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Lilith Fund’s Testimony Against Texas Anti-Choice Bills: SB 8, SB 258, and SB 415

February 15, 2017

Good Morning. My name is Amanda Williams, I’m the Executive Director of the Lilith Fund, which is an abortion fund that provides financial assistance to low-income people seeking abortion care in the southern half of Texas.  We’re also a member of the Trust Respect Access Coalition.

Today I am speaking in strong opposition to SB 8, SB 258, and SB 415.

Lilith Fund clients make up the communities that are most impacted by abortion restrictions of any kind. They are primarily low-income women of color who have children already, who are working to make ends meet, often working multiple jobs and going to school, all while caring for their families. Abortion coverage is often completely out of reach for our clients. And in many cases barriers to coverage have pushed our callers into a dire health care gap that is both unacceptable and ethically unjust.

Instead of passing laws that could increase costs for patients, perpetuate stigma and shame, and force providers to practice medicine against their own best judgement, our state leaders should focus on making sure that all people have the power, resources, and community support they need to make their reproductive decisions a reality. People seeking abortion care services, regardless of economic status, should be treated with respect, dignity, and compassion. These laws would do nothing to improve reproductive health care in Texas, and will only act to further burden, and potentially prevent, those Texans in exercising their right to a safe and legal abortion.

There is no discernible public health reason for these bills, but what does seem clear is that these attempts to interfere with a patient’s reproductive autonomy are part of a larger agenda to further disenfranchise marginalized communities seeking reproductive health care services, including abortion care. If public health and safety or quote-unquote “respect for life” are the true motivation for these proposed laws, as it should be when creating any policy related to the provision of health care, then policies from this body should encourage more access to comprehensive reproductive health care for low-income communities, not less.  

Thank you for your time.