After a court decision last month, some charity organizations that support abortion have resumed paying for Texans to get abortions outside of the state.
After Roe v. Wade was overturned, these organizations—known as abortion funds—ceased funding abortion procedures and funding trips to out-of-state clinics, citing uncertainty and a fear of breaking Texas’ tightening abortion laws.
The infrastructure that allowed Texans to travel out of state for care virtually disappeared, along with all of the abortion clinics in Texas. According to Denise Rodriguez, the Texas Equal Access Fund’s director of communications, many of the people these organizations assist probably couldn’t afford to leave the country without their financial assistance.
“When we found out we had to pause funding, that was something that was really heartbreaking for everybody on our team,” Rodriguez said. “Now that we’re able to start funding abortions again, that’s what this organization was started for, so everybody is just excited.”
Texas residents can receive vouchers from the Dallas-based TEA Fund to lower the cost of abortions at out-of-state facilities. When their hotline reopens on Monday, Rodriguez said they would have enough funding to help anyone who calls between then and June 24, the day Roe v. Wade was overturned, one year later.
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Fund Texas Choice, a statewide organization that helps with travel costs, announced on Twitter that they had reopened their hotline and are once again providing only limited practical assistance.
According to a spokesman, the Austin-based Lilith Fund has reopened its hotline and once again provides financing for abortions performed outside of the state.
Some more organizations are getting ready to restart their financing sources. This surge of activity follows the interim injunction given by a federal judge in February, which forbade a few county prosecutors from bringing charges against anyone who aids a Texan in obtaining an abortion outside of Texas.
Although the decision is not statewide enforceable, it has given certain groups enough peace of mind to restart operations.
“All of it is so uncertain, but we’re going to fund abortions until we’re forced to stop,” Rodriguez said.
Abortion opponents have long threatened legal action against organizations that assist Texas in leaving the state for abortions, including state representative Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park. Cain wrote cease-and-desist letters to the funds in March last year, informing them that they and their donors were breaking the law.
“These are criminal organizations,” Cain wrote. “It is a crime to pay for another person’s abortion in Texas, and anyone who gives money to these abortion funds will be prosecuted.”
Mark Lee Dickson, an opponent of abortion, tweeted back as abortion funds announced their new plans and welcomed the latest court decision, cautioning them about possible legal repercussions under “sanctuary city for the unborn” regulations.
Texas Equal Access Fund tweeted Can y’all donate in his honor? You can see below:
Hey y’all, this is our biggest fan. Can y’all make a donation in his honor? https://t.co/5rYtXI0GjJ https://t.co/Wi5gmFIM96
— Texas Equal Access Fund (@TEAFund) March 24, 2023
These laws, which Dickson has assisted in passing in more than 50 communities around the country, outlaw abortion inside municipal bounds and, in some cases, even assist a resident outside of city limits. There hasn’t been a legal challenge to these laws. In response to Dickson’s post, The TEA Fund urged their followers to give in his honor.