Protecting the Promise of Roe v. Wade

Alexa Garcia-DittaFor 45 years, Roe v. Wade has preserved the legal right to an abortion in the United States. But that hasn’t stopped Texas politicians from pushing abortion out of reach for pregnant people who are low-income, live in rural areas and are under the age of 18. Anti-abortion state lawmakers passed seven restrictions in 2017 alone. These new laws, in combination with the 14 restrictions passed since 2013, are only adding to the mountain of barriers Texans face when seeking abortion care, all of which disproportionately impact people of color. Nationally, the federal Hyde Amendment—which bans federal health programs, including Medicaid, from covering abortion care—remains on the books and continues to make abortion unaffordable for low-income people.

In 1978, a group of Texans founded NARAL Pro-Choice Texas to fight back against the neverending attacks on abortion care that followed the historic 1973 Supreme Court ruling. As we celebrate our 40th anniversary this year, we are rising up to protect the true promise of Roe—a future of dignity and respect where our decisions are our own.

Since our inception, we have fought for a future where all Texans can make their own health care decisions, including decisions about abortion, free of political interference. Unfortunately, anti-abortion state politicians have passed onerous clinic requirements, laws requiring medically unnecessary procedures like sonograms and 24-hour waiting periods, on top of bans on insurance coverage for abortion. In the face of these attacks, our legislative team has shown up to session after session to testify, rally our supporters and work with our legislative champions to combat the opposition’s dangerous anti-abortion agenda. Partners and legislators rely on our expertise and storied history of fighting for reproductive freedom in Texas, turning to us for the latest research and analysis on how policies will impact our state. We also consistently hold our state leadership and agencies accountable by tracking taxpayer funding for crisis pregnancy centers and calling out their true intention for passing anti-abortion laws—putting health care out of reach for Texans.

Year after year, we train emerging reproductive justice leaders to rise up for Roe and fight for abortion access for everyone in Texas. And we are growing our work by tapping into local power, focusing on building support for abortion access in municipalities across the state.

NARAL Pro-Choice Texas will continue to rise up for Roe by fighting alongside our partners to achieve reproductive freedom for everyone in Texas. We pledge to work tirelessly for another 40 years to protect the promise of Roe that we celebrate today.

—Alexa Garcia-Ditta

STATEMENT: State Health Agency Holds Hearing on Medically Unnecessary Fetal Tissue Burial Rules

For Release: 12-11-2017

Contact: Alexa Garcia-Ditta, [email protected]exas.org

On Monday, the Health and Human Services Commission held a hearing for public comment on rules requiring burial or cremation of embryonic and fetal tissue following an abortion or miscarriage. The rules, blocked by a federal court in January, were codified into state law during the 2017 legislative session. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“After passing further draconian anti-abortion measures during the regular and special legislative sessions, Texas officials still won’t let up in restricting access to health care. It is shameful that Texas has pushed ahead with rules requiring burial or cremation of fetal tissue despite an ongoing legal challenge and a failure to prove in court that these rules serve any benefit to public health or patient safety.

Texans have shown up repeatedly to oppose these medically unnecessary rules but it’s clear that our state officials want to prioritize playing politics with people’s health care rather than listen to their concerns. Our reproductive freedom is not a political football to toss around and score political points with.

Pregnant Texans deserve to make decisions about their own medical care, free from interference by anti-abortion politicians.”

Why I Give: Jeni Putalavage-Ross

2017 has been a really hard year. Every day, there was a new cause that I felt like I should be helping—natural disasters wreaked havoc around the country and the world, countless political causes needed support, and so many individuals used crowdsourcing to help get them through hard times that it was sometimes truly overwhelming. I try to support a few key causes as the foundation of my annual giving and I’ve chosen NARAL Pro-Choice Texas as my base.
I support them wholeheartedly because I believe reproductive rights are so essential and so threatened. Deciding whether or not to become a parent is arguably the biggest decision every individual has to make. Everyone deserves to make the decision about how, when and IF they want to have a child. Unfortunately, politicians in Texas and the White House are trying everything they can to limit people’s access to health care and abortion. I count on NARAL Pro-Choice Texas to represent my interests at the Legislature, keep me informed about legislative action that will impact abortion access, help inform community organizers and politicians about the facts around abortion, and expose deceptive crisis pregnancy centers (even as the state continues to fund them).

 

“Applying to Next Generation has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

My name is Skye Adams and I am a Next Generation fellow with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas from El Paso. In March, I was one of 17 new fellows who went to Austin for the 2017 Next Generation Summit, where we received trainings on abortion policy and messaging, toured the state Capitol, and received training on how to be better activists and advocates. Applying to Next Generation has been one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I know the knowledge and experience I have gained from volunteering with this organization will make me better for my future career.

Early last month, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas took several fellows to New Orleans for the SisterSong Let’s Talk About Sex conference. It was the experience of a lifetime seeing queer women/people of color sharing stories, sharing the struggles for reproductive justice in their communities and us learning how to be better. I would have never gotten the chance to see or attend this conference if it wasn’t for Next Generation.

In between the two trips, our El Paso Next Generation cohort has attended and held events for our community to learn more about reproductive justice, abortion, and build their advocacy and activism skills. NARAL is devoted to educating and fighting for reproductive justice, and I cannot think of many organizations that are so dedicated in this way. Being a part of Next Generation is a privilege, and I am so grateful to be part of such an impactful organization.

Click here to apply to be a 2018 Next Generation fellow!

Next Generation Fellow Highlight: Sherida Hibbard

Sherida Hibbard, 2017 Next Generation Fellow

In Lubbock, abortion is as close to a curse word as you can get without actually using profanity.  When I mention abortion, people either accuse me of being a criminal or assume that I am a liberal and hope that I’ll grow out of it.  People don’t take the time to listen to my story or find out why it is something I am so passionate about.  I grew up in a small town in north Texas where family planning was something that only “unsavory” women elected to do and raised to be conservative, proper, and “pro-life” at all costs.

I never thought I would support reproductive healthcare as a right until I found myself in need of services.  After my experience, which was awful at best, for the first time I had to examine my beliefs based not on what others told me to feel, but solely on my experience and conviction.  Prior to this point, I perpetuated the opinions I’d heard growing up and thought of it as someone else’s problem. I learned the hard way that the crisis facing reproductive healthcare is my problem.  It is the problem of anyone who has a mother, daughter, sister, or female friend, but it doesn’t stop at gender lines. I knew that something needed to happen, but I didn’t feel confident or capable.

I realized that if someone were to ask me why I feel so strongly, rather than an eloquent summary of my experience, the experience of countless women across the state, or well-thought out talking points on the state of reproductive healthcare in Texas, I would likely stare at them blankly and be unable to fully describe what I think, feel, and know.  My year as a NARAL Pro-Choice Texas Next Gen Fellow helped me not only to be more confident in my speech, but also to have the facts and information to support my feelings with data.  They equipped me and encouraged me to speak the truth that I already knew but couldn’t put in words.   My experiences with Next Generation created a feeling of sisterhood, humanity, and shared responsibility that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Click here to apply to be part of the 2018 class of Next Generation fellows!