STATEMENT: Texas House Passes Cruel and Shameful Anti-Abortion Bill

For Release: 5-20-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

AUSTIN, TX — Today, the Texas House passed on third reading Senate Bill 8, an omnibus bill that would require burial or cremation of embryonic and fetal tissue, ban the use of fetal tissue for research and ban an extremely safe and medically approved method of abortion. The bill also prohibits an already banned abortion procedure that’s no longer used in medical practice. Heather Busby, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement upon passage —

“During yesterday’s debate and with today’s final passage, we saw just how shameless anti-abortion legislators truly are and how far they’re willing to go to score political points by attacking people’s access to health care. Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate out of any developed country but instead of addressing that, lawmakers are busy wasting time and taxpayer dollars restricting access to abortion and imposing restrictions on health care facilities that have been ruled unconstitutional in federal court.

Banning safe abortion procedures does nothing to benefit public health and only serves as a dangerous intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship. Lawmakers admitted during the SB 8 debate that they haven’t consulted with any medical professionals but still chose to play doctor on the House floor. Politicians are not doctors and they have no place in the exam room.
SB 8 severely restricts access to abortion and shames and stigmatizes Texans who have abortions. This is a shameful measure by the Texas House.”

Demand House Lawmakers STOP Anti-Abortion Senate Bills in Their Tracks

After effectively killing more than 100 House bills—including two that would have addressed Texas’ disturbingly high maternal mortality rate—and passing two anti-abortion bills before last Thursday’s deadline to pass House bills, the Texas House now turns its attention to Senate bills, which it can pass for another week. The House Calendars Committee—which controls which bills are heard on the House floor and when—is considering an extreme and dangerous anti-abortion bill passed by the Senate earlier this session, and may have more on their plate later this week as House committees pass more Senate bills.
PLACED ON THE HOUSE CALENDAR FOR 5-19-2017 — Senate Bill 8 would ban the donation of fetal tissue from abortion clinics for research purposes and contains a copy of an existing federal ban of safe, medically-proven abortion procedure.  It also requires embryonic and fetal tissue to be buried or cremated, rather than handled according to current public health regulations.
Senate Bill 20 bans private health insurance plans from offering coverage for abortion care and forces Texans who experience an unplanned pregnancy or unexpected pregnancy complication to buy additional coverage. This bill will cut off access to affordable abortion care for low-income and rural Texans and people of color.

Senate Bill 25 would protect doctors who lie to pregnant patients, or fail to tell them about diagnoses related to the pregnancy.

Now is the time to CALL the members on the House Calendars Committee and tell them to stop these cruel, medically unnecessary bills from going to the House floor where they will undoubtedly be made worse. Feel free to use the script below:

Hi, my name is ______.
I’m calling to ask Rep. _____, who is a member of the House Calendars Committee, to REJECT sending SB 25 to the full Texas House floor for debate and vote.  The most extreme members of the legislature should not be rewarded or allowed to take credit for these bills moving to the house floor for debate.
 
Texans must be able to make their own medical decisions with the advice of the doctors they trust. Senate Bills 8, 20 and 25 interfere in the doctor-patient relationship, have no public health benefit and will cut off access to affordable health care. If passed, these bills would harm pregnant Texans.
 
[Insert your own story, if you like.]
 
I’m counting on the representative to do the right thing and respect pregnant Texans by STOPPING Senate Bill 25 in its tracks.
 
Thank you for your time.

Texas House Calendars Committee:

  • Chair, Todd Hunter: (512) 463-0672
  • Vice Chair, Donna Howard: (512) 463-0631
  • Roberto Alonzo: (512) 463-0408
  • Trent Ashby: (512) 463-0508
  • Byron Cook: (512) 463-0730
  • Sarah Davis: (512) 463-0389
  • Charlie Geren: (512) 463-0610
  • Helen Giddings: (512) 463-0953
  • Kyle Kacal: (512) 463-0412
  • Ken King: (512) 463-0736
  • Linda Koop: (512) 463-0454
  • Poncho Nevárez: (512) 463-0566
  • Chris Paddie: (512) 463-0556
  • Dade Phelan: (512) 463-0706
  • Toni Rose: (512) 463-0664

Anti-Abortion Bills and House Bill Deadline Week

It’s a big week for House bills at the Texas Legislature. Thursday marks the last day that the full House can debate and vote on bills that originated in that chamber, and the following anti-abortion bills are expected to come up for debate before then—

House Bill 2962—This bill increases abortion complications reporting requirements for hospitals and other medical facilities. Abortion is already one of the safest medical procedures and Texas already has rigorous standards and reporting requirements in place. This bill is another in a long line of attacks on abortion providers and the abortion procedure with the goal of intimidating and shaming Texans seeking care.

House Bill 3771—This bill changes the definition of “abortion” in statute to clarify that surgeries to remove ectopic pregnancies are not considered an abortion under state law and therefore patients do not have to endure medically unnecessary and stigmatizing restrictions such as state-mandated biased counseling or forced sonograms. Because it does not include exemptions for other pregnancy-related complications and makes exceptions for some circumstances but not others, this bill is clearly another attempt to politicize abortion.

