TEA Fund News

Who doesn't love tacos, beer, and funding abortion?

Take_the_Taco_or_Beer_Challenge!.pngIt's that time of year yet again -- time to eat a taco, drink a beer, and fund abortion with TEA Fund. In 2014, reproductive health, rights, and justice journalist Andrea Grimes sent out a challenge to abortion fund supporters everywhere. The idea was simple: 

1) Eat a taco, drink a beer, or do both. 

2) Take a photo of yourself eating said taco, drinking said beer, or doing both. 

3) Make a donation to an abortion fund or funds.

4) Post that pic on social media letting everyone know who you donated to and tagging 3 friends to do the same. 

We invite you to do it again with us! Take the photo, post it on your social, make a donation here to the Texas Equal Access Fund, and post online that you donated to @teafund! Let your friends know that you're up to the challenge of ensuring that abortion is more accessible in northern Texas! 

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An Announcement from Our Executive Director

After four years as Executive Director of the Texas Equal Access Fund, the time has come for me to step aside and make space fund_abortion_build_power_nan_frame.jpgfor new leadership. This movement is a relay race, not a sprint, and while I leave the TEA Fund having accomplished a lot for the abortion access and reproductive justice movement in Texas, I know that it is time for new energy, perspective, and vision at the TEA Fund.

When I came to the TEA Fund in 2014, I had a vision of an organization that did so much more than fund abortion. Funding abortion is the central guiding principle of our organization; people who are pregnant right now deserve access to their full reproductive rights, and they cannot wait for laws or attitudes to change to experience true reproductive freedom. That’s why we fund abortion. But I also envisioned an organization working toward a world in which we no longer need to exist. True reproductive justice is people having complete access to reproductive decision making – whether that means Medicaid funding for abortion, a clinic in their community so they don’t have to travel to access abortion, economic security so they can afford abortion or afford to parent, or freedom from racial oppression that so often creates barriers to reproductive freedom for people of color. To this end, we started organizing. We created programming like the Repro Power Dallas agenda and the Texas Abortion Funds Advocacy Day at the Texas legislature to send the message that abortion is healthcare and part of a broader reproductive justice vision. We built relationships with organizations doing work around immigration, criminal justice, worker’s rights, and healthcare access to deepen people’s understanding of why abortion access is not a fringe issue. I envisioned a truly intersectional approach to our work.

During my tenure, the TEA Fund budget went from less than $175,000 to more than $500,000. The organization has more than quadrupled our abortion funding budget, tripled our staff from one full-time person to three full-time people, launched a new client engagement program to organize our callers into leaders in our movement, and opened our very first physical office. We have built relationships with economic and racial justice organizations in our Dallas community, and increased our visibility as a member of the social justice movement in North Texas. We recently joined as a plaintiff in a lawsuit against terrible abortion restrictions in Texas. My proudest and most meaningful moments was being included in actions like the Black Mamas Bail Out with our partners at Texas Organizing Project. When I started 4 years ago, very few people knew who we were. Then they knew who we were but weren’t sure why they should work with the abortion-out-loud group. Now they call on us to work together for a better and more just world.

I’m leaving TEA Fund the strongest it's ever been. That’s why it feels like time to go. I always knew there was a time limit on my tenure – we've built a sturdy foundation from which new leadership can launch an even bolder vision for abortion access based in racial, economic, and gender equity. I look forward to seeing what this organization can accomplish going forward; I have full faith that it will be powerful and have a huge impact on abortion access in Texas.

Do you want to be the next executive director of TEA Fund? Check out the details! I can't wait to meet the next leader of this beautiful, powerful work. 

 

In love and solidarity,

Nan Kirkpatrick

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Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, Two Years Later...

Two years ago today, we woke up to watch the SCOTUS blog and find out whether or not we'd be getting a decision from the 19466248_10155433479759556_1135888297328529461_o.jpgSupreme Court regarding the Texas laws that shut down so many of our abortion clinics.When the court ruling came down not only striking down the law, but setting new precedent regarding how states can use the "women's health and safety" argument when defending their anti-abortion restrictions, we rejoiced. It was a great day to be an advocate for abortion access in Texas.

Two years later, the victory remains, but it's complicated. It's complicated by the fact that we still have no clinics in our Panhandle region, and about 1/3 of TEA Fund callers still live hundreds of miles from the nearest provider. It's complicated by the SCOTUS decisions this year -- upholding the oppression of Texan's voting rights, the Muslim travel ban, and the lies and deceptions of Crisis Pregnancy Centers. We always knew that the march toward justice was a relay, not a sprint, but on this two-year anniversary of the decision in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt that gave so much hope to our reproductive health, rights, and justice movements, it's hard not to feel disheartened by all that we see happening in our communities today. 

But the fight continues. TEA Fund will continue to be here, working for abortion access and reproductive justice in northern Texas for as long as it takes. We're going to keep funding abortion, talking about how abortion access is part of a larger vision for true bodily autonomy and reproductive decision making, and showing up for the fight to ensure that all people can make the decisions that are best for themselves free from economic, racial, or gender oppression and in love, security, respect, and dignity. It's a tall order. But it's the right thing to do. It's why we're back in court, suing to strike down an entire group of bad Texas abortion restrictions that have created in some cases insurmountable barriers to reproductive freedom. 

 

 

 

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We're taking Texas to court for abortion access.

Today, Texas Equal Access Fund and our partners at Whole Woman's Health Alliance, The Afiya Center, Lilith Fund, Fund Texas TPL_Austin.jpgChoice, and West Fund have filed a lawsuit against an entire group of Texas anti-abortion restrictions that have been on the books for years. We are suing the state to repeal an entire web of laws that have created an almost insurmountable barrier to abortion access for our callers and other pregnant people in Texas, including mandatory waiting period, TRAP laws that hinder abortion providers ability to remain open, parental involvement laws, and laws that restrict the use of telemedicine to provide abortion access. 

TEA Fund is proud to be one of several Texas abortion funds bringing this case against the web of laws that make it so hard for people in our state to access abortion. We hear the stories of the people most impacted by these laws every day on our abortion funding hotline -- some of whom live hundreds of miles from the nearest abortion provider and struggling to afford time off from work or childcare for their families -- so we are intimately aware of the ways that the Texas legislature's war on reproductive healthcare access -- including access to abortion -- has devastated the rights of people who can become pregnant in Texas.

Abortion is healthcare -- and it's also a part of the struggle for bodily autonomy, self-determination, and economic justice. We're bringing this lawsuit because people in Texas deserve access to safe, compassionate, quality abortion care regardless of their income, race, immigration status, or circumstance. Texas's long-term extremist attacks on abortion access disproportionately impact marginalized communities -- people of color, people in our rural communities, immigrants, young people, the economically oppressed. As an abortion fund, TEA Fund knows this first hand because we talk on the phone with people every day who are struggling to access abortion. In our more than 10 years of abortion funding, we've assisted tens of thousands of people from North Texas and the Panhandle who were seeking abortion and being denied their reproductive rights by these laws. 

Today we say enough and fight back against the web of unnecessary, harmful abortion restrictions in Texas. See you in court! 

 

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The Domestic Gag Rule: What is it? Why is it terrible for abortion access?

Over the decades since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States, the anti-abortion movement has developed a strategy of creating a web of different laws, regulations, and policies designed to make abortion less and less accessible. These laws and policies create a seemingly never-ending (until a new policy is passed and a new barrier is discovered) set of hurdles and barriers designed to make accessing abortion confusing and in some cases impossible. It's important to understand this context when discussing various new barriers -- the whole idea of this strategy is that when people see them one by one they will think, "Well that's not so bad -- it's not like they've overturned Roe v. Wade!" 

But honestly with this web in place, for many people in our community, Roe might as well not even exist. 

