This week: two anti-choice bills hit the floor

Update 5/5/2015, 12:30 PM: SB 575 has passed out of the Senate. 
Update 5/6/2015, 3:00 PM: SB 575 has third reading, amendment requiring exception for rape or incest is tabled.
Update 5/6/2015, 3:18 PM: HB 416 has passed out of the House.
We’re officially less than a month away from the end of the regular session of the Texas Legislature, which means more anti-choice chatter in the House and Senate from our infamously out-of-touch lawmakers. Here are two bills we’re tracking as they hit the House and Senate floor:
  • SB 575Relating to health plan and health benefit plan coverage for abortion. This bill prohibits plans offered through health benefit exchanges to cover abortion, with a narrow exception for the mother’s life only. The bill also requires health benefit plans not offered through an exchange to only offer abortion coverage if it is separate from all other coverage, and offered for an additional fee. This bill passed out of the Senate on Wednesday. 
  • HB 416Relating to requiring personnel of abortion facilities and certain other facilities performing abortions to complete training on human trafficking. This bill would require abortion providers and all staff that come in contact with patients to complete a mandatory human trafficking training. First, abortion providers already provide this training to staff. This training should be required of other health providers who are far more likely to encounter trafficking survivors. Here’s more on the true intentions of this bill. This bill passed out of the House on Wednesday. 

As always, we can’t guarantee a definite time in which these bills will be discussed, but we can let you know as soon as they come up. Stay updated by signing up to be on our Legislative Action Team, watch our Twitter feed (follow #TrustTX or the bill number’s hashtag), our Facebook page and this post for updates on when these hearings will happen.

About John Seago’s testimony on a DPS officer saving human trafficking victims ‘forced into abortion’

John Seago from Texas Right to Life testified on Wednesday that he “knows” of a DPS officer who personally rescued human trafficking victims who had also been coerced into abortion. He’s talking about Captain Jeoff Williams, who Rep. Molly White quotes in a press release someone who has  “personally rescued victims of human trafficking who had been coerced into abortions in order to keep them working as sex slaves.”  The press release calls him, “Jeff” Williams and we had a little trouble finding this “Jeff Williams.”  Turns out his name is Jeoff Williams.  He is a Captain in the Criminal Investigation Division of the Department of Public Safety where he works on sex trafficking cases.  Here’s what he really said:

“One victim was forced to have an abortion in order to continue working as a sex slave.  And another was forced to undergo breast augmentation in increase her value for exploitation.  She now has some very serious medical problems associated with that.”

Joint Committee on Human Trafficking, Sept. 25, 2014, Testimony of Jeoff Williams, http://tlcsenate.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=8689 at 1:01:01.  He did not testify he had rescued multiple victims who were forced to abort, as White alleges.  He discussed one, and more pointedly described a woman who had been forced to augment her breasts resulting in “serious medical problems.”  Funny, White’s bill wouldn’t require plastic surgeons to post notices about “coercion.” Nor would it create a criminal offense for coercing women to alter their bodies permanently or send parents who pressure their daughters to have plastic surgery to Child Protective Services, as HB 1648 would for abortion.

 

Men for Choice

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Elected officials in Texas keep trying to force a narrow, anti-choice agenda through. They seem to think there’s only one right way to live your life – from the partner you choose, to the family you have, to the healthcare decisions you make – but in the movement for reproductive freedom in our state, we know Texans are not all the same, and that’s a source of strength for us. We’re in this together: pro-choice Texans of all backgrounds, identities, genders and perspectives.

That’s why we’re proud to honor the men in our movement at this year’s Men For Choice events!

Men For Choice Dallas – Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | Tickets and information
Men For Choice Austin – Thursday, June 4, 2015 | Tickets and information
Men For Choice HoustonTuesday, May 26, 2015 Monday, June 29 | Tickets and information

Each Men For Choice event directly supports the critical lobbying and advocacy work NARAL Pro-Choice Texas is doing right now to protect reproductive rights during the 2015 Texas legislative session. We hope to see you at a M4C event near you soon!

 

NARAL goes undercover to investigate Texas’ crisis pregnancy centers

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Pregnant? Scared? Need Help?  Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are behind these ads and pose a great risk to Texans.

CPCs are facilities that exist to prevent people facing unintended pregnancies from accessing abortion services.  They frequently disguise themselves as health care facilities, but offer only limited and often medically inaccurate services.  The State of Texas spends millions of taxpayers’ dollars funding CPCs.

In 2014, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas investigated CPCs across Texas to document their treatment of people facing unintended pregnancy, specifically those that might be considering abortion.  Our investigation, CPCs Exposed, reveals that CPCs:

Please visit www.txpregnancy.org for more background information on crisis pregnancy centers, the history of their funding and information on the Texas Pregnancy Care Network (TPCN).