House Bill 1936—This bill is a broadly defunds Planned Parenthood by prohibiting “taxpayer resource transactions” with abortion facilities. This bill is yet another in a long line of legislation to shut down abortion providers and harm the health of men and women who seek health care services at Planned Parenthood.

House Bill 200—This bill contains a copy of a federal ban on a specific method of abortion; it also prohibits the donation of fetal tissue from an abortion for research purposes and requires cremation and burial of embryonic/fetal tissue following an abortion.

House Bill 2858—This bill requires abortion facilities to post informational and assistance for human trafficking signs. It also increases the penalty for traffickers if the commission of the crime resulted in an abortion, as well as increases the penalties for traffickers who coerce or force a victim into having an abortion. Victims of human trafficking experience a wide variety of health problems, such as respiratory infections and dental problems. A genuine effort to identify victims should include other health care providers equally or more likely to come into contact with human trafficking victims, such as emergency rooms, dentists, and low-cost clinics. Without expanding the scope of this bill to include these providers, this bill is simply a targeted regulation of abortion providers.

CALL your House members now and demand that they oppose these political, medically unnecessary abortion restrictions. Click here to find out who represents you.

STATEMENT: Texas House Committee Hears HB 1113, a Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

Texas House Committee Hears HB 1113, a Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

For Release: 5-3-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Austin, TX — Today, the Texas House State Affairs Committee heard House Bill 1113, which would ban private insurance plans from covering abortion care. The bill also does not make exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomalies and applies to all health plans offered in Texas. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement:

“The Texas Legislature should not be in the business of banning people’s access to health care, including abortion, based on their income. HB 1113 threatens Texans’ health and safety and disproportionately impacts low-income Texans, people of color and their families, and young people.

HB 1113 jeopardizes the ability of private citizens to use their own money to buy health insurance that includes abortion coverage, making it so that Texans must purchase supplemental coverage instead. No one knows in advance what surgeries or medication they may need in the future, so why do we expect Texans to know if they will need an abortion? Putting restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion is dangerous and disregards that every person’s pregnancy is different. Pregnant Texans deserve access to the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion, no matter what kind of insurance they have.

We stand against all bans that deny access to vital health care.”

This Week at the #TXLEGE

With less than a month left in the legislative session, the House Committee on Calendars is now in control of the fate of six anti-abortion bills moving through the legislative process.

Once a bill is passed out of a House committee, the Calendars committee is solely responsible for determining which bills are heard on the house floor.

Six anti-abortion bills are either in the Calendars committee ready for consideration, or were approved by another committee and will be considered by the Calendars committee soon:

  • House Bill 35 requires the cremation or burial of embryonic tissue.
  • House Bill 200 makes an already federally banned abortion procedure a crime under state law, prohibits tissue donation from abortion, and requires the cremation or burial of embryonic tissue.
  • House Bill 434 prohibits families from suing a doctor or another person who lied or withhold information from a pregnant person
  • House Bill 1936 prohibits abortion facilities and their affiliates, from entering into any transaction with any government entity. This bill would harm public health efforts by local governments.
  • House Bill 2858 requires abortion clinics to post a sign warning patients that a forced abortion or labor is a criminal offense. NARAL Pro-Choice Texas takes a neutral position because the bill could be used as a vehicle for more unnecessarily cumbersome restrictions on operations of abortion facilities.
  • House Bill 2962 requires abortion clinics, hospitals, and physicians to report abortion complications to the state. The reporting includes the type of complication and patient’s private health care information. NARAL Pro-Choice Texas opposes this bill because it mandates medically unnecessary reporting while not requiring reporting that would be helpful to researchers and is unclear on the reporting of complications related to self induced abortion.

Sign our petition to tell the Calendars committee not to schedule these bills for debate on the House Floor and not to add further restrictions on abortion and harmful regulations on doctors.

In addition to the bills already in the Calendars committee, the State Affairs committee will hear House Bill 1113, which would ban private insurance from covering abortion, except in the narrowest emergency circumstances.

Join us WEDNESDAY at the John H. Reagan building to oppose this bill, which will undoubtedly cut off access to abortion for low-income and rural Texans and communities of color. If you can’t make it to the hearing, CALL the members of the House Committee on State Affairs to voice your opposition—

  • Byron Cook (chair)       (512) 463-0730
  • Helen Giddings (vice-chair)       (512) 463-0953
  • Tom Craddick       (512) 463-0500
  • Jessica Farrar       (512) 463-0620
  • Charlie Geren       (512) 463-0610
  • Ryan Guillen       (512) 463-0416
  • Ken King       (512) 463-0736
  • John Kuempel       (512) 463-0602
  • Morgan Meyer       (512) 463-0367
  • René Oliveira       (512) 463-0640
  • Chris Paddie       (512) 463-0556
  • Eddie Rodriguez       (512) 463-0674
  • John T. Smithee       (512) 463-0702