Being situated at the corner of the US/Mexico Border and New Mexico state line, we embrace the fact that migration and diversity are an integral piece of west Texas culture. When the West Fund was first created in response to the ill-informed, anti-abortion policies of the Texas legislature in 2013, it was natural for us to fund patients of various backgrounds, races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, gender identities, sexual orientations and immigration statuses. Because of who we serve, we feel compelled to speak up for our callers and against the current anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and anti-inclusive policies at every level of government.
We believe all people deserve social, economic, and political power, and access to resources in order to make healthy decisions. The people of El Paso County, especially in our rural communities, deserve access to safe, timely, and affordable health care, including reproductive health care such as abortion, and regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability, immigration status, income, national origin, and veteran status. We wholeheartedly oppose tiering the value of human life and the conscious and subconscious idea that some people deserve more than others less because of where they were born. Abortion without borders includes borders in the literal and metaphorical sense of socially constructed borders that are free from shame and stigma.
The West Fund also strongly cares about the future development of El Paso and the Border as an inclusive community in matters indirectly related to abortion, such as inclusivity, safety, law enforcement, youth advocacy, immigration rights, and economic development. Accordingly, please find a more detailed explanation of our goals for the future of El Paso and the Border within the West Fund Policy Recommendations listed on the below. We look forward to future success in achieving our policy recommendation goals for the improvement of El Paso and the Border.
Inclusivity and Safety
The City and County of El Paso should enforce, by sanction, their nondiscrimination policies in compliance with Title XII for city and county employees to include gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability, and veteran status. This includes:
- Actively recruiting LGBTQ employees, or conducting LGBTQ-inclusive diversity training, or initiating an LGBTQ employee affinity group.
- Ensuring equivalent benefits and protections to LGBTQ employees, and by awarding contracts to businesses and municipalities who commit themselves to treating LGBTQ employees equally.
- Ensure accessibility for employees of all abilities, including brail, infrastructure, ramps, elevators.
All officers with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department should have to undergo psychological evaluation and cultural competency training. Including:
- All new hires should be subject to complete psychological evaluation to interpret an officer’s attitudes and biases concerning people of different cultural, linguistic, national, religious, and ethnic backgrounds, people of different gender identity and sexual orientations and people of different mental and physical abilities.
- All officers should receive routine psychological evaluations to promote mental health; additionally, mental health should be a priority for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department — including increased mental health initiatives and funding.
- All officers should receive periodic cultural competence training before assuming regular duty.
- The Sheriff’s Department should cease holding people on ICE detainers and inquiring about the immigration status of anyone they encounter.
- El Paso County should provide “Know Your Rights” information to undocumented people who are arrested.
All El Paso County residents should have access to family planning, prenatal care, and other basic health care services regardless of financial or immigration status. Undocumented immigrants should be able to access health care without fear of their status being reported to the authorities. This includes:
- Making free or low-cost health care services available to all who cannot access insurance through the federal health exchange, Medicaid or other means, including undocumented immigrants.
- Ensure language accessibility for all within healthcare facilities.
El Paso is an amazing city with rich history and cultural diversity. All backgrounds must be respected. This includes:
- City and County measures to ensure governmental expenditures made for celebratory events and holidays includes all religions, spiritualties, and faiths.
- City and County support of the right of everyone to believe or not believe, but understanding no one’s religion should be an excuse harm or discriminate against others.
- The City and County should support economic development, but not at the expense of marginalized community members, cultures and histories. Displacing art, persons, and historical buildings and locals should not be a practice of the city or county. Culture and historic preservation over profit and commercialism should be the priority; we must recognize the disproportionate burden some community members may face.
- The City and County must pass a resolution in opposition to the proposed border wall, and support the DREAM Act, DACA recipients and all undocumented immigrants. A border wall that would marginalize immigrant community members would further separate us from our sister city, Juarez and destroy natural and social ecosystems.
- Adopting municipal ID’s to as a way for those unable to obtain a driver’s license or other state-issued identification to sign up for bank accounts and access city services. For example, in some cities, municipal ID’s serve as a library card and debit card at local stores and for city parking meters (New Haven); provides discounts on entry to city attractions (San Francisco); serves as a full-use debit card (Oakland); offers free membership to cultural institutions (New York); and offer discounts on prescription drugs and be used for public transit (Los Angeles).
- The City and County should support the demilitarization of the police and border patrol to stand against policies like SB4, gerrymandering and any other instances of racial discrimination.
- Provide accessibility needs and accommodate for residents of all abilities, including brail, infrastructure, ramps, elevators, and translation needs.
- The City and County must make every effort to be transparent and exercise competent governance with the fullest consideration of all its residents.
Youth Advocacy and Healthy Families
All El Paso school districts should provide evidence-based sex education from middle school through high school. Education and outreach must be conducted in English and Spanish. This includes:
- Tailored, age-appropriate sex education for middle and high school students that is inclusive of all sexualities.
- Advocating for healthy relationships, and self-expression by using a gender neutral dress code. This would define suitable clothing — no matter the gender of the clothing wearer — as clothing that covers the chest, torso, and undergarments. Of course, if students have to change their clothes, it should be handled in the least restrictive and disruptive manner as to not publicly shame our youth.
- Outreach and education for students’ parents, grandparents and/or guardians on having shame and stigma-free conversations on sex education and sexuality education.
- Young people should have access to contraception and access to resources on healthy relationships and mental health.
- Providing excused absences and medical leave (protected under Title IX), childcare, breastfeeding and pumping rooms, staff training on providing nonjudgmental support, and information about resources for young families.
El Paso is an underserved community that faces unique challenges. As a way to ensure equal access to education and economic opportunity for all El Paso families, and to best suit our community needs:
- El Paso school districts must oppose district charters or district campus charters.
- The City and County must oppose private school vouchers because they divert public
funds from public schools, which are already underfunded. Vouchers lack accountability and oversight. They allow private schools to pick and choose students, which is the opposite of inclusivity.
- Deceptive advertising by crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) should not be allowed in El Paso. The County of El Paso should support a countywide CPC awareness campaign about their deceptive practices in order to keep them from manipulating pregnant people. Crisis pregnancy centers use deception to prevent clients from having an abortion by fraudulently representing themselves as health care facilities and/or abortion providers, while providing no medical services.
- El Paso school districts should adopt restorative justice policies to shift the focus of discipline from punishment to learning. A restorative justice approach allows for all parties involved in an incident to engage in productive dialogue and has been proven to reduce conflict.
- To ensure economic prosperity, the city of El Paso should support a living wage and increase the minimum wage for all city employees. A universal basic income and the redistribution of wealth would ensure the economic opportunity for all El Pasoans.
- To ensure healthy families, the city and county should pass a resolution recognizing climate change and the impact of fossil fuels. As a means of combating climate change, the city and county must support the use of renewable energy sources, particularly solar energy, and conservation measures.
Show your support for the Repro Power El Paso Policy Agenda by signing on today!