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

 

STATEMENT: House Committee Advances Stigmatizing Anti-Abortion Measures

For Release: 4-18-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

On Monday, the Texas House State Affairs Committee voted to send House Bills 35, 200, 2962, and 1936 to the full Texas House. Heather Busby, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement after the vote —

“It is shameful that lawmakers are continuing to obstruct Texans’ right to access reproductive health care. The bills voted out yesterday do nothing to enhance public health. Rather, they interfere in the doctor-patient relationship and stigmatize Texans seeking vital health care.

Hundreds of Texans have called on Chairman Byron Cook to hold hearings for bills that actually expand access to reproductive health care and help Texas families instead of wasting time with anti-abortion measures. At the very least, House Bills 262, 330, 745, 746 and 747 deserve hearings and votes in the State Affairs Committee so that lawmakers on the committee and the public can hear the facts about abortion and reproductive health care.  

Instead of promoting policies that would expand and protect reproductive health care and save money, misguided anti-abortion legislators and activists are fixated on allowing doctors to lie to their pregnant patients and imposing their own religious traditions on embryonic and fetal tissue disposal.

It is long past time for lawmakers to stop playing politics with Texans’ health care and accepting medically inaccurate information as fact.”

Lawmakers Must Prioritize Proactive Bills That Expand and Protect Reproductive Health Care

For weeks, Texas lawmakers have debated measures designed explicitly to reduce access to abortion and stigmatize Texans seeking vital health care. Misinformation and ideological rhetoric abound, and politicians continue to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. These bills are harmful, endanger the lives of Texans and blatantly disrespect physicians and patient privacy.

While bills like this are flying through the Legislature, others that actually protect and promote access to health care are languishing. As we approach a key deadline for House bills to be voted out of committee, we call on lawmakers to hold hearings on the following good bills:

  • House Bill 262 by Rep. Donna Howard respects a physician’s medical training and allows them to exercise their best medical judgement when providing abortion care to their patients. This bill ensures doctors can practice medicine without political interference by protecting them should they opt out of giving their patients state-mandated misinformation.
  • House Bill 745 by Rep. Jessica Farrar repeals Texas’ 24-hour waiting period before an abortion. This bill strikes a medically unnecessary restriction from state law and restores dignity to Texans seeking abortion care.
  • House Bill 746, also by Rep. Jessica Farrar, strikes from state law a pervasive lie peddled by the anti-abortion movement—that abortion leads to an increased risk of breast cancer. For more than a decade, Texas law has required physicians to share with their patients this baseless claim. By removing this language from statute, HB 746 ensures that patients have the accurate medical information they deserve.

In addition to holding hearings on these bills, legislators should also vote on Rep. Mary Gonzalez’s House Bill 330, which expands access to birth control for parenting minors by allowing them to consent to their own health care, and Rep. Jessica Farrar’s House Bill 747, which makes accurate information about emergency contraception available to sexual assault survivors.

These bills deserve attention and a vote. We call on lawmakers to prioritize HBs 262, 330, 745, 746 and 747 and abandon the misguided, medically inaccurate and stigmatizing legislation they have taken up so far this session. Click here to send an email directly to the chairman of the committee responsible for taking up these bills.