State Affairs Committee to discuss teenage access to birth control

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Update 3:45 PM: The House stands adjourned. You can head here for the State Affairs live feed.

Update 12:00 PM: The House State Affairs committee will not hear this bill until the House has adjourned for the day. Due to a current discussion of another bill in the House, HB 468 will likely not have a hearing until mid-to-late afternoon. If you can make it to the Capitol but can’t stay long enough for the hearing, we encourage you to register in support of this bill by finding one of the iPads inside of the Capitol or by registering from a mobile device that is connected to the Capitol WiFi network (learn how to do that here).

On Wednesday, the House State Affairs committee will hear HB 468, Rep. Mary Gonzalez’s bill that will allow teens to access birth control without parental consent.

 
You can support this bill in three ways:
  1. Contact members of the State Affairs Committee to express your support for HB 468.
  2. Come to the hearing and register for HB 468. The committee meets in the John H. Reagan (JHR) building room 140 at 10:30 a.m. or after the House has adjourned for the day. The JHR building is on the corner of 15th and Congress (map).
  3. Testify at the public hearing on Wednesday, March 18. If you are able to testify, please email [email protected]. Click here for more information about testifying at a committee hearing at the Texas Capitol in Austin.
Below are some talking points to use in drafting your testimony or email/call to the committee members:
  • We trust teen parents to make health care decisions for their own children and we should respect them enough to make their own decisions about birth control.
  • Texas has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and the highest repeat teen birth rate in the nation. To enable young people to prevent unintended pregnancy, Texas must increase access to contraception, including allowing youth who are already mothers to access birth control without parental consent. House Bill 468 is a small but important step toward meeting that goal.

Remember to use #TrustTX and #HB468 when tweeting!

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!

 

How do you celebrate Roe v. Wade when Texans are losing access to abortion?

On the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Texans’ access to safe, legal and timely abortion is at a low point. Restricted access means only one thing: Texans’ health and safety are at risk.

Roe v. Wade, a case out of Texas, legalized abortion across the United States. At the time the Supreme Court decided Roe, abortion was banned in almost every state with few exceptions. Roe made these bans unconstitutional, resulting in increased access to safe, legal abortion nationwide.

As a young woman working in the reproductive rights movement, I am often told that I do not know what it was like before Roe, when abortion was illegal. While it is true that I—as a woman who grew up in a middle-class family in an urban area—have never had to worry about access to abortion, many Texans are now living in pre-Roe conditions where safe, legal abortion is not an option.

In the decades since Roe, the Texas Legislature has fought to restrict abortion so that it is difficult, if not impossible, to obtain. As you read this, the future of abortion access in Texas hinges on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on whether or not to uphold the ambulatory surgical center provision of HB 2, the anti-abortion bill passed during 2013’s second special session. This provision does nothing to benefit patients, but forces abortion clinics to meet costly building requirements like having locker rooms, showers and extra-wide hallways. If HB 2 is upheld, there will be less than 10 abortion clinics in Texas, in only five major cities and about 750,000 women of reproductive age will live more than 200 miles from a Texas abortion clinic, according to the Texas Policy Evaluation Project.

It is unconscionable that hundreds of thousands of Texans would have to travel over 200 miles to access vital reproductive health care.

Anti-abortion lawmakers and activists have recently started claiming that restrictions make the procedure safer. With less than a one percent major complication rate, abortion is already one of the safest medical procedures—according to the Guttmacher Institute—and does not need to be further regulated. In fact, abortion clinic regulations compromise Texans’ health and safety by making a legal health care procedure harder to get.

After years of attacks on abortion access by anti-abortion legislators and former Gov. Rick Perry, accessing abortion takes time and resources many people do not have. There is not only the cost of the procedure, but also the cost of travelling to the clinic multiple times. State law mandates a 24-hour wait between the required sonogram and the abortion, which for the patient means additional time off work, wages lost and arranging childcare and transportation. As a result, many Texans are pushed further along in their pregnancies before they can access a clinic.

By piling unnecessary restrictions on abortion, anti-abortion lawmakers have been able to limit access to the procedure without overturning Roe.

On the 42nd anniversary of Roe, we should acknowledge the importance of the decision, but also recognize that many Texans still lack access to abortion. Honor Roe by fighting back against anti-abortion legislation and advocating for proactive policies. The 84th Legislative Session is already underway; be prepared to come to the Texas Capitol and speak out against anti-abortion bills and in support of legislation that expands Texans’ access to reproductive health care so that on the 43rd anniversary of Roe we have more to celebrate.

Dan Patrick Ends Two-Thirds Rule in the Senate

Today Dan Patrick trampled on the democratic rights of millions of Texans by getting rid of the two-thirds rule in the Texas Senate, a tradition that gave voice to underrepresented Texans for decades and allowed for compromise among Senators in the chamber. The Senate changed the two-thirds rule to a three-fifths rule—only 19 votes are now required to bring a bill up for debate, to suspend public notice and meeting requirements—making it more difficult for Senators to filibuster and for Texans to participate in the legislative process. These new rules allow the Texas Senate to rapidly pass legislation without transparency.

For a long time, the Senate was considered a sort of safeguard against the House because of its two-thirds rule, serving as a filter for extreme and superfluous legislation coming out of the House and representing those voices that are often not heard or considered at the Capitol. Now that the rule is gone, all bets are off for what will hit the floor – and ultimately pass – in the Legislature as a whole.

Below is the change in its entirety:

TX Senate Rules Changes by naraltx