Organizers behind the annual SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, are speaking out against restrictive abortion bills rolled out by state leadership this month.
Just ahead of this Saturday’s National Women’s March in support of reproductive rights, the conference is pledging to stay in its home city and fight alongside the dedicated blue pocket of Austin.
“SXSW stands against discriminatory laws and unequivocally supports civil rights for all persons, everywhere,” a Thursday statement from SXSW read. “As residents of Texas we are appalled at the passing of both SB 4 and SB 8, the most restrictive state abortion bills in the nation, along with SB 1, which deliberately disenfranchises voters.”
The bills in question, which incensed Hollywood weeks ago, open doors to civil prosecution for any party aiding in an abortion in Texas. The legislation is seen as a bellwether in overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade case.
“These bills not only negatively impact reproductive freedom and voter rights in Texas, but set a dangerous precedent across the United States. The Texas legislature and Governor Abbott continue to pass punitive legislation while presiding over governmental failures during the last two years that led to the suffering of thousands of Texans,” the statement continued. “We hear the calls for us to leave the state that we have called home for more than 30 years. These grievous bills do not reflect the diversity of Texan voters or the evolving demographic and electoral trends. And they certainly do not reflect the progressive views held by many in Austin.”
Organizers went on to detail the economic devastation that moving the annual event, which convenes thought leaders in film, music, politics and tech.
“Austin is part of SXSW’s DNA, and we are committed to staying and fighting alongside the people who have made us who we are. We will continue to use our platform to further the progression of human rights at home and across the globe,” the statement concluded.
In addition to supporting the women’s march, SXSW will make donations to Planned Parenthood, the Lilith Fund, and Fair Fight.
Variety owner Penske Media is a 50% stakeholder in SXSW.