So into this web comes the Domestic Gag Rule. Actually, returning to this web is the Domestic Gag Rule. It was first implemented by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. Since that time it's been rescinded and reinstated by different administrations. Under the Domestic Gag Rule, family planning providers that receive federal funds could have their funding revoked for even informing patients where they can access abortion. For folks in places like the Texas Panhandle, where a Title X federally funded family planning clinic or a federally qualified health center may be the only places where a person can get accurate information on accessing abortion, this rule can have devastating effects. 

As an abortion fund, we already know what it looks like when people are facing multiple barriers to abortion access. We've actually worked in the last year to get more information about abortion access available to patients at our Panhandle Title X clinic. We know the important role these clinics fill, especially in our rural Texas communities -- places where people already live 100s of miles from the nearest abortion provider and may believe that abortion is illegal because of the lack of actual access in their communities. While Title X clinics do not provide abortions, they provide a vital link between people and information about their full range of family planning and reproductive options. Without this information, people in Texas and other low-access areas will find it EVEN HARDER to access abortion. And that's with it already being really, really, ridiculously hard. 

We cannot sit idle while rules that are "not that bad" chip away at people's right to an abortion. What is a right with no access? A while back, a Baby Boomer asked why young people today don't care about Roe, and our question was: What is Roe to people who cannot access an abortion without jumping through flaming hoops, running an obstacle course, having their dignity assaulted, and all to perhaps come up short at the finish line? This is not a question of "freedom of speech" or the need to keep abortion separate from other family planning because of some people's anti-abortion sensibilities. It is about denying people their rights -- usually the people in our communities having their rights revoked in a myriad of ways every single day. If we care about people being able to have true reproductive freedom, we need to oppose the Domestic Gag Rule. 

 

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Become a TEA Fund Organizing Fellow!

About TEA Fund:

The Texas Equal Access Fund provides funding to people in the northern region of Texas who are seeking abortion services, but cannot afford it. TEA Fund works to end barriers to abortion access by using education and advocacy through a reproductive justice framework at the local legislative level and in the community at large.

About you: 

Do you believe the right to abortion needs to be accessible to all people, regardless of their income? Do you also support racial and economic justice? If you answered “yes” to these questions and want to build power at the local level to affect policy change, join us at TEA Fund and help make abortion access a reality for thousands of North Texans!

We're looking for two organizing fellows for the summer -- one advocacy fellow and one communications fellow. In your roles you'll work alongside the TEA Fund grassroots organizer, executive director, and TEAm to support efforts around organizing for abortion access in Dallas. You'll gain experience with facilitating trainings, organizing actions, taking part in communications around various campaigns and actions, and developing relationships with our community partners. 

You'll spend about 10 hours a week with us, as well as join us for a summit in El Paso that is being produced by our friends at the West Fund (all expenses for that covered by TEA Fund) from July 5 through 8. Fellowship will last from June 11 through August 30. Each of the fellows will receive a $2,000 stipend for your time. 

Advocacy Fellow Responsibilities:

As the Advocacy fellow, you will play an integral part in helping TEA Fund build up our local advocacy programs and get both legislative and community support for our policy agendas. You will get to:

  • Create and lead trainings on the Repro Power Dallas Agenda Assist in the planning and execution of a Dallas City Hall Lobby Day in support of the Repro Power Dallas Agenda and the Abortion is Healthcare resolution
  • Develop meaningful and fruitful relationships with local community partners including grassroots organizations, elected officials, and statewide progressive organizations
  • Represent TEA Fund at events in the community. 

Communications Fellow Responsibilities

  • Support turnout efforts by creating promotional communications, including social media, email blasts, and website content. 
  • Work with the TEAm to learn more about how to increase familiarity with TEA Fund and our work in the community. 
  • Participate in message development. 
  • Attend events to spread the word about TEA Fund. 

Requirements:

  • Proficient with Google Office Applications
  • Strong organizational and multitasking skills
  • Strong communication skills, both verbal and written
  • A deep commitment to abortion access and social justice. 

Values-Based Selections

Our organization is committed to investing in the leadership of people of color, people who have had abortions and/or who have received funding from an abortion fund(s), low-income people, immigrant people, Native people, formerly incarcerated people, queer, and trans people. We do not discourage or discriminate against people with convictions, and you will not be asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime on the application or interview.

If you're interested in being a TEA Fund Organizing Fellow this summer, send an email to Ke'Yonna Hall ke'yonna@teafund.org telling us more about yourself. Include why you want to be involved with TEA Fund, any relevant experience you want us to know about, and what you hope to accomplish in your time as a fellow and going forward after this experience. Deadline for application is May 26, 2018, by 5 pm. Feel free to email with any questions. 

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TEA Fund Supports the Black Mamas Bail Out in Dallas

right_to_justice.jpgFor Mother's Day, Texas Equal Access Fund is joining up with Texas Organizing Project, The Afiya Center, Texas Freedom Network, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, and Friendship-West Baptist Church to bail Black mamas out of jail in Dallas County as part of the national Black Mamas Bail Out. TEA Fund is extremely honored to have been invited to take part in supporting this effort. Let's talk about why. 

When mamas are stuck in jail over an inability to pay cash bail, there is no justice. This is pre-trial arrest; these mamas have not yet been convicted of any crime. And while they sit in jail over an inability to pay their bail, they aren't able to be home with their families. They may lose their jobs, their housing, and even custody of their children. And we should be explicit: the system is racist. Black people are over two times more likely to be arrested and once arrested are twice as likely to be caged before trial. As an organization that not only works to ensure true reproductive freedom for all people -- and that includes people being able to care for their families without the threat of state violence disrupting their security -- as well as an organization committed to solidarity in the fight against racist oppression, taking part in the Black Mamas Bail Out in Dallas wasn't even a question to consider. It was a resounding yes. 

At TEA Fund, we fund abortion now while working to end barriers to abortion access for the future. People who are being oppressed by the system right this minute can't wait for some future shift to experience justice. Organizations like Texas Organizing Project and Color of Change are working to end the cash bail system, but in the meantime, bailouts allow people who are experiencing oppression at the hands of our legal system to have some level of justice in the meantime. People sometimes languish in county jails for months over a bail as low as $79 because they cannot afford to pay it -- and these are folks who haven't even yet been convicted of any crime. TEA Fund knows all-too-well what it means to have rights-in-name-only because poverty is blocking access to those rights. 

What we need now is for you to join us, too. Click here to donate to the effort to bail Black mamas out of jail next week. The more we can raise, the more Black mamas we can have home with their families for Mother's Day. Let's celebrate the rights of all people to parent in peace and security by taking some action toward justice together.  

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Welcoming New Folks to the TEAm!

Last month, TEA Fund welcomed two new board members to our TEAm! Both of these folks bring a lot of amazing experience and perspective to our crew, and we are so excited to bring them on board! 

Bio_Photo.JPGDr. Whitney Peoples

If Dr. Peoples seems familiar, that might be because she's our First Bloom luncheon speaker this year! It could also be that we actually announced she was joining our board last year. Then...she moved to Michigan! We weren't sure about having an out-of-state board member, but we were just so excited to have Dr. Peoples with us that we decided last month to give it a shot. So welcome Dr. Peoples again to the TEA Fund board! Dr. Whitney Peoples currently holds a position at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan, but she's got roots right here in North Texas. Prior to her recent move to Michigan, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Multicultural Women's and Gender Studies at Texas Women's University and a Provost Post-Doctoral Fellow in Women's and Gender Studies at UT, Arlington. In 2017 she co-edited Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundation, Theory, Practice, and Critique alongside one of the founding mothers of the reproductive justice framework, Loretta Ross. She earned a Ph.D. in Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies from Emory University, an M.A in Women's Studies from the University of Cincinnati, and a B.A. in Political Science from Agnes Scott College and brings fifteen years of experience in feminist and critical race research, activism, and teaching. Whitney regularly speaks and writes on the intersections of race, gender, health, and popular culture. She is also passionate about community engagement and currently serves on the advisory board of the Take Root: Reproductive Justice in Red States annual conference and on the governing council of the National Women's Studies Association through her role as Co-Chair of the Women of Color Caucus. 

