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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Executive Director, Texas Equal Access Fund
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
Most of the social work students who come to us to intern don't know anything about the Texas Equal Access Fund or the numerous 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.
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.
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.
Texas Equal Access Fund
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!
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.”
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?
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.
Tomorrow the big case, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, goes before the Supreme Court of the United States. At stake is abortion 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?
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.
Nan Little Kirkpatrick
Texas Equal Access Fund
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.
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.
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!
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.
- Implement organizational outreach and organizing plans
- Coordinate volunteers to support programmatic and advocacy goals
- Ensure organizational base building goals are met
- Develop and execute grassroots strategies to further the programmatic goals of TEA Fund
- Maintain outreach contacts in the organizational database and utilize systems to track and evaluate progress toward our base building goals
- Participate in organizational fundraising
- Execute administrative duties as assigned
- Collaborate with the executive director and the board
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 email@example.com by November 30th.
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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?