NARAL Pro-Choice Texas’ Statement on President Trump’s SCOTUS Nominee

For Release: 2-1-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

AUSTIN, TEXAS — On Tuesday, President Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee. President Trump has repeatedly promised that his Supreme Court pick will overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that guaranteed our constitutional right to an abortion. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“By nominating Neil Gorsuch for a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court, President Trump has shown that he does not care about a person’s bodily autonomy and their right to make personal decisions for themselves. Judge Gorsuch has previously supported restricting access to birth control based on an employer’s religious preferences in two separate cases.

Texas’ anti-abortion laws have twice been challenged and heard before the U.S Supreme Court — the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, and the 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case.

In both landmark decisions, the Supreme Court stepped in to ensure that Texans, and all Americans, are able to access their constitutionally protected right to abortion and essential family planning services. With this nomination and an anti-abortion administration in the White House, anti-abortion politicians in Texas will feel further emboldened to aggressively push their anti-choice agenda.

Neil Gorsuch is a harmful, dangerous Supreme Court nominee for every person in the country who values respect and dignity free from judgment when making their private health care decisions. The Senate must reject President Trump’s nominee.”

How to #Resist at the Capitol this week

We’re proud of the diversity in our movement for reproductive freedom and we value people from all countries and religions. That’s why NARAL Pro-Choice Texas will be at the Capitol this week to show support and stand strong against attacks on Muslims and immigrants. In addition, we’ll also be fighting for to ensure that your tax dollars only go to qualified reproductive health providers that offer the full range of contraceptive services.

Texas Muslim Capitol Day

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 9:00 AM at the south steps of the Capitol

Please note: the organizers of this event have stressed that this is a peaceful protest. Please do not engage with counter-protesters or bring any signs or banners.

Senate Finance Committee Public Hearing

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 9:00 AM at E1.036 (finance room) in the Capitol extension

Our legislative counsel, Blake Rocap, will be testifying at this hearing, urging senators to prioritize state funding for qualified health care providers. If you would like to testify, here are some suggested talking points and tips for testifying.

Stop SB 4, the so-called “Sanctuary Cities” bill

Thursday, Feb. 2, 8:30 AM at the Senate Chamber in the Capitol

Immigrants rights groups have requested a strong public presence at the hearing. Wear white to show solidarity with immigrant families.
The next four years will be a test of resolve but we’re prepared to resist with you and support our allies every step of the way. Thank you and see you at the Capitol.

Statement: Texas Politician Files Bill to Ban All Abortions and Punish People Who Have Them

For Release: 1-12-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

TEXAS — On Wednesday, anti-abortion lawmakers filed HB 948, a bill that would ban all abortions in the state and change the penal code to criminalize Texans who get them. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, issued the following statement —

“This bill is an outright ban on abortion and would punish people who get abortions and the doctors who provide them. This cruel bill is the most extreme measure we’ve seen at the Texas Legislature. It takes away a pregnant person’s legal rights and could open up to investigation and prosecution of anyone who has a miscarriage or who seeks an abortion. When politicians criminalize safe medical procedures, they put patients’ health and safety at risk.

HB 948 strips away our constitutional right to abortion.”

Dr. Corinne McLeod: Texas Pamphlet Violates Core Ethical Principle of Modern Medicine

This past summer, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced that they would be accepting comments from the public on their controversial “Woman’s Right to Know” pamphlet. Texas law mandates that all doctors in the state who perform abortions must give this pamphlet to their patients in conjunction with a mandatory information session before their procedures. Being a doctor who plans on providing abortion care in Texas, I took it upon myself to painstakingly edit this document so I could provide the state with the most accurate medical information possible. After all, surely the goal is to provide people with the essential knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their bodies and about their health.

However, I quickly realized this document is so hopelessly biased as to be functionally useless; my annotations were an exercise in futility. “A Woman’s Right to Know” discusses supposed medical risks from abortion that have been discredited for decades as if there were legitimate scientific debate surrounding them. The fact is that there is no link between abortion and breast cancer or infertility. There is no “post-abortion syndrome,” or any major psychiatric disorder associated with abortion. But by forcing physicians to hand out this pamphlet to patients, it lends credence to these myths. It forces us to discuss these risks as if they are real, therefore making doctors complicit in the scare tactics of the “pro-life” movement. Furthermore, the state drastically downplays the very real risks surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. People are actually 10 to 12 times more likely to die from complications related to childbirth than from an abortion. There is, of course, no mention of this amongst the glossy pictures of delighted-looking pregnant women scattered throughout the pamphlet. In fact, a Rutgers University study found that 30 percent of Texas’ pamphlet is medically inaccurate.