Untitled_design_(2).pngCindy Spoon

Cindy Spoon is a grassroots organizer for social and environmental justice who has been active in campaigns for political and social change throughout her entire adult life. She has organized dozens of Strategic Direct Action trainings and community organizing workshops in many Texas cities and across the Gulf South region. Although most of Cindy's organizing history has been rooted in environmental justice campaigns that oppose fossil fuel infrastructure, she believes that our work for environmental justice and reproductive justice is inextricably linked and she is committed to creating movement spaces that are not designed to silo communities within single issues. 
Here's to seeing what we can build with these two on the TEAm! 
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TEA Fund Joins Partners for Paid Sick in Dallas

IMG_6244.jpgThree years ago when TEA Fund was helping gather testimony for an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case against Texas's clinic shutdown law, HB2, one of our callers told us that they missed out on $500 in wages when seeking abortion access. As an hourly wage worker, taking two days off for the sonogram and then the abortion appointment, not to mention other missed time to travel to and from a different city for her appointment, accessing an abortion cost her more than the cost of the procedure itself. She missed out on wages. No one wants to get a pay cut, but for a person living paycheck-to-paycheck, missing wages can mean not being able to buy groceries, not being able to take care of family expenses, or falling behind on the car loan -- all because they needed time On , TEA Fund and partners from Working Texans for Paid Sick -- Texas Organizing Project, Workers Defense Project, Texas 

IMG_6243.jpgOn May 13, Freedom Network, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Dallas AFL-CIO and more -- came together in solidarity to announce the filing of the intent to collect signatures to put paid sick time on the ballot in Dallas in November. We are so proud and humbled to be included in this coalition working for economic justice for all Dallas workers. As we stood there with our partners, we thought of the client who missed out on $500 in wages to seek abortion -- and we thought about all the other ways that lack of paid sick protections for workers impact the ability of our callers to experience reproductive justice. 

Abortion is healthcare, and we believe that missing out on wages shouldn't be an obstacle for our callers. But it even goes beyond that. Our callers deserve to live in communities where they have the ability to take care of themselves and their families -- where they don't have to choose between taking care of themselves or a sick child and having enough money to cover groceries or even keeping their job. Paid sick is a step toward creating a community where people can parent in economic security. That's what reproductive justice is all about. 

If you would like to fight for paid sick time in Dallas with us, join us on May 15th from 6 to 8 pm at the CWA building in Dallas, 1408 N. Washington Ave, to talk about why reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates need to work for paid sick time and get trained to collect petition signatures to get paid sick on the ballot in Dallas this November. RSVP here!!!

Shout out to our partners from NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, The Afiya Center, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, and the Texas Freedom Network for joining us on the 15th for this training. Together we can build a world where all people have what they need to live their best lives!

 

 

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We're GROWING!

We've got a brand new program...and a brand new office, too! 

TEA Fund got started in 2005 in Denton, Texas. We were founded by a professor at the University of North Texas, Gretchen Dyer, and some of her students. From those beginnings, we grew to welcome our first full-time executive director in 2011, and about 3 years ago we welcomed a second staff position with the grassroots organizer. We've never had an official office -- all the TEA Fund swag was housed in our executive director's garage, much to their spouse's occasional annoyance. And we've long wanted to more deeply engage and build relationships with the people who call our hotline for funding -- building power means centering the experiences and voices of the people most impacted by abortion access restrictions. 

Well GUESS WHAT?!?!

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Pro-Life? Try Anti-Family at the Texas lege.

Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the anti-sanctuary legislation SB4 into law. This racist piece of legislation gives law enforcement the ability to racially profile people in Texas, and it threatens to make our communities less safe. It will impact the ability of undocumented people to access safety, healthcare, education, and civil rights. It will separate families. This legislation is racist, and it is anti-family. Period. 

This session, the Texas legislature has taken it upon itself to seek new heights in anti-family legislation. Consider HB3859, a bill that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against parents seeking to adopt based on their religion. With a CPS crisis in the state and so many children seeking homes, HB3859 doesn't help strengthen families or support children. It does, however, support bigotry under the guise of religious freedom. True religious freedom supports people practicing whatever religion they have determined is best for themselves and their families. 

Certain Texas legislators and our Governor would have you believe that they are pro-life. But what policies are they promoting that are actually good for families and children? SB4 could actually separate families, leaving children without a parent if a parent is deported. HB3859 does nothing to support children seeking adoption. And these are just two examples of bills from this session that show that some of our state lawmakers are more interested in discrimination than making sure that families are safe, healthy, and supported. 

Texas Equal Access Fund participated in the Dallas County 4 All coalition to pass a Welcoming Community resolution in Dallas County in the face of SB4. We oppose all measures taken at the Texas legislature to codify racism and religious discrimination into law. We oppose these things because it is right, and because we support the ability of all people to raise families in supportive environments. People's human rights shouldn't be denied because of their race, ethnicity, real or perceived documentation status, or religion. Join us in fighting for true reproductive justice and human rights in all ways; it's the only way to truly be pro-life and pro-family. 

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We must stop all economic barriers to abortion access.

On Wednesday, May 3rd, Texas Equal Access Fund Executive Director Nan Little Kirkpatrick went down to Austin to testify in the House State Affairs committee against HB 1113. This bill would block abortion from being covered under private insurance, requiring those who want insurance coverage of abortion to purchase supplemental coverage. Here's what Nan read to the committee: 

My name is Nan Kirkpatrick. I live in Dallas, and I am the executive director of Texas Equal Access Fund. We’re the abortion fund that serves the northern half of Texas. I am here in opposition to HB 1113. Every day our organization hears from people who are facing an unexpected pregnancy and can’t afford an abortion. Their stories are not unusual – every day, people all over Texas face unplanned pregnancies. Some will choose to carry those pregnancies, and we think that’s great. We support all people having the ability to make whatever reproductive decisions they want to make for themselves. But some of them will, for whatever reason, want to terminate the unplanned pregnancy. An unplanned pregnancy can have all kinds of impacts on a person’s life, their family, and their community. By banning private insurance coverage of abortion and requiring people to buy supplemental coverage for any kind of reproductive healthcare, including abortion, this law just puts more economic barriers between people and true reproductive decision making. You may not believe that this will impact very many people, but to that we would say that even one person being barred from abortion access because of economic barriers is one too many – and forcing people to carry unwanted pregnancies to term when they would otherwise choose to terminate has the potential to impact so many more people in our communities. Requiring low- and middle-income people to pay more every month for supplemental coverage for pregnancy-related care makes it just that much more of an economic burden. It also sends the message yet again that abortion is outside the realm of healthcare. Healthcare is the maintenance and improvement of physical and mental health, especially through the provision of medical services. Abortion fits squarely within that definition, and it also fits right into the spectrum of pregnancy-related healthcare specifically – which means it should be available to all who might need it in the event of an unplanned pregnancy. With unplanned pregnancy being an overwhelmingly common experience, banning abortion coverage outright from the possible offerings of a standard private insurance plan is moving us in the wrong direction when it comes to abortion access. 

You can call the committee to log your opposition to HB 1113. 

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Abortion Funding 101: Why Abortion Funding?

abortion_funding_101.jpgYou may see the words "abortion access" a lot, but you might not completely know what we mean when we say that. As an abortion fund, we make abortion more accessible for people who can't afford it, but why do we do this? The short answer is that abortion access is an economic, racial, and gender justice issue, and there are discriminatory policies and cultural forces at work that make it almost impossible for low-income and marginalized people to access abortion, even though they technically have a right to one. 

Let's walk through what those policies and cultural forces are and why they matter. 

