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In Austin and The Rio Grande Valley, Advocates Show Up For “Rosie’s Law” To Expand Abortion Care Access for Low-Income Texans

February 14, 2019

Named for a Rosaura “Rosie” Jimenez, who died seeking an abortion in the Rio Grande Valley due to the Hyde Amendment, the bill (HB 895) would provide abortion coverage for low income Texas families enrolled in Medicaid.

LIVE VIDEO from Austin, Texas:

LIVE VIDEO from McAllen, Texas:

AUSTIN —“Rosie’s Law,” (House Bill 895) authored by Rep. Sheryl Cole, D-Austin, is the first bill of its kind that would expand insurance coverage for abortion for Texans enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program. The bill is part of a historic initiative led by Texas-based abortion funds, who provide financial assistance to thousands of Texans seeking abortion and are committed to removing the barriers low-income Texans face when seeking care. Learn more about Rosie Jimenez.

For more than 40 years, low-income people in Texas and across the country have been denied affordable abortion care due to the Hyde Amendment, a federal policy that prohibits the Medicaid program from covering abortion. Currently, 35 states and the District of Columbia do not cover abortion within their state Medicaid programs, except for limited exceptions. Texas lawmakers banned Medicaid coverage for abortion decades ago, and a ban on private insurance coverage of abortion was passed during the 2017 Texas legislative session. Coverage bans of all kinds force low-income Texans to pay out of pocket for their abortion care and primarily affect low-income communities of color.

“Rosie’s Law” would ensure affordable abortion care for millions of Texans enrolled in Medicaid, and mirrors efforts in states across the country, including Oregon and Pennsylvania, to protect and expand abortion coverage.

Statement from Rep. Sheryl Cole:

“We as women in the legislature were elected in unprecedented numbers and I am convinced it is because of the work of these young ladies standing fast and promoting something like Rosie’s Law, because it teaches us that they stand on our shoulders and we must fight hard for government assistance for those that just don’t have it.”

Statement from Analysia Cole, who accessed a safe abortion with financial assistance from Lilith Fund:

“The thought of an ‘at-home’ termination crossed my mind more than once. If I couldn’t make ends meet, my options would be limited. I spent hours researching ways to end my pregnancy on my own. Millions of results plagued my screen; excessive amounts of vitamin C, pills from Mexico, extreme amounts of exercise, or worse case scenario, dropping a weight on your stomach.  Before making the decision to risk my life out of desperation, I was able to gather the funds needed. I am here today because I see a part of myself in Rosie. Rosie’s Law would bring Texans the safe access to abortions that we deserve. Nobody deserves to die because they just didn’t have the money.”

Statement from Frontera Fund Co Founder & Board Chair Rockie Gonzalez:

“As a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and as an abortion funder, I would like to remind you that abortion will never go away. Today, we ask you to remember that no matter what, wealthy Texans will always have a way to access abortion when and how they want. It is a shameful disgrace that the poorest Texans continue to be denied access to abortion care because of nonsense policies.”

Statement from Lilith Fund Organizer Erika Galindo:

“We’re joining together today to call on Texas lawmakers to use their power to ensure that Rosie’s Law gets a fair chance in the legislative process. At a time when our border communities are experiencing the looming threat of walls and hyper-militarization, we demand  better. The attacks on our homes and our bodies must end. Rosie should still be here and we cannot lose any more people because they can’t afford their abortion care.”

Statement from Texas Equal Access Fund Executive Director Kamyon Conner:

“While the right to abortion is still the law in Texas, I want to remind you today that legal does not mean accessible. Reproductive choice is denied when people are unable to access abortion services. At the TEA Fund we know that abortion is necessary healthcare and we work hard day after day to fill in the gaps created by unjust laws and restrictions.”

Statement from Destiny Lopez, co-director, All* Above All:

“Rosie’s Law is bold legislation that will leave decisions about whether to end a pregnancy where they belong– with Texans and their families. As we continue to fight injustice in all its forms, we must ensure that politicians aren’t able to take away someone’s health coverage just because they’re poor.”

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Frontera Fund provides practical support and funding for abortion to people seeking abortions in the Rio Grande Valley and to people living in the Rio Grande Valley who have to travel to other clinics in Texas and out of state.

Lilith Fund funds abortion in central and southern regions of Texas and advocates for change through the movement for reproductive justice.

Texas Equal Access Fund provides funding to low-income people in the northern region of Texas who are seeking abortion and cannot afford it, while simultaneously working to end barriers to abortion access through community education and shifting the current culture toward reproductive justice.

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