Lilith Fund board member Suzanne testified at the July 8, 2013 hearing in the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Senate Bill 1 – that’s the name the Senate version of the anti-abortion omnibus bill has taken on during the second special session. Read Suzanne’s take on the bill below:
I am here to represent myself and as a volunteer with the Lilith Fund. I am speaking in opposition to Senate Bill 1. Thank you for the opportunity to testify.
Lilith Fund is a local abortion access fund that helps women afford abortion. We believe the right to abortion is meaningless without access.
Last week I volunteered for a shift on our hotline. On one day alone we received 27 phone calls from Texans that wanted and needed abortions but could not afford access. The callers ranged in their reasons – some experienced rape, domestic violence, and incest. One discussed the death of her partner and that continuing with the pregnancy was too much. One was from a young girl 14 years old, facing a major life decision. All the callers were thinking of what’s best for themselves and their family.
I couldn’t help all of those callers, which is difficult, but I am terrified of the outcome of SB 1 and what I will tell callers when there is no abortion access in Texas.
Research from the World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute show similar abortion rates in countries where abortion is legal and illegal. Abortion restrictions do not reduce the abortion rate. Instead, where “abortion is permitted on broad legal grounds, it is generally safe, and where it is highly restricted, it is typically unsafe.”
So when we’re talking about SB1 we’re talking about a vote in favor of restrictions that will shut down abortion access in Texas and lead to unsafe abortions and death, of actual people. If SB 1 passes we will see an increase in back-alley abortions, self-abortions, and deaths among women seeking abortion.
As a volunteer with Lilith Fund I speak with people needing help accessing abortion. I hear stories, I talk, I listen. And I’ve heard a lot of folks in this building talk about abortion without talking or listening to those stories; in fact, y’all shut down testimony without hearing from thousands.
Women who have an abortion do not do so lightly. I listen to good people facing an unwanted pregnancy and making hard decisions that are best for themselves.
The 27 people I talked to last week, I believe in their hopes and dreams and that they know what’s best for themselves. Don’t legislate private decisions; leave those to individuals, families, and doctors. They know what’s best, you do not.
With this in mind, I urge you to stop the advancement of Senate Bill 1 immediately.
Source: Guttmacher Institute, “Facts on Induced Abortion Worldwide” January 2012. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_IAW.html.