The Hyde Amendment

In 1973, the United States Supreme Court granted the right to an abortion for all people in the United States in the Roe vs. Wade decision. For a period of 3 years, Medicaid covered abortion access. Then, in 1976, congress placed the Hyde Amendment on the federal budget. This rider on the budget has been in place since then, blocking Medicaid coverage of abortion access. What does this mean? It means that while all people in the United States have a right to an abortion, this discriminatory policy means that some people can access the procedure while others cannot. The Hyde Amendment codifies inequity in healthcare access in the federal budget. 

Individual State Laws

In 1992, the Supreme Court made a decision in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey that states could place restrictions on abortion access as long as they didn't create an "undue burden." They didn't really define "undue burden," though. States have enacted over 1,000 laws to restrict access to abortion over time, and this incremental approach has allowed those who oppose abortion access to restrict it without many people taking notice. Some of these laws include mandatory sonogram laws, waiting periods of 24, 48, or even 72 hours, laws that require abortion providers to lie to patients about the dangers of abortion, and parental consent laws. How do these laws pose discriminatory barriers to access? Waiting periods, for instance, are more of a burden on low-income people because they require someone who is likely an hourly wage worker to take two days from work instead of one. One TEA Fund client let us know that her procedure cost her $500 in lost wages! Also, 70% of our clients already have at least one child, which means that a two-day procedure places extra burdens on them for childcare costs as well. 

What Does This Have to Do With Abortion Funding?

You might already know about state-level attacks on reproductive rights and abortion access, but you may be wondering what this has to do with abortion funding. The truth is that every barrier drives up the cost of the procedure. Someone seeking an abortion needs childcare? That increases the costs associated with abortion. Someone seeking an abortion needs to travel because of clinic closures? That increases the cost. Patient is pushed into later pregnancy because of fewer clinics and longer wait times? That increases the cost. And even before state-level attacks, the Hyde Amendment has been barring access to abortion for low-income people in the United States and coercing reproductive choice. 

And barriers to abortion access disproportionately impact women of color, LGBTQ folks, immigrant people, and young people. A lot of our callers also come from economically depressed rural communities. Whether or not someone can access an abortion often comes down to where they live. 

TEA Fund and abortion funds around the United States push back against these policies by directly funding abortion access to offset the costs and gaps in care created by the Hyde Amendment and state-level restrictions. At TEA Fund, we also work to build support for removing those barriers all together and change the conversation around abortion access so that people can experience true reproductive freedom. We do this because even in the movement for reproductive health, rights, and justice, low-income people who are barred from accessing abortion are often the last people anyone thinks about. We talk a lot about covering birth control, family planning, and reproductive health care, but often the word "abortion" is left out of that conversation. Those things are important, but: 

That's why we fund abortion! 

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Welcome our New Board Members!

We're excited to announce our new board members for 2017! This is a powerful group of folks bringing new experience, skill, and energy to TEA Fund -- we're so glad they've decided to join the TEAm! 

Deirdre Benavides

IMG_3955.JPGDeirdre Benavides is 25 and has been working in libraries for four years. She is from Albuquerque, New Mexico but has lived in DFW for most of her life; she currently resides in Fort Worth. In the free time she has, she loves to read, spend time with friends, and catch up on her favorite shows. She is passionate about reproductive rights and delighted to be a new board member for TEA Fund. She can't wait to see what we accomplish! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jara Butler

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Jara Butler was born in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Martin High School in Arlington, Texas before attending the University of Georgia as a student in the School of Public and International Affairs. As a student,Jara was involved in various organizations including the Young Democrats of the University of Georgia; Relay For Life; Student Academic Honesty Council; and Black Student Union. While a student, she served as Coordinating intern for the Religious Coalition of Georgians for Choice. In 2008, she served as Executive Coordinator of Georgia Students for Barack Obama. Today, she sits on the Executive Board of Texas Young Democrats as National Committeewoman; the board of New Leaders Council- DFW; Faith and Values Coordinator for the Young Democrats of America. She also sits on the board of the DFW UGA Alumni Association.

 

 

Dr. Whitney Peoples

Bio_Photo.JPGWith fifteen years experience in feminist and critical race research, activism, and teaching, Dr. Whitney Peoples has spoken locally, nationally, and internationally on the intersections of race and gender. She holds a Master of Arts in Women’s Studies from the University of Cincinnati and a Ph.D. in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies from Emory University. She has published critical essays on race, gender, reproductive health, and popular culture in both academic and popular outlets, including the Crunk Feminist Collective Blog and Racialicious. Dr. Peoples is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Multicultural Women's & Gender Studies at Texas Woman's University, where she continues her research and teaching on race, women’s reproductive health and popular media in the U.S.

 

 

Katie Dickerson

Katie Dickerson has been volunteering on the TEA Fund hotline for almost a year. She worked at an abortion clinic in Washington state for several years, where she also ran the clinic abortion fund. She now works as a sales executive.  

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Meet our New Grassroots Organizer!

Welcome Mary to the TEAm! IMG_3346_(2).JPG

Mary is the new Grassroots Organizer for TEA Fund, and has been a board member with TEA Fund for the last year-and-a-half. Mary has over 6 years of organizing experience on political, advocacy, and issue based campaigns with organizations such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Battleground Texas, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Most recently Mary was a participant in the NARAL Pro-Choice Texas Next Generation cohort and has participated in several direct action protests against anti-abortion legislation during the 84th and 85th Texas Legislative sessions.

When she is not upsetting the Lieutenant Governor from the Senate Gallery, Mary can be found with her nose in a book, meditating outdoors, and enjoying the mild Texas winters (usually with a bowl of queso).

We're so excited to have Mary working with us to expand support for abortion access advocacy in North Texas. If you'd like to build power with us for reproductive rights and justice, you can contact Mary at mary@teafund.org. 

Go TEAm!

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Members of the Texas Legislature are Working to Hurt and Refusing to Help

 

Today, the Texas Senate voted 21-10 to pass SB6, the anti-trans legislation that restricts people's use of the bathroom that matches their gender identity. A House committee is hearing SB4, the anti-sanctuary legislation that will interfere with protections for undocumented people, and the senate is hearing SB8, a bill that was created in response to a made up problem illustrated in the bogus Planned Parenthood sting videos regarding fetal tissue use in research. The legislators who are promoting these bills have said that they are about protecting Texans, but nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, each of these bills is about controlling marginalized and vulnerable people in Texas. 

Meanwhile, one state representative has had to file a bill to crowdfund the processing of backlogged rape kits because the state will not pay for processing. Amendments to SB6 proposed by various senators yesterday during reading to protect trans people from discrimination as a result of the bill failed, with proponents of the bill claiming that such protections would "gut the bill." Earlier in the session, a legislator tried to tack an anti-immigrant amendment onto a bi-partisan bill designed to fix our broken child protective services system, much to the dismay of many in the legislature. 

It seems that the Texas legislature's priorities are completely out of whack. We have children dying on CPS's watch, a staggering maternal mortality rate amongst black women in Texas, a backlog of rape kits that could help to provide justice for sexual assault survivors, and long-time undocumented residents being ripped from their families. Yet we've seen that some members of the legislature would rather spend time oppressing trans people and denying them the safety of using the bathroom of their choice. We've seen language used in committee hearings that is abhorrent. Anti-immigrant, anti-trans, and anti-abortion legislation are all interconnected. They're all about dehumanizing those whom the people in power would like to control and oppress. In one exchange, Senator Don Huffines refused to agree with Senator Kirk Watson that women deserve bodily autonomy. The rhetoric of those working to pass SB4, SB6, and SB8 are all about the politics of control. 

