Lilith Fund Testimony Against SB 20 – ACA Abortion Coverage Ban

Good afternoon.  My name is Amanda Williams and I am the executive director of the Lilith Fund, an organization that provides direct financial assistance to people in the southern half of Texas who need an abortion but cannot afford it.

I am here today to speak in opposition to Senate Bill 20. At the Lilith Fund we run a hotline open three days a week dedicated to helping people pay for their abortion procedures. On that hotline, we hear from people struggling to make ends meet needs, the majority of who are parenting, who often face a number of barriers to basic forms of health care, including abortion care. We see firsthand how bans on abortion coverage directly harm low-income people, people of color, immigrants, and young people.

SB 20 is part of an agenda that seeks to shame and punish people seeking abortion in the name of scoring political points, yet we at Lilith Fund know that restrictions on abortion coverage can have a real, dire impact on people’s health and safety by pushing access to safe abortion care completely out of reach.

At Lilith Fund, we remember Rosie Jimenez, a young mother from McAllen, who died from a self-administered abortion when she was not able to use her Medicaid insurance to cover it. The truth is that insurance coverage ensures that a person seeking an abortion will be able to see a licensed, quality health care provider and receive safe care, and that should be a Texas value.

Lilith Fund exists to help our callers escape Rosie’s fate, and many people who call our fund face other unjust restrictions on abortion coverage like the ones SB 20 would create. As such, we already know the devastating impact SB 20 would have on our communities and how this policy would expand the harm to a greater number of people. Whether a person has private or government-funded health insurance, everyone should have coverage for a full range of pregnancy-related care, including abortion.

However we feel about abortion, lawmakers shouldn’t be allowed to deny a patient’s health coverage just because of how they are insured, and people participating in the health care exchange shouldn’t have inferior health care services than people with other private insurance plans, including abortion care.

Lawmakers should be focusing their efforts on making sure families can thrive, rather than placing restrictions on private health insurance companies who want to cover a full spectrum of care. I urge this committee to oppose SB 20. Thank you.