senate will hold a hearing on a single omnibus bill that regulates abortion procedures and facilities to the point that only five clinics will exist in our state. We urge our followers and supporters to come out to the hearing at 3:45 in the Senate Chamber (floor 2 of the Texas Capitol, east wing). The hearing will likely last late into the evening, so although earlier is better, you can stop by at any time.
Lilith Fund’s statement on the Texas omnibus anti-abortion bill
The provisions of this bill are extreme. A majority of Texans will not agree with this bill and will not support its passage. Only 15 percent of Texans are completely against abortion. In comparison, 81% of Texans, as recently as February 2013, said abortion should be legal in some or all cases. Even Texans who would never choose an abortion for themselves or their family understand that access to abortion is important – and would characterize this bill as extreme and hurtful.
Women who have an abortion do not do so lightly. No woman gets pregnant so she can have an abortion. Sometimes families end up needing to terminate a pregnancy when they never thought they would.
Abortion doesn’t just happen. When abortion occurs, it is part of a woman’s health history across her entire lifespan. During her lifetime, she may go through parenthood, abortion, adoption, miscarriage, stillbirth or any other experience on the spectrum of reproduction. In fact, 61% of women who obtain abortions in the United States are already mothers, so when we talk about abortion we have to talk about families’ values and their plans and goals for themselves.
Most American families want two children. To achieve this, the average woman spends about five years of her life trying to get pregnant, actually pregnant, or immediately postpartum. But on average an American woman spends three quarters of the time she’s fertile and able to reproduce – about thirty years – trying to avoid unintended pregnancy.
Despite families’ best efforts, half of all pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended. This means – if unintended pregnancy keeps happening at current rates, more than half of American women will have an unintended pregnancy by age 45.
In Texas, 53% of all pregnancies were unintended in 2006. That was 309,000 pregnancies. Of all births in Texas in 2006, 45% – nearly half – resulted from unintended pregnancies. Unintended pregnancy has devastating economic consequences for our state. In 2006, the state government spent $507 million paying for births that resulted from unintended pregnancy.
And in 2008, family planning centers helped prevent 98,700 unintended pregnancies – saving the federal and state government $348.2 million in Medicaid costs for pregnancy care and newborn care. The state’s economic burden continues long after birth – unintended pregnancy costs the state, from increased crime and welfare participation to reduced high-school completion and labor force participation.
This omnibus abortion bill is also likely to be challenged in the courts, causing an enormous waste of valuable tax dollars and state resources. We have seen this in other states. North Dakota has already set aside $400,000 in taxpayer funds to defend legal challenges to the state’s unconstitutional abortion ban. It should be noted that North Dakota courts have already temporarily blocked the anti-abortion legislation. And this spring Kansas enacted legislation that effectively banned abortion in the state. The Kansas Attorney General’s Office spent over $1 million over the past two years to defend senseless, wasteful, and shameful anti-abortion legislation. Are Texas legislators and taxpayers prepared to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, required to defend this legislation?
It is not just unintended pregnancies that end in abortion. Because of unforeseen circumstances, women also choose to terminate planned and very much wanted pregnancies. Regardless of her circumstances, when a woman is pregnant, she needs to have abortion as an option. Being denied abortion causes negative health and well-being outcomes for women, children and families.
Women who want an abortion but are ultimately unable to access it suffer negative consequences. Women denied abortion are three times as likely to end up below the federal poverty line two years later. Babies born out of unintended pregnancies are less likely to have good prenatal care and less likely to be breastfed – both of which lead to less successful outcomes throughout the child’s life. Marriages and cohabitation relationships are more likely to dissolve after an unintended first birth than after an intended first birth.
No matter what a woman’s circumstances are, politicians should not interfere with a her ability to make her own healthcare decisions. The decision to terminate a pregnancy is private and the state does not need to be involved in it.
This omnibus bill has extreme consequences. Because of its extremism, a majority of Texans will not support it. The bill will close all but 5 clinics in Texas. These clinics are located in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. There will be no abortion providers west of I-35 in Texas.
Under this bill, the abortion pill, which is safe and rarely results in complications, will require a before and an after appointment with a doctor. Remember, there are only four cities where clinics will stay open, so women will be taking two long round trips. For example, a woman from the Rio Grande Valley will travel 1,000 miles – it’s 250 miles from Harlingen to San Antonio.
Moreover, since the pills used in a medication abortion can be purchased without prescription in Mexican pharmacies, Texas women will likely cross the border to buy the abortion pill and then self-induce an abortion at home. This will be much more affordable for them, even if it is less safe.
Under the omnibus anti-abortion bill, a doctor will be required to administer abortion medication. It is sufficient for a nurse practitioner to do this – and it can even be done via telemedicine; physician administration is unnecessary.
Additionally, for both surgical abortions and the abortion pill, doctors will face extreme regulation designed to put them out of business.
Lastly, under this bill, abortion after 20 weeks will be illegal. The bill states that women have adequate time to decide whether to have an abortion in the first 20 weeks – but that’s simply not true in every case.
The bottom line is this: this bill will make abortion harder to obtain and more expensive. As a result, we will see an increase in back-alley abortions, self-abortions, deaths among women seeking abortion, and unintended pregnancy carried to term – all of which directly create negative public health outcomes and a huge financial drain on the state of Texas. This is not what any of us want for our state, and for our women, children and families.