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.

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.”