As these bills and others move through the legislative process, TEA Fund will work to counter the narratives of fear and dehumanization used to uphold this agenda of oppression. People deserve the right to fully express and be who they are. They have the right to live with their families in safe and supportive communities. And they have the right to bodily autonomy without burdensome interference by the state. We hope that the legislature will someday cease working so hard to hurt the people of Texas and instead take up all the ways they could be of help -- by supporting family-friendly legislation like family leave and equal pay, removing barriers to abortion access for low-income people, supporting trans students being safe in school environments, and supporting sexual assault survivors. We call upon the state legislature to support complete economic, racial, and gender justice instead of crusading against the rights of the oppressed. 

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TEA Fund is Hiring!

TEA Fund is Hiring! 

Title: Grassroots Organizer

Job Status: Exempt, Regular, Full Time

The Grassroots Organizer has lead responsibility for building a network of activists and volunteer leaders for the organization. The Grassroots Organizer is responsible for recruiting new supporters, engaging activists, and developing volunteer leaders who identify with the reproductive justice movement and support the Texas Equal Access Fund’s mission. The Grassroots Organizer also leads execution of grassroots outreach and advocacy plans to further the programmatic goals of the organization and our larger network.

Major Responsibilities

  1. Implement organizational outreach and organizing plans
  2. Coordinate volunteers to support programmatic and advocacy goals
  3. Ensure organizational base building goals are met
  4. Develop and execute grassroots strategies to further the programmatic goals of TEA Fund
  5. Maintain outreach contacts in the organizational database and utilize systems to track and evaluate progress toward our base building goals
  6. Participate in organizational fundraising
  7. Execute administrative duties as assigned
  8. Collaborate with the executive director and the board

Qualifications

Be able to work from home, but must live in the North Texas region. Access to a computer and internet. Outstanding people skills and capacity to work effectively in teams of diverse people. Organizing experience a plus, including campus, community, or canvassing organizing. College degree not required. Ability to work independently and take initiative. Irregular hours, including evening and weekend work, and frequent local and statewide travel often required. Commitment to progressive values and social change. Experience with issue advocacy and working with a contact database strongly preferred. Bilingual Spanish/English a plus. Fundraising and administrative assistant experience a plus.

As an organization working in solidarity with the reproductive justice movement, Texas Equal Access Fund is committed to fostering the leadership and elevating the voices of women, young people, people of color, indigenous people, immigrant and refugees, low-income people, LGBQ+ and trans* people, people with disabilities, teenage parents, people who were formerly imprisoned, people who have received funding for abortions, and people living in the many intersections of these experiences. We strongly encourage people from these communities to apply.

Send resume, cover letter, and three references that speak to your grassroots organizing skills to teafund@teafund.org by March 31.

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We Will Remain

Today, our newsfeeds and timelines are delivering the message that our people are hurting. Our TEA Fund board members, our supporters, racial justice activists, and abortion rights advocates are scared, scarred, and uncertain about the future. The truth is, our past is not necessarily great, either. This past weekend, TEA Fund board members and staff had the deep honor to travel to Austin and be part of an Undoing Racism training with other Texas abortion funds, as well as organizations doing reproductive and racial justice work in Dallas and Houston. During this training, we talked about how white supremacy is baked into our system. It is the core organizing principle of the United States. And it will not be dismantled by waiting for the next election. We have to work every day in our community to dismantle the systems of oppression that have made it impossible for people to experience true racial, economic, and gender justice. 

We're still in our feelings today, but I wanted to make a promise to you that TEA Fund will continue to fund abortions and work to build power in our Texas community. Today we're being gentle with ourselves and each other; feelings are to be honored, and healing takes time. I myself am a white person, and I'm feeling my way through the need to recommit ourselves to work harder at ensuring that our work is anti-racist, and I want to extend all of my love and my solidarity with the people of color in our communities who continue to see white supremacy replicated in our systems and in relationships. I also want to honor the fear that is likely running through many people who can become pregnant today. Rhetoric about the need to punish people who have abortions during this election has been deeply damaging and emotionally traumatic for many in our community. To see that rhetoric win out is devastating. To see anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant rhetoric win out is devastating. To see people vote against healthcare access is devastating. We feel fear, as do you. 

But we also know that the only response is a recommitment to hope. The United States has never been a safe space for people of color, LGBT people, women, or immigrants. The work was going to be there no matter what. 

If you want to join us in putting pressure on our local systems to change, check out Repro Power Dallas. Sign your support, share with your friends, and email us at teafund@teafund.org to tell us how you'd like to support the effort to organize. If you want to escort at local abortion providers in Dallas/Fort Worth or answer calls to our funding hotline, fill out the form at teafund.org/volunteer

We will not stop funding abortions. We will not stop organizing for abortion access in Texas while discussing the ways in which racism, misogyny, transmisogyny and transphobia, homophobia, economic exploitation, and white supremacist patriarchy impact our communities. And we will take care of each other today and always. 

Below is a picture of the group from our Undoing Racism training this past weekend. This photo gives me life today, even as I sit with a deep sense of sadness. This group of abortion funders and reproductive justice and anti-racism activists from Texas give me hope. We're not going anywhere. 

In solidarity,

Nan Kirkpatrick

Executive Director, Texas Equal Access Fund 

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Texas abortion funds TEA Fund, Lilith Fund, Fund Texas Choice, Frontera Fund, Clinic Access Support Network, Bridge Collective, Shift., Jane's Due Process, and National Network of Abortion Funds with representatives from The Afiya Center, Dallas Action, and BLMHTX, along with Undoing Racism trainers from the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond

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Profiles in Equal Access: Kelsey

Most of the social work students who come to us to intern don't know anything about the Texas Equal Access Fund or the unnamed.jpgnumerous barriers to abortion access in Texas. It's amazing to watch them learn more about TEA Fund and then become staunch advocates for reproductive justice. We watched this happen with Kelsey, who was so moved by her time as an intern in the fall of 2015 that she then joined our board last January. 

When did you get involved with TEA Fund?

I became involved with TEA Fund as a graduate social work intern and loved it so much that I joined the board of directors after graduation.

What does TEA Fund mean to you?

At an individual level, TEA Fund became a place that helped me truly grow and expand my knowledge of reproductive health care in our country. My time as an intern was instrumental in helping me develop and foster a deeper understanding of reproductive justice and abortion access.

To me, TEA Fund means empowering individuals by trusting women with their bodies and protecting our freedom to autonomously make choices for our lives and ourselves.

What ways do you think TEA Fund benefits your community?

TEA Fund creates a much-needed space for women in Texas, especially with such a historically combative political climate regarding social justice issues. Though much of this work means helping individuals fund their abortions, TEA Fund also plays an extremely important role in supporting several macro-level social advocacy and policy efforts.

The community is the real gateway to constructing large-scale sustainable change, and in this respect, TEA Fund understands the intersections of abortion access and the myriad of social justice issues surrounding abortion access.

Why do you support TEA?

The coalition building and community-educating happening in North Texas is just awesome and so encouraging! It’s super exciting to be present in such a time of forward momentum and mobilization around reproductive justice!

If you could set one obtainable goal for your involvement in TEA, what would it be?

My goal is to attend more community events and to put the full-court-press on my colleagues and friends to come with me! Having two friends sign up as intake volunteers would be great!

If you want to get more involved in working for equal access to abortion and justice for people in North Texas, visit www.teafund.org/volunteer. And you can make this work possible with a gift of any size at www.teafund.org/donate

 

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Statement of Solidarity with the Trans Community Regarding Texas Lawsuit

Today, in a federal court in Texas, four states filed suit against the current Presidential administration regarding a rule change meant to improve health equity under the Affordable Care Act. The rule extended protections against discrimination in healthcare to people on the basis of sex, including based on pregnancy, gender identity, and sex stereotyping. Previously the protections were only extended based on race, color, national origin, disability, and age. These new protections were meant to protect, at least in part, trans people from discrimination in healthcare. The rule also expressly restricts discrimination against trans people by those participating in Medicaid and health plans provided through the exchange. 

Texas, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Nebraska filed suit to stop this rule, which they characterize as a redefinition of sex, because of claims that this rule will compel healthcare providers to provide care that goes against their religious beliefs. 