One of the core ethical tenants of modern medicine revolves around informed consent, the concept of giving patients all the information they need to make decisions that are in keeping with the patients’ own personal values. By extension, this includes giving accurate information to the best of the physician’s ability. “A Woman’s Right to Know” forces doctors to violate this principle. Patients expect to be able to trust their doctors to provide them accurate information with regards to their care, which is what forms the basis of the doctor-patient relationship. The state of Texas forces any doctor even discussing abortion to undermine this relationship and violate the ethics of our profession by mandating this pamphlet’s distribution. The political agenda behind “A Woman’s Right to Know” undercuts the foundations of the trusting relationship doctors depend on to provide their patients with the best possible care. Putting aside personal politics, any medical professional should be concerned by the state’s partisan involvement in healthcare. With our fact-resistant political climate, any kind of evidence-based medicine could be up for legislation based on the political leanings of extremist policy makers.

I struggled to edit “A Woman’s Right to Know” for many hours until the entire document was basically a series of red ‘x’ marks and aggravated, high school English teacher-style scrawlings in the margins. And, much like many high school English assignments, there was little worth salvaging. Undeterred, I wrote my own pamphlet, complete with scientific citations and local resources for contraception and child-rearing assistance. The State, in their fervor against abortion, neglected to include these valuable services in the original document. If you’d like to use my version of the pamphlet to provide information to those in need, you can find it here. It is freely available to anyone because I firmly believe that people deserve to have all the facts they need to make decisions for themselves. I became a doctor to help people live their best lives – protecting autonomy is essential to that goal.

Dr. Corinne McLeod is currently a resident physician at Albany Medical Center specializing in OB/GYN. She is originally from Austin and hopes to return to Texas to work in reproductive health.

“The opportunities to learn and be open without judgment were the most valuable parts of Next Generation.”

We are currently accepting applications for our 2017 Next Generation program. Read about one participant’s experience below, and apply today!

My name is Drew Jones, and I participated in Next Generation Pro-Choice Texas program. I’m a native Houstonian who has seen the city change a lot over my lifetime. I’m currently enrolled at the University of Houston, studying journalism and politics. I’m really passionate about exploring the intersections of government and culture and highlighting the voices and experiences of people who are too often unrepresented. I’m an advocate for reproductive justice because I believe that the health care decisions people of reproductive age make should be fully under their control, with the advice of their medical provider. Access to safe and legal abortion is necessary to ensure the freedoms and equal participation in society, and that constitutional right needs to be defended and protected at all levels.

How did you find out about the Next Generation program and why did you decide to apply?

I found out about the Next Gen program after a training provided by Emily Martin and Natalie San Luis, and was encouraged to apply. I applied because I wanted to immerse myself in the community of reproductive rights activists, and gain a better perspective about the ins and outs of organizing and coalition building.

What was your favorite part about participating in Next Gen?

My favorite part about participating in the program was getting the chance to meet wonderful people from all over the state, and forming bonds with like-minded individuals. The conferences, trainings, and events we attended were eye opening and gave me a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for the folks that do reproductive work day in and day out.

What about the program was most valuable to you?

The opportunities to learn and be open without judgment were the most valuable parts of Next Gen. A lot of people who are interested in this work have questions and/or misconceptions, and having those issues addressed by the most kind and knowledgeable people really built a supportive and trusting environment for all of us new activists.

Why should other young Texans apply?

I would encourage those interested in organizing or building relationships with other progressives to join the program and get the most out of it that you can. The wonderful part of the Next Gen structure is that it meets everyone where they are, so you don’t have to feel intimidated. If you’re just curious about the legislative side of the reproductive justice fight, or if you’re ready to delve into nuanced and engaging conversations surrounding the movement, you’ll find yourself intrigued, encouraged, and surrounded by amazingly supportive and empowering individuals.