SXSW 2022: Why I Don’t Plan To Return To Texas


SXSW 2022 might still be six months away in time but the actions of the Texas state government have made my decision not to attend.

Listen, I love SXSW and the city of Austin. Of all the major film festivals I’ve attended, it’s my favorite film festival. I’ve had no shortage of interview opportunities, parties, and networking during my two years on the ground. It’s the only film festival that I submitted Pandemic Therapy even knowing it was a long shot of making it in. But no, I cannot in good conscience attend and support the Texan state economy knowing that reproductive rights, transgender rights, and voting rights are under attack.

The Texas state government just passed one of the most draconian anti-abortion bills in the country. Moreover, it’s in clear violation of the first amendment. I say this as a Jewish citizen of the United States. This bill is incompatible with my own religious views. Jewish law makes it crystal clear that abortions are obligatory when the mother’s life is in danger. It is a classic example of Christian politicians violating the first amendment by forcing their religious views on others. And to see five conservative members of the Supreme Court go along with it shows that they are forcing their religious views on others.

The following comes straight from the Chabad site and relates to Jewish views on abortion:

Under which circumstances would abortion be permitted? For one, if a pregnant woman’s life is endangered unless the pregnancy is terminated, “her life takes precedence over [the fetus’s] life.” The sages of the Mishnah add, “If, however, the majority of [the fetus] emerged, we may not touch it, for we do not push aside a life in place of another life.”

Why may the unborn baby be sacrificed to save the mother? Maimonides explains that the fetus has the law of a rodef, one who is pursuing another with intent to kill, whose life may be taken in order to save the would-be victim. It is thus permitted to abort the fetus, surgically or through medication, since the fetus is seen as an active threat to the mother’s life.

A few weeks ago, I would have said that the pandemic is why I was leaning against attending SXSW. Greg Abbott joins Florida Republican governor Ron DeSantis with pretending like the pandemic is over. I’m sorry but governing in this matter is awful and both should be charged with murder. They apparently come from the Rick Snyder school of governing. They call themselves pro-life but they are really pro-forced birth. Being pro-life means taking a proactive stance during a global pandemic. But no, they have repeatedly shown themselves to be against the most responsible behavior. It’s a shame and they are a disgrace.

Benjamin Franklin one said that we have a Republic if we can keep it. Moreover, there’s this idea that the US was founded on Judeo-Christian values. I’m sorry but forcing one’s religious beliefs on others are not a Jewish value. Forcing Christian beliefs down our throats goes against my religious beliefs as a Jew. I love SXSW and Austin but unless something miraculous happens, I will not be in attendance come March 2022.

The SXSW Film Festival will run in Austin next March.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.