Until now, abortion is the only procedure that has ever been banned from Medicaid. And the lawsuit filed today mentions abortion and/or funding restrictions 55 times. They are using the existence of abortion funding bans to justify dismantling protections for trans people because abortion funding restrictions have already allowed for barriers to healthcare access for a group of people on the basis of some people's beliefs. When we talk about the intersections of gender justice for trans people and abortion funding and reproductive justice, this is exactly what we're talking about. 

TEA Fund is in solidarity with all people who experience diminished access to bodily autonomy at the hands of the our government. When one person's access to healthcare is denied because of their identity, it is an injustice to us all. True gender justice means protections for trans people and full access to healthcare; the same is true for the ability of people who can become pregnant being able to access a full range of reproductive options that includes abortion. These issues are inseparable; we can see that our opposition sees discrimination against pregnant people as a justification for discrimination against trans people. And these issues are inseparable for us as well, because we cannot consider justice won until there is healthcare coverage for all that includes care that supports everyone's gender identity as well as access to abortion. 

You can read the suit here

Thank you to our friends at Trans Pride Initiative in Dallas for bringing this to our attention. 

Our state continues to be a difficult place for trans and queer people, people of color, and anyone who might become pregnant while living in Texas. We believe in the right of all people to control their own bodies. We will continue in this work alongside our partners from all social justice movements until true freedom is won. 

In Solidarity,

Texas Equal Access Fund

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TEA Fund Organizer Kryston: "My goal is to constantly learn new ways to mobilize our movements."

By: Kryston Skinner, TEA Fund Organizer

Last weekend, thanks to support from Progress Texas, I was able to attend the Netroots Nation 2016 conference in St. Louis.  I’m back in Texas feeling inspired and ready to take action. We touched on many issues this week at Netroots, including Black Lives Matter and abortin access. It was amazing, heartbreaking and informative, sometimes all at once. 

As TEA Fund’s grassroots organizer, my goal is to constantly learn new ways to mobilize our movements. Luckily, Netroots offered multiple grassroots and organizing panels, my favorite being The Latest Civic Engagement: How Tech Can Supercharge Your Grassroots Operation. This panel offered an exploration of how traditional cornerstones of grassroots movements can be accomplished more quickly and effectively than ever before. They demonstrated the latest technologies in civic engagement and how those tools can help organizers collect powerful data that can then be used to drive growth, participation, fundraising and awareness while measuring the impact of our efforts. This panel was very informative. I feel like we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to organizing in our community around abortion in Texas and I will use these tools to make that a reality.

Of course, I was so excited to see the executive director of National Network of Abortion Funds, Yamani Hernandez, speaking alongside partners from All Above All and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. As an All Above All member organization and a member fund of NNAF, TEA Fund looks up to the amazing efforts of these organizations as we attempt to fund abortion and build power. I feel so honored to be in a movement with these powerful leaders. 

Out of all of the conferences I have attended outside of Texas, Netroots has had the most amazing panels around abortion and reproductive justice. I was so happy to see a talk led by Sasha Bruce with NARAL highlighting that the 2016 Democratic platform is most progressive yet when it comes to abortion and reproductive freedom. It mentions the word abortion, tackles that abortion access is a privilege, and how candidates in the past did not address low income women or women of color, which is a major concern for our organization. She discussed how not talking about abortion in code is revolutionary. I left this panel feeling reconnected to the movement and reproductive justice. Sasha offered some great insight on the upcoming election and how abortion is and should be one of the main talking points.

Intersectionality is at the center of our movement, which is why I attended From Selma to Ferguson: Voting Rights in the Digital Age. The panelists looked at the discriminatory voter suppression laws nationwide, what’s being done to fight back, and what it means to fight for voting rights in the age of the Black Lives Matter Movement. They discussed both defensive strategies that protect voters and offensive strategies that seek to secure the right to vote and increase voter turnout. This important intersectional lens for reproductive justice makes us focus on strategic communications and how to push back against harmful narratives that support voter suppression in communities of color.

This conference was truly enlightening and insightful, it gave me the opportunity to surround myself with thousands of bloggers, newsmakers, social justice advocates, and grassroots organizers and activists from across the country. Thank you Netroots Nation and Progress Texas!

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TEA Fund Statement on SCOTUS Decision in WWH v. Hellerstedt

TEXAS – Today the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision in the Texas abortion case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, striking down the law known to many as HB2 and making it possible for clinics to remain open around the state. In a 5 -3 decision, the Court upheld that the law placed an undue burden on people in Texas seeking to access abortion.  

“Today is a victory for justice in Texas,” said Nan Little Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Texas Equal Access Fund in Dallas. “We are extremely relieved that the Court has decided to strike down this devastating law that closed so many of our state’s abortion clinics. These laws have already done so much damage and impacted the lives of thousands of people in Texas trying to exercise their right to an abortion.”

Texas Equal Access Fund, or TEA Fund, is the abortion fund that has been serving the northern half of Texas since 2005, providing financial assistance to people seeking abortion in this region who otherwise could not afford it. Prior to HB2, they funded people going to clinics in Lubbock, San Angelo, Midland, and Waco, all of which closed in response to the law. Now, a person in Lubbock has to drive 300 or more miles to access abortion, which places an even greater financial strain on people already struggling to afford the procedure. TEA Fund clients were interviewed for the amicus brief prepared for the case by the National Network of Abortion funds, and these stories illustrate why this case means so much for abortion access.

“We hope clinics in the Panhandle and other underserved regions of Texas are able to reopen in response to this decision. However, while we are happy with this particular ruling, the fight for abortion access in Texas is far from over. TEA Fund fights for the removal of a federal ban on abortion coverage for low-income people and countless state laws that make accessing an abortion more difficult. We will not rest until all people can access abortion, regardless of economic circumstance.” 

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Donald Trump says we should punish for abortion – but we already do

By: Nan Little Kirkpatrick, TEA Fund Executive Director

On Wednesday, Donald Trump – a candidate for the GOP nomination for the 2016 presidential race – said that “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions. As the executive director of the Texas Equal Access Fund, an abortion fund providing assistance to low-income people in North Texas seeking access to abortion, I found this statement appalling. I also know that it illustrates an underlying driving force behind anti-choice ideology: misogyny. The idea that women ought to be punished for having sex or for choosing an alternative path to what society has conceived of as traditional gender roles is nothing new. It’s just very rare that anyone says it so brazenly.

But that’s what people say they love about Trump. He says what other people are thinking.

As I considered Trump’s statement, I thought about how women and pregnant people in Texas are already being punished for choosing abortion. I thought about a young woman living in poverty in Lubbock, Texas, 300 miles from the nearest provider. I thought about how that woman is going to have to scrape together not only the money to help cover her abortion procedure, but also funding for gas, childcare, and lodging. I thought about the Hyde Amendment, which is a ban on federal insurance coverage for abortion. This is punishment for low- and no-income people who find themselves facing an unwanted pregnancy and want to choose abortion. Abortion is the only procedure that’s ever been banned from Medicaid. Is this not a punishment? It’s certainly discriminatory toward those who rely on public assistance for healthcare. In Dallas County alone there are over 52,000 women of reproductive age who rely on federal insurance, and this number doesn’t count the veterans, active duty service members, and federal employees who also rely on federal insurance for their healthcare. How is it not punitive to bar these people from exercising complete bodily autonomy and full access to all reproductive healthcare options including abortion?

When TEA Fund participated in the preparation of the amicus brief presented by the National Network of Abortion Funds for the Texas abortion case that’s before the Supreme Court, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, we gathered client stories to really illustrate the ways in which women are already being punished for choosing abortion. One of our clients, Tiffany, told the story of traveling three hours roundtrip to Dallas for an abortion that cost $1,700. Even though she found out she was pregnant at 11 weeks’ gestation, it took time to save the money for her procedure, pushing her to the 18-week mark before she was able to put together all the pieces required to obtain a 15-minute outpatient procedure. She had to arrange travel and lodging, save what money she could, and then gather funding from organizations like TEA Fund in order to access abortion. How is this not punishment for choosing abortion?

