A few days ago, I wrote about what ending MAP means for Texas women. Unfortunately, I am writing to provide you an update on the Central Health board’s decision. In an unanimous decision, the Travis County Central Health Board has decided to end first trimester abortion funding under the MAP program for Austin women starting September 12, 2011.
I am outraged by the Central Health board decision, and I know what the impact will be for Austin women. I am most bothered by the fact that it was not clear to the board that they would lose any money over deciding to continue to fund abortion. They had the opportunity to try to research the issue, and vote on it at meetings later this month or next month. Instead of waiting for all the facts, the Travis County Central Health board decided that it was easier to just roll over and throw Austin women under the bus, instead of listening to all the facts, or standing up to fight for the women they serve.
I know what impact this decision will have on Austin women. The average cost of a first trimester abortion is Austin is $450. That amount is nearly impossible for a woman to come up with, when she is living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to put food on the table for her children, scrounging to pay rent, and going without so that her kids can get by.
Currently, the Lilith Fund–we raise money to help women who can’t afford abortion obtain one–hotline is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We have a dedicated army of hotline volunteers who take the calls each day we’re open. We receive between 30 and 50 requests for funding. Our volunteers have the discretion to decide how to divide up the funds each day, and how much to give the callers. It’s a tough job, and that job is just going to get tougher.
There are a few things that you can do to make a difference to counteract this horrible decision.
- Consider becoming a hotline volunteer. It’s a tough job, but it’s also hugely rewarding. Women tell you their stories, and they thank you profusely for the $20, $50 or $100 grant that the Lilith Fund provides. Changing women’s lives one phone call at a time is truly rewarding.
- Donate to your local abortion fund. The Lilith Fund is not the only abortion fund in Texas, but we are the only one that serves multiple clinics the Austin area. We share Texas with the Texas Equal Access Fund, and a few smaller clinic based funds. Consider donating to the Lilith Fund or the Texas Equal Access Fund.
- If you live in Austin, call the members of the Central Health Board and tell them how angry and outraged you are by their decision. You can find their information here.
The Lilith Fund, Texas Equal Access Fund and other abortion funds will continue to fight for the women that we serve. I’ll keep you posted with any new developments, if there are any. And, of course, on what the impact is after the implementation date of September 12, 2011.