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.

STATEMENT: TX House Approves an Additional $20 Million to Anti-Abortion CPCs

Texas House Approves an Additional $20 Million to Anti-Abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers

For Release: 4-6-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

AUSTIN, TX — During debate on the 2018-19 state budget, the Texas House approved an additional $20 million per two-year budget cycle for the Alternatives to Abortion program. This program funnels millions of tax dollars to manipulative, deceptive crisis pregnancy centers that intentionally lie to and coerce pregnant Texans.

Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement on the funding increase for crisis pregnancy centers—

“It is shameful that the state continues to give millions of health care dollars to non-medical entities that lie to, shame and manipulate Texans considering an abortion, especially at a time when vulnerable children are dying in foster care, public education remains chronically underfunded and cuts to Medicaid for disabled kids remain in place.

Crisis pregnancy centers are not comprehensive health centers and do not provide Texans with the full range of available options. CPCs exist to prevent people facing unintended pregnancies from accessing abortion care and delay their care to the point where they’re not able to access abortion. These centers use scare tactics and provide scientifically inaccurate information to their patients and are ultimately dangerous to the health and safety of pregnant Texans.

It is unconscionable that lawmakers voted against a budget amendment to move this money to the family planning program and instead increased funding by $20 million for ideologically motivated CPCs and refused to fund legitimate health care providers.”

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Statement: More than 2,600 Texans Sign Petition to Expand Access to Reproductive Health Care

For Immediate Release

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

On Monday afternoon, reproductive rights activists delivered a petition with more than 2,600 signatures to House Speaker Joe Straus, demanding that the Texas Legislature stop restricting abortion access and instead prioritize expanding access to reproductive health care. Heather Busby, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, made the following statement —

“Time and time again, Texans have made it clear that they won’t stand for attacks on their reproductive rights. Since the Supreme Court struck down some of the state’s harshest abortion restrictions last summer, anti-choice legislators have ramped up their attacks on health care by introducing bills that would interfere in the doctor-patient relationship and force doctors to practice substandard medicine. Rather than playing politics with people’s private health care decisions, these legislators should listen to the majority of Texans who support access to safe, legal abortion. Our reproductive rights are not up for grabs and it’s time anti-choice politicians realized this.

The Texas Legislature should prioritize policies that improve the health and well-being of all Texans. We call on our legislators to pass measures that actually expand access to birth control and abortion care and help Texas families, such as closing the gender pay gap, fixing the broken foster care system and providing greater protections for breastfeeding parents.”

Statement: Activists Resist Against SB 20, A Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

For Release: 3-27-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Today, a group of Texans stood up in resistance against the Texas Senate passing Senate Bill 20, a bill that would prohibit private insurance plans from covering abortion. While the activists rose in opposition to the bill, another group of abortion access supporters dropped a banner above Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s desk that said, “United to lift the bans that deny abortion coverage.” Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“The majority of Texans do not support restrictions on abortion. SB 20 is a discriminatory law that interferes in private business, limiting what insurance companies can and cannot cover. Sen. Taylor simply does not understand how insurance works.

Abortion is part of health care and taking it out of insurance plans means that for someone with an unintended pregnancy, life-threatening emergency or unexpected problem with a pregnancy, they will now have to pay out of pocket, potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars. SB 20 is another way anti-choice politicians like Dan Patrick are pushing to make abortion less accessible.”

Statement: Texas Senate Passes SB 20, A Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

For Release: 3-22-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Today, the Texas Senate passed on second reading Senate Bill 20, which would ban private insurance plans from covering abortion care. The bill also does not make exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomalies. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement:

“Access to health care, including abortion, should not be limited by one’s income. In restricting insurance coverage for abortion, Senate Bill 20 jeopardizes Texans’ health and disproportionately impacts low-income Texans, people of color and their families, and young people.

SB 20 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?

Having insurance coverage for abortion is important to ensure that every Texan can access the care they need in a timely manner. It is wrong for the government to place restrictions on private health insurance companies looking to offer a full range of reproductive health services, including abortion.”