Donald Trump never spelled out precisely what he would consider an apt punishment for choosing abortion, but if he looked he would see the ways in which we’re already punishing people for choosing abortion, even as for some the consequences for continuing an unwanted pregnancy can be dire. When will we move past wanting to punish women for attempting to fully participate in society on their own terms and understand that access to abortion as a part of a full spectrum of reproductive healthcare is an essential human right? 

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Won’t Back Down! A Brief History of the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers

When the Refuse & Resist! Reproductive Freedom Taskforce organized the first National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers twenty years ago in fall 1996, clinics and clinic staff were under constant physical attack. Two doctors and a clinic escort had been murdered; clinics were being blockaded, invaded, and bombed; doctors had their homes protested and their children followed to school; and some doctors were even being targeted by law enforcement for prosecution. Just going to work in the morning meant crossing a picket line and being called vile names, or worse being told that they know where you live. Unlisted phone numbers, and in Massachusettes where I lived at the time unlisted license plates, were necessary security precautions. Judicially, the Webster and Casey Supreme Court decisions in 1989 and 1992 had chipped away at the constitutional protections granted by Roe v. Wade. Many had thought that having a democrat in the White House would result in a more favorable climate for abortion after twelve years of a republican presidency, but instead violent attacks on clinics had only escalated. In this context, a small group of activists who themselves had been on the front lines of the abortion battle determined that it was essential to launch a campaign of public support. Declaring “Abortion providers are heroes for saving women’s lives!” the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers was created with two aims: 1) to hearten providers with positive public support and 2) to strengthen the movement by forging stronger links between activists and providers.

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The Texas Abortion Access Case Goes to Washington

Tomorrow the big case, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, goes before the Supreme Court of the United States. At stake is access_abortion.pngabortion access for hundreds of thousands of Texans and millions of people across the country living in states that will surely enact similar laws if HB2 is upheld. Many of the people who are most under threat are the same people who call our abortion access hotline every week seeking assistance paying for abortions they cannot afford. We have seen first-hand the impacts of HB2, and it only stands to get worse if SCOTUS decides to allow the entire law to go into effect. 

Tomorrow the legal team representing Whole Woman's Health will argue the case for abortion access. And then we wait. We will wait until most likely June to hear a decision. During that time, places like Lubbock, Texas will continue to have no abortion provider, forcing the people living in that community to either carry a pregnancy to term against their best judgment, or forcing them to drive hundreds of miles to receive care. You've probably heard that story hundreds of times now if you've been keeping up. But when I hear that story, I think of a very specific person, and this specific person's story is why I continue to fight for abortion access for all.

A young woman in Lubbock, Texas had an appointment for an abortion. She would need to travel 300 miles to Fort Worth for an appointment. She had funding to help with the procedure, but she missed her appointment -- she didn't have gas money to get from Lubbock to Fort Worth. It would be two weeks before she could get another appointment at the same clinic, which sent her scrambling to try to get a sooner appointment at a different DFW clinic while trying to figure out how she was going to get there. And for people without resources in small Texas communities, communication can be an issue; work schedules can make it difficult to pick up the phone when the agency trying to provide care calls to get more details and find solutions to problems, and sharing phones amongst family members or losing access to a phone can further complicate the issue.

Have you ever had to work that hard to gain access to healthcare? 

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A client sent us a note the other day. "TEAF is definitely a necessary organization because everyone has different situations and there's good to know we as women have options." When you think about your own life, you know the power of having options. But what if, due to geography, lack of access to education or economic opportunity, and laws that disproportionately impact low-income communities of color and rural communities, you didn't have options? That's what HB2 has done to Texas. It's not the only law working against our clients; we believe there won't be full abortion access for everyone until bans on federal funding for abortion are removed. But striking down HB2 will be a great step toward justice. 

When we wake up on Thursday, the fate of Texans and their access to abortion will still be hanging in the balance. We hope that you will remember that every day we will be here fighting so that people can have options, because self-determination is the cornerstone of justice. 

And we look forward to June with hope that justice will prevail. 

Best, 

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Nan Little Kirkpatrick

Executive Director

Texas Equal Access Fund

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Today is the Day to Reclaim Roe

Today is the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. It is a day to think about the right to bodily autonomy and the right of people to make decisions for themselves and their families. It is a day to remember the decision that made abortion a legal right in the United States. 

But it is also a day to reflect on the myriad ways that right has been eroded. It is a day to not only reflect on how access to abortion is a gender justice issue, but an economic and racial justice issue, too. It's a day to reflect on lack of access to birth control, whether because of decisions like Hobby Lobby or lack of resources to purchase birth control or lack of access to factual and straightforward information. It's a day to think about how economics impact family planning at every turn, from being the deciding factor in why many of those seeking abortion choose to do so, to making it hard to access birth control, to blocking people's ability to choose abortion. 

Today is the day to reclaim Roe. 

Today is the day to stop being afraid and speak up in favor of access to safe and legal abortion. Today is the day to stand with marginalized communities that are hardest hit by restrictions on access -- communities of color, young people, people living in rural communities, and immigrants. Today is the day to stand with all families facing a variety of struggles that impede the ability to live in safety and have access to opportunity. 

Today is the day to reclaim Roe. 

At Texas Equal Access Fund, we've seen the direct results of restrictions on federal funding for abortion, lack of access to health insurance, and the laws that closed so many of the clinics here in our state. We know first hand about people who didn't have gas money to get from Lubbock to Fort Worth for an abortion; we know about people who've had to sell valuable possessions to pay or their procedure. We've spoken to people who were likely forced by lack of access to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, further entrenching them in the cycle of poverty and violating their human rights to bodily autonomy and personal decision making. We hope that you will help us reclaim Roe because we want to live in a world where everyone has the access that makes choice possible.  

Today is the day that we, together, reclaim Roe. 

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Fall 2015 Intern Kelsey on What She Learned at TEA Fund

Feminist: check. Self-proclaimed girl boss: check. Pro-Choice: well, of course! Right?

When I sat down for my initial interview with the Executive Director of the Texas Equal Access Fund, I felt grossly unprepared. My shoes were uncomfortable, I had already spilt coffee on my white sweater, and I was trying to remember if I had waited the standard two days between washing my hair or maybe I had waited too long? However, because I was a “good” potential intern, I had done the required amount of pre-interview research and I was well-versed in the mission and goals of the TEA Fund, but in all honestly, other than being a young professional babe who believes in other babes, I literally knew nothing about the political climate in Texas surrounding reproductive healthcare (other than it sucks if you’re not a rich, old, white dude) or the restrictive and oppressive barriers women face daily in this great state. Color me privileged.

What I learned in the following four months would be invaluable to my education. As I reflect now, I remember answering questions and feeling removed from what it really means to be reproductive justice advocate; however, now that I think about it, I remember a formative experience during my freshman year of college, I remember three friends and I had a mason jar stashed in a dorm room drawer with an impressive 324 dollars in cash. It was an ongoing joke, but more importantly a pact of sisterhood that secretly and quietly meant, that if any of use needed to pay for an abortion without telling our parents, we could make it happen. Fast forward to junior year. One of my friends would make the four-hour trip to Dallas from Oklahoma for an abortion.

What I remember most about her to this day, was her determination, and her relentless struggle to make it out of Holdenville, Oklahoma where she had gone through some rough family times, been a valedictorian, and been the first in her family to graduate high school and attend college. The sadness and fear in her eyes were haunting and if I were to close my eyes in this present moment, I can still feel the pit in my stomach I felt for her and how scared I was that she would have returned to this cyclical life she had worked so hard to overcome.

