Jessica González-Rojas is not backing down.

“We know that Latinas are the leaders in their communities. We just provide information, education and awareness about how they can create change…We believe that those most impacted will be the agents of change.”

Jessica González-Rojas speaking to Latino Virtual Summit 8/16

We could not be more thrilled to welcome National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) executive director Jessica González-Rojas to our 2017 Fall Celebration for a conversation with Yamani Hernandez and Mary Tuma. This year, Texas has seen an unprecedented attack on immigrant communities with the passage of Senate Bill 4 creating additional barriers to reproductive healthcare access. As NLIRH documented in Nuestro Texas, a joint report with the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Latinx community has disproportionately suffered from the Texas Legislature’s dismantling of the family planning system. With immigration raids happening regularly, many communities in the state are living in fear, unable to access the health care they need.

But under Jessica’s leadership, NLIRH is not backing down from the challenge and is transforming communities in the Rio Grande Valley and across Texas, building power among the Latinx community, lead by their community organizers, the fierce Poderosas.

Jessica leads the only national reproductive justice organization that specifically works to advance reproductive health and rights for Latinas. She is a strong voice for Latinas and a regular presence in national and local media outlets.  She was honored by El Diario/La Prensa, the nation’s oldest and largest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States, as one of 2009’s “Mujeres Destacadas” (Women of Honor).  She is a regular contributor to El Diario/La Prensa and Huffington Post Latino Voices on pressing reproductive health issues in the Latina community, as well as a regular media voice in local and national outlets such as National Public Radio, the Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC-FM), the Bill Moyers Show, the Boston Globe and The New York Times.  Jessica was featured in Latina Magazine’s “Making Us Proud” series, has been named one of “13 Women of Color to Watch in 2013” by the Center for American Progress and was honored as a “Champion for Choice” by the National Council of Jewish Women.

Join us on Thursday, October 19 for our Fall Celebration and meet Jessica in person!

Honoring Dr. Bhavik Kumar’s work in this movement.

Dr. Kumar speaks at a rally on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2016. Photo Credit: Whole Woman’s Health

 

Abortion providers face immense obstacles when providing care for their patients. They put their lives at risk every single day to selflessly provide comprehensive and dignified health care for the people who come to their clinics. Dr. Bhavik Kumar’s strong advocacy in the face of continued attacks on abortion access by the Texas Legislature is invaluable for the people affected most by the state’s abortion restrictions. That’s why we’re so honored to present Dr. Kumar with Whole Woman’s Health the Fighting Spirit Award at this year’s Fall Celebration.

Dr. Kumar’s advocacy extends beyond the clinic. As legislatures across the country increasingly rely on medically inaccurate terms and scare tactics to push increased abortion restrictions, Dr. Kumar sought out opportunities to educate legislators and advocates on the realities of abortion care. This was especially useful during the last legislative session, when the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 8. The bill essentially bans second trimester abortions and makes it much harder for doctors to practice their best medical judgment when treating patients. From speaking at a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court prior to the HB 2 decision to working with reporters to demystify common abortion procedures, Dr. Kumar’s commitment to reducing stigma and spreading medically-accurate information is invaluable to our movement.   

At a time when anti-abortion activists are targeting abortion providers, Dr. Kumar’s intentional decision to speak publicly as an abortion provider is even further proof of his commitment to fighting for his patients’ rights to access compassionate abortion care in their communities. We at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas are so thankful to have the opportunity to honor the brave work Dr. Kumar does. Purchase your tickets now and join us on Oct. 19 at the Fall Celebration as we celebrate Dr. Kumar’s fighting spirit.

STATEMENT: Federal Court Blocks Dangerous Provision of SB 8 From Going Into Effect

Federal Court Blocks Dangerous Provision of SB 8 From Going Into Effect

For Release: 8-31-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Austin, TX — Today, a federal court ruled to temporarily block the enactment of a provision of Senate Bill 8 that bans the safest and most common method of abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. A coalition of abortion providers represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood Federation of America brought suit against SB 8 in July. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“NARAL Pro-Choice Texas is proud to stand with our partners in their fight against attacks on abortion access. SB 8 is part of a coordinated national strategy designed to shame people who get abortions, tie the hands of doctors and ban abortion method by method. This bill criminalizes physicians for exercising their best medical judgment and is a dangerous intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship.

