Denise Rodriguez, communication manager for Texas Equal Access (Tea) Fund , an abortion fund providing financial support to low-income people in North Texas, said the organization was in the midst of conversations with legal counsel about the best way to protect yourself - but that was nothing new. As cities in Texas have passed local ordinances banning abortion over the past year, abortion funds have been explicitly named "criminal entities.
" They were talking about us as if we were criminals ", asaid Rodriguez. “They treat us like we are criminals. SB8 just means that now they can do more for us. We haven't been chased yet, but we will cross this bridge when we get there.
Rodriguez said the social worker for the group that provides clinical support to patients noticed that in the four months between the passage of SB8 and its entry into force, many of the patients she supported in the clinics already thought they were in this clinic illegally.
"They thought they were doing something something illegal just to be there, "Rodriguez said. “There is a lot of bad information. There are a lot of people who are confused, who don't know what's going on, who are worried. "
The law also cut the Tea Fund off from people who might need help. Rodriguez says most of the fund's clients are referred from clinics - and learn of the existence of abortion funds after making an appointment for their procedure. With fewer people able to access abortion care, they hear from fewer people - people they could potentially refer to out-of-state services.
"Fewer people are reaching out not because their needs are now being met, but because appointments are not even available," she said. "People don't know there are funds for abortion, so they give up and pursue a pregnancy they don't want to continue.
Customers who make f In their way to them, they are largely aware that they will have to get out ofstate for abortion care. This means that the Tea Fund is not just trying to fund procedures, but also connect clients with hands-on support organizations that can help them access travel, accommodation, and meals. (These additional financial burdens associated with accessing abortion care are typically funded or provided by supporting organizations, while abortion funds help cover the cost of the procedure itself, the 'money they spend going directly to clinics as direct payment for care.)
The Tea Fund also operates a virtual clinic support program, allowing anyone seeking abortion care to text and connect with someone who can provide emotional support. Whereas previously the program was often used by people who were victims of domestic violence,the virtual companion program now serves a wider population. More Texans fear that they can openly discuss access to even the type of abortion care that is still legal in Texas, and need support when they are forced to travel out of state to care they can no longer legally access at home.
"A lot of our work right now is helping people pay for abortions, but a big part also is just being there to chat with them and letting them know they're OK, "Rodriguez said.
The Post-SB8 was a time full of "organizational challenges, " said Ward, of the Lilith Fund. The group was now figuring out how not to divert their much-needed time and attention from the service. to clients as they navigate the current legal landscape.was needed more than ever, she said, with fund appealers expressing a "heightened sense of urgency " and an even greater need for financial support as most prepare to travel out of the country. 'State.
Of those she has spoken to who are still within the legal six-week gestational age limit for abortion care , Ward says The only goal of these Texans is to access abortion procedures before the legal deadline.