Fast forward one last time, and I’m a graduate in three weeks. Meaning, I will have successfully jumped through enough bureaucratic hoops, researched enough, written enough papers, and procrastinated enough on each tasks to have earned a Masters degree in Social Work. I say this to bring attention to my time at TEA Fund and to highlight the breath of fresh air that my time spent here has provided. What I have learned in the past four months has ended up being the cornerstone of my social work education. I learned what it means to part of a multi-faceted team of extraordinary individuals and what it means to put all of these high-brow, highly-politicized thoughts about social justice into action.

As proud ambassador of a generation often characterized by complacent action and being best motivated only when behind our respective screens, I’m proud of the work accomplished by the TEA Fund and the small part I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of.  I’ve learned about social advocacy and how small measures of success may mean meeting with county commissioners, speaking to donors about new and progressive advocacy efforts, and what it means to be an empowered woman in a climate that tries pretty hard to keep us down.

And I learned how to apply a reproductive justice framework to my work in the field as a practitioner.

 

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Texas will have our day in court!

Today we learned that the Supreme Court of the United States will review portions of HB2, the omnibus abortion legislation that devastated abortion access in Texas when it was passed in 2013. This means that today we have a little bit more hope about what tomorrow might hold for the right and ability of all people in Texas to access their rights to bodily autonomy, economic opportunity, and healthcare. 

Because abortion is a part of all of these. 

At TEA Fund, we see firsthand the impact that the law has had on people across Texas. We used to work with clinics in San Angelo, Lubbock, Midland, and Waco; these are all gone now, and we hear from people who not only need assistance paying for an abortion, but who also express a need for gas money or a place to stay when they travel the 300+ miles to their abortion. We've heard from people who planned on sleeping in their cars outside of clinics, even with assistance. We believe that no one should have to go to such measures to access healthcare -- and abortion IS healthcare. We also believe that it is fundamentally unjust that some people in our state have been cut off from a procedure that is their right simply because of their zip code or how much money they make. For a person living in Houston, access to an abortion looks dramatically different than it does for someone in Abilene. Is this justice? We think not. 

And now there is a chance that the Court will decide that they do not believe this to be justice, either. We are nervous, of course. So much is riding on the outcome of this case. And for the people who come to us for assistance, there will still be struggles no matter what the Court decides. Economic injustice has long been dividing who can and who cannot access abortion. However, today we celebrate the hope that continues to live within us as long as there is even a chance that we might get justice for the Texans who can become pregnant and people who might become pregnant across the United States. 

Thank you to Whole Woman's Health and the Center for Reproductive Rights for taking the case to the Court, and thank you to National Network of Abortion Funds, National Abortion Federation, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and all of the other organizations preparing briefs and gearing up for a continued fight. 

And now...on to SCOTUS! 

 

 

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TEA Fund is HIRING a Grassroots Organizer!

Organization: Texas Equal Access Fund

Title: Grassroots Organizer

Job Status: Exempt, Regular, Full Time

The Grassroots Organizer has lead responsibility for building a network of activists and volunteer leaders for the organization. The Grassroots Organizer is responsible for recruiting new supporters, engaging activists, and developing volunteer leaders who identify with the reproductive justice movement and support the Texas Equal Access Fund’s mission. The Grassroots Organizer also leads execution of grassroots outreach and advocacy plans to further the programmatic goals of the organization and our larger network.

Major Responsibilities

  1. Implement organizational outreach and organizing plans
  2. Coordinate volunteers to support programmatic and advocacy goals
  3. Ensure organizational base building goals are met
  4. Develop and execute grassroots strategies to further the programmatic goals of TEA Fund
  5. Maintain outreach contacts in the organizational database and utilize systems to track and evaluate progress toward our base building goals
  6. Participate in organizational fundraising
  7. Execute administrative duties as assigned
  8. Collaborate with the executive director and the board

Qualifications

Be able to work from home, but must live in the North Texas region. Access to a computer and internet. Outstanding people skills and capacity to work effectively in teams of diverse people. Organizing experience a plus, including campus, community, or canvassing organizing. College degree not required. Ability to work independently and take initiative. Irregular hours, including evening and weekend work, and frequent local and statewide travel often required. Commitment to progressive values and social change. Experience with issue advocacy and working with a contact database strongly preferred. Bilingual Spanish/English a plus. Fundraising and administrative assistant experience a plus.

As an organization working in solidarity with the reproductive justice movement, Texas Equal Access Fund is committed to fostering the leadership and elevating the voices of women, young people, people of color, Native people, immigrant and refugees, low-income people, LGBQ+ and trans* people, people with disabilities, teenage parents, people who were formerly imprisoned, people who have received funding for abortions, and people living in the many intersections of these experiences. We strongly encourage people from these communities to apply.

Send resume, cover letter, and three references that speak to your grassroots organizing skills to teafund@teafund.org by November 30th.

 

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Support the EACH Woman Act!

Sign your support for the historic EACH Woman Act!  

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We Need More than Roe

We Need More Than Roe

Tomorrow is the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. But year after year, as we celebrate that important moment in reproductive rights history, we need to also consider all the ways in which we are so very far from winning a true right to an abortion. This week the new Congress is pushing a national 20 week abortion ban -- and they've worked their way up to that proposal with decades of incremental changes at the state level. In fact there already is a 20 week ban here in Texas, enacted in 2013 as part of the HB2 legislation. But beyond laws like 20 week bans, there are other restrictions that tend to get much less attention because their impacts fall only on the poor, people of color, immigrants, and people in rural areas. When we focus on Roe, we lose sight of just how many people haven't really ever had a choice because it's not enough for abortion to be legal. We also need for it to be accessible. And what does that mean?

Few people know about the Hyde Amendment. This rider on the budget has been in place since 1976. It's author, Henry Hyde, said plainly that he truly wished he could make it impossible for any woman to obtain an abortion, but barring that he would use Medicaid to restrict access for poor women. Immediately the right to an abortion for so many was cut short; the Hyde Amendment prevents the use of Medicaid funds to pay for abortions. In fact, abortion is the only procedure that's ever been banned from Medicaid. But this impacts people whom are often forgotten, even by a mainstream feminist movement that purports to support equality for all. 

Beyond Hyde, we have to look at economic factors that might cause people to seek abortions when they might otherwise choose to parent. We want abortion to always be an option; we will never live in a world without a desire for abortion access. But some people report seeking abortions because they cannot afford to parent. They may already have at least one child at home to care for, and they may be making tough decisions every single month about how to stretch the family dollar. Around the anniversary of Roe, we're reminded of just how the entire concept of reproductive choice is a falsehood when people cannot choose to parent due to economic circumstance. Not only do we want to see abortion accessible and affordable for everyone, but we want to see economic equity such that those who wish to parent can do so when they decide it is right for them. 

And what about people in prison who cannot properly access adequate pre-natal care or abortion? Or people who live in parts of Texas far away from abortion providers? 

These may feel like scattered thoughts on a page without a thread to hold them together. But reproductive freedom means so much more than Roe. This week, as we look back, let's look forward, too. Take a step to fight for a change that will secure abortion access for everyone. Make a donation to the Texas Equal Access Fund to help someone who would not otherwise be able to afford their abortion, or become an RJ Hero as a sustaining donor. Take action and demand justice by signing this letter to the President asking that he present a Hyde-free budget to Congress. Write a letter or make a phone call to your own congressperson asking that they consider fighting to have the Hyde Amendment removed from the budget. Many are probably not even aware of or thinking about Hyde; plant that seed so that some day we might see it's removal. Find out more about how equitable criminal justice starts in the womb and how you can help put pressure on the Texas criminal justice system to provide proper care for pregnant inmates. Learn more through Nuestro Texas about the fight for abortion access and barriers faced in the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas. And these are just some places to get started. There are so many ways that you can show up in your community for reproductive justice. So on this anniversary of Roe, will you? 

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