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, sharmeen@prochoicetexas.org

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.”

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

For Release: 1-12-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, sharmeen@prochoicetexas.org

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.

Statement: Texas Abortion Providers File Lawsuit Against Medically Unnecessary Fetal Tissue Burial Rules

For Release: December 12, 2016

Contact: sharmeen@prochoicetexas.org

Texas — On Monday, a coalition of abortion providers, represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas challenging rules that would require embryonic and fetal tissue to be buried following an abortion. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“NARAL Pro-Choice Texas is proud to support abortion providers in their fight against restrictions that place unnecessary burdens on people seeking abortion. Our anti-choice state lawmakers have shown again and again that they are willing to waste precious taxpayer dollars defending sham regulations and putting political ideology over the safe practice of modern medicine.

There are real problems in Texas affecting children that our lawmakers should be addressing instead of wasting time and taxpayer dollars restricting access to abortion. If the lawmakers in our state truly cared about protecting the dignity of life, they would focus on fixing the broken foster care system and CPS reform.

It’s clear that these embryonic and fetal tissue burial rules only serve to restrict and stigmatize abortion and shame people for their private health care decisions.”