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Lilith Fund’s Testimony on SB 4, In Solidarity with Immigrant Families

February 2, 2017

Lilith Fund is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that funds abortion and advocates for change through the movement for reproductive justice. Our vision is a Texas where all people have the means and opportunity to plan their futures and families with dignity, respect and community support.

SB 4 directly threatens Lilith Fund clients and their communities. SB 4 stigmatizes and endangers undocumented people in Texas and puts up barriers to critical services, including reproductive health care. Lilith Fund clients often travel hundreds of miles to reach the nearest clinic. For undocumented people, SB 4 would greatly increase their risk of being detained and deported if local law enforcement officials are allowed to demand proof of their immigration status. This threat of discovery could prevent Lilith Fund clients from seeking the healthcare they need and force them to continue pregnancies they do not desire. Actions by local governments — so called “sanctuary cities” — to not participate in optional federal programs and not act as federal civil immigration enforcement attempt to end this dangerous cycle of scaring and threatening undocumented people in Texas, and instead allow them to live their daily lives and access health care with less fear. Texans should not forgo health care because they are afraid of being detained, imprisoned, or deported.

SB 4 also has untold ramifications for our clients beyond access to abortion care. The unclear language and implementation process imply that SB 4 could end access to U visas, an asylum program for undocumented individuals who are survivors of violent crime, including domestic abuse, and are working with U.S. authorities to prosecute their abusers. Proposed additions to SB 4 would also end protections for undocumented students on college campuses, cutting off access to higher education, a better quality of life and higher earning potential. These are just a few of the dangerous ramifications of this anti-immigrant legislation.

Immigrant justice is reproductive justice. On behalf of the Lilith Fund and our clients I speak in firm opposition to SB 4.

-Testimony presented by Schell Carpenter on behalf of Lilith Fund