Today’s ruling comes after a hateful special legislative session in which anti-choice lawmakers passed a bill that bans private insurance coverage for abortion. The courts, as well as Texans around the state, see through the Legislature’s thinly-veiled attacks that aim to make abortion inaccessible in Texas.

It is shameful that anti-choice lawmakers have no regard for established law or for people’s rights and insist on wasting precious taxpayer dollars defending laws they know to be unconstitutional. It is long past time for lawmakers to stop playing politics with our health care and stop passing measures that risk patients’ health and safety.”

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One Texan’s Experience at a Crisis Pregnancy Center

When I was 16 I didn’t fully understand sex. I grew up with a mom who taught sex-ed, but in Texas you don’t learn anything useful about sex at school so the nitty gritty details escaped me. I was inexperienced and feared disappointing my mom. Needless to say, I was at a disadvantage.

As a black girl, you’re taught to NEVER “act fast” and subconsciously I had shame about sex after being molested as a young girl. For two months I was sure I was pregnant, sure that my life was over, sure that my mom would be ashamed of me for wasting my potential. Millennial to the core, I immediately got online to look for at-home abortion remedies.I made plans to seek out herbs, started rehearsing lies to tell my mom if I had a bad reaction to anything. Looking back I’m horrified because if anything had happened I may have died.

After finding a place to get a pregnancy test,  I debated whether I was even brave enough to go. Having an answer to this question would determine where I was going next so I made the appointment for an evening during the week after school. The crisis pregnancy center was two blocks away from my school, connected to a church, so I walked over as soon as class let out.

The reception was warm, weirdly. The women working there acted very excited to see me. I walked into the space and didn’t see anyone else, but there was a room in the back with several other women. The lights were low and it felt like a cozy living room. There was a table set up with a bunch of pamphlets about the false ills of abortions, and the second I saw that I thought “Oh F**K THESE ARE WEIRDOS” and got really scared. Not knowing if I was pregnant was one thing, but being attacked by Christian Fundamentalists was scarier. We sat in a room together and discussed how we got there. We went around in a circle talking and one by one went into another room full of medical equipment to get tested. We prayed for quite a long time before receiving the results. This entire time I felt the anxiety in the room heighten. The women around me were picking up on how resistant the women leading the discussion were to any options that didn’t end in “I am keeping this baby”. We were getting antsy and one of the women angrily asked when we were getting the results so they brought us into a different room one by one to get results. The second I got my results (a negative) I got out of there. Some of the women stayed, so I assumed they were actually pregnant.

I didn’t escape without a lot of pamphlets intended to make sure I had “information.” My fear lifted as soon as I knew I wasn’t pregnant, so walking back to the train I mostly worried about how the other women were going to handle it.

Emma Robinson works at The Afiya Center in Dallas. To learn more about deceptive, manipulative crisis pregnancy centers, visit txpregnancy.org.

Abortion Speakouts Scheduled in September at City Halls Across Texas

The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, Texas Equal Access Fund, West Fund, and NARAL Pro-Choice Texas are launching the statewide Repro Power TX initiative with simultaneous abortion storytelling speakouts in four major cities throughout the state—Houston, Dallas, El Paso and Austin. As we gather at city halls around Texas on September 27—just before the anniversary of the federal Hyde Amendment that bans public coverage for abortion–we invite you to join us in mobilizing our own communities to build power and create a groundswell of support for reproductive justice and access to abortion.

Following this year’s regular and special legislative sessions, when lawmakers continued to attack abortion access and rob local communities of their power, it’s time we come together and take back our cities. We know that the majority of people in our Texas communities support access to abortion, but unfortunately, hostility in the Legislature means that these voices often go unheard. Through Repro Power TX and together with our supporters, we commit to holding our cities accountable for taking steps to protect abortion access in the face of attacks.

Together, we envision a Texas in which there is widespread public support for abortion access from the ground up, and abortion is accessible to everyone seeking it — stigma free. It’s time for our city officials to hear the voices of our communities.

We hope you’ll join us in Houston, Dallas, El Paso or Austin. If you are unable to attend in person, you can still show your support online by participating in our #ReproPowerTX Thunderclap!

This blog post is cross-posted from the Repro Power TX website. Visit repropowertx.org to learn more about the initiative and sign on to support local work in your community.