Lawmakers dismissed my experience

This is a guest post from Jeni Putalavage-Ross.

Last week, I shared my family’s story at the Capitol before a panel of senators considering a bill that would ban private health insurance plans from covering abortion.

In 2010, I was pregnant with a very wanted child, but at my anatomy scan at 21 weeks, my doctors informed us that the pregnancy was incompatible with life. My husband and I decided that I would have a late-term abortion to save our child from unnecessary pain and to protect my body and mental health. I experienced complications from my termination that resulted in a week-long ICU stay, threatened my life, and resulted in $67,000 in medical bills. Luckily, I had insurance coverage and I only had to pay a small fraction of the total bill. If it were it not for that procedure and the insurance coverage, I would not be here today and I would not have been able to later have my three amazing daughters.

Photo credit: Cathlin McCullough

At the hearing, lawmakers questioned the relevance of my story, disrespecting and dismissing my family’s experience. I felt they were not open to hearing anything that might question their agenda, I don’t think they respect the fact that abortion should be a private medical decision, and I question their belief that they represent all Texans.

These senators did not care about my family’s experience and waved aside all concerns for families that need to make the difficult decision to end a wanted pregnancy. They have no respect for women that might want to end a pregnancy for personal reasons.Their desire to restrict Texans’ preferred type of insurance coverage is purely based on their desire to end all abortions. Unfortunately, it is difficult to reason with unreasonable people, debate with people who use logical fallacies, and it is nearly impossible to prove medical needs to people who don’t believe in science.

If you believe women’s reproductive decisions should not be legislated, please consider donating today to support NARAL Pro-Choice Texas’ mission. I was so relieved when I showed up at the Capitol and saw Alexa, Blake, and Maggie ready to support me before and after my testimony. If you’re like me and you can’t follow every bill and show up to every hearing, donate to this team to help them continue the work they are doing on our behalf. It is really difficult to sit and listen to misinformation and have your personal beliefs questioned and this team does it every day. I am really in awe of the dedication they show and the emotional toll they endure in order to fight for Texans.

Jeni Putalavage-Ross

ACTION ALERT: Anti-abortion bills being heard at the #txlege

The Senate is holding a public hearing on 3 anti-abortion bills at the Capitol on Wednesday. These bills are part of a broader effort to ban abortion and shame and stigmatize the people who have them. We won’t stand for this.

1. Dust off your orange and join us at the Capitol on Wednesday to make your voice heard.There will be iPad kiosks outside of the hearing room for you to register your position and sign up to testify if you would like to. You can find suggested talking points here. We’ll also have printed copies of the talking points and orange t-shirts available on Wednesday.

2. Call the legislators behind these anti-choice bills and let them know you’re against restrictions on abortion access. See the graphic below for a phone call script.

3. Send an email to your legislators here.

Call your state senators!

Instructions for Signing Up to Register and Testify

Before registering your position, you need to know the bill number, which committee is hearing the bill and the time and location of the hearing.
The bills being heard tomorrow are SB 8, SB 258, SB 415. They are being heard by the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services. The hearing starts at 8:30 AM in the Senate Chamber, located on the second floor of the Capitol.

The committee will begin taking sign ups to register and testify at 7:45 AM tomorrow morning. If you would like to submit written testimony to the committee for consideration, please bring 20 copies of your testimony.

You can register by filling out a card that will be available near the Senate Chamber entrance. When you register your opinion at the Capitol, you will provide basic contact information, specify whether you are representing yourself or an organization, register your position on the bill (support, oppose) and indicate if you will be testifying or submitting written testimony. After registering, your position has officially been entered into public record.

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.