Statement: Texas Senate Passes SB 20, A Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

For Release: 3-22-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Today, the Texas Senate passed on second reading Senate Bill 20, which would ban private insurance plans from covering abortion care. The bill also does not make exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomalies. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement:

“Access to health care, including abortion, should not be limited by one’s income. In restricting insurance coverage for abortion, Senate Bill 20 jeopardizes Texans’ health and disproportionately impacts low-income Texans, people of color and their families, and young people.

SB 20 jeopardizes the ability of private citizens to use their own money to buy health insurance that includes abortion coverage, making it so that Texans must purchase supplemental coverage instead. No one knows in advance what surgeries or medication they may need in the future, so why do we expect Texans to know if they will need an abortion?

Having insurance coverage for abortion is important to ensure that every Texan can access the care they need in a timely manner. It is wrong for the government to place restrictions on private health insurance companies looking to offer a full range of reproductive health services, including abortion.”

Statement on Final Passage of Anti-Abortion Bill SB 415

For Release: 3-20-2017

Contact: [email protected], 214-404-8254

On Monday, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 415, which bans a safe, proven medical procedure. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“Today, politicians in the Texas Legislature continued their attack on the doctor-patient relationship and our reproductive rights. SB 415 is a thinly-veiled attempt to ban abortion, shame Texans who have abortions, and criminalize the safe practice of medicine.

This measure would prevent doctors from using their best medical judgment when treating their patients and would put patients’ health, safety and lives at risk. Every woman’s pregnancy experience is different, and doctors need all options available to treat their individual patients. Politicians should leave the practice of medicine to physicians.

Texans have shown again and again that they won’t stand for attacks on abortion access. It is long past time for anti-choice legislators to stop playing politics with our reproductive health, passing measures that put patients’ health and safety at risk and grossly intrude on the doctor-patient relationship.”

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Senate Bill 415, filed by Senator Charles Perry, would ban a safe, medically-proven method of performing abortions later in pregnancy.

ACT NOW: Oppose SB 20, 25, and 415

At what felt like lightning speed on Wednesday, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 8 — a bill that bans the donation of fetal tissue for research purposes.

But it didn’t stop there.

Next, senators took their first vote on Senate Bill 415, which grossly intrudes on the doctor-patient relationship and bans a safe medical procedure. Senators take their final vote on SB 415 Monday. We also expect Senate Bill 20 — which bans insurance coverage for abortion — and Senate Bill 25 — which allows doctors to lie to their pregnant patients — to hit the floor soon.

Here’s what you can do NOW:

1. Call your senators and tell them to VOTE NO on SB 20, SB 25, and SB 415. Click here to find out who represents you and feel free to use the call script below:

Hello,

My name is [NAME] and I live in zip code [ZIP]. I am one of Senator [NAME]’s constituents.

I’m calling to ask that the senator vote NO on Senate Bill 20, 25, and 415 and stop interfering in people’s private medical decisions.

Texans must be able to make their own decisions with the advice of the doctors they trust. According to medical experts, SB 415 will do nothing to make women safer, and if passed, would harm Texans seeking abortion care. SB 20 will cut off access to abortion, especially for low-income Texans, people of color and young people; SB 25 allows doctors to lie to their pregnant patients.

[Insert your own story, if you’d like.]

I’m counting on the senator to do the right thing by respecting Texans and trusting doctors. Please vote NO on Senate Bill 20, 25 and 415.
Thank you, I appreciate your time.

2. Sign our petition demanding that lawmakers stop wasting their time on baseless, dangerous abortion restrictions and instead focus on expanding access to reproductive health care and supporting Texas families.

Oppose SB 4: Immigrant Justice is Reproductive Justice

This Wednesday the House State Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on SB 4, which would punish local and state government entities, as well as college campuses, that refuse to cooperate with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials or enforce immigration laws.

As we fight for the fundamental right of every person to maintain bodily autonomy, to make their own reproductive health care decisions with access to the full range of options, and to live and raise families in healthy, safe communities, with dignity and justice, this legislation is of the utmost concern.

The health and rights of 1.5 million undocumented immigrants living in Texas are already profoundly compromised by their immigration status. Undocumented immigrants are often forced to work in industries that are undervalued, underpaid, hazardous to their health, lacking in basic worker protections, and offer no benefits. Not surprisingly, a majority of them do not have health care coverage. As a result, undocumented immigrants are less likely to receive adequate reproductive health care.

However, as federal agencies ramp up their use of deportation raids as an immigration enforcement tactic under the Trump administration, the threat of deportation is proving to be as great a barrier to accessing health care as the systemic disenfranchisement undocumented immigrants have faced throughout their experience in the United States.

Undocumented individuals frequently report forgoing or delaying care for fear that they will be reported to immigration officials. Stories like that of a Mexican woman detained in Houston at a gynecologist’s appointment and of a Salvadoran woman with a brain tumor forcefully taken out of the hospital where she was being treated in Burleson, Texas, and back to a detention center add to an atmosphere of panic and deter vulnerable individuals from seeking the care they need.

SB 4 would give local law enforcement agencies in Texas no choice but to facilitate this aggressive wave of deportations, breaking up families and communities and further marginalizing a population that, in fact, is an integral part of our state’s social, cultural and economic fabric. This bill would encourage dangerous profiling practices and tie city and county officials’ hands in determining public safety priorities, as well as discouraging victims and witnesses from reporting crimes. If enacted, SB 4 would make all Texans less safe.

Here’s how you can help stop this dangerous measure:

  1. Call the members of the State Affairs Committee and tell them to oppose SB 4:

– Chair, Byron Cook: 512-463-0730

– Vice Chair, Helen Giddings: 512-463-0953

– Tom Craddick: 512-463-0500

– Charlie Geren: 512-463-0610

– Jessica Farrar: 512-463-0620

– Ryan Guillen: 512-463-0416

– Ken King: 512-463-0736

– John Kuempel: 512-462-0602

– Morgan Meyer: 512-463-0367

– Rene Oliveira: 512-463-0640

– Chris Paddie: 512-463-0674

– Eddie Rodriguez: 512-463-0674

– John T. Smithee: 512-463-0702

2. Call your OWN representative, to let them know that you are against SB 4. Find out who represents you here.

3. Come to the State Affairs Committee Hearing on Wednesday, March 15. It will be at the Capitol in the extension, room E2.036. Notice of the hearing can be found here.

4. Testify at the Hearing. If you are willing to take your advocacy to the next level, consider testifying at the State Affairs Committee Hearing. You will need to deliver a 3-minute testimony stating that you are against SB 4. Here is more information about how to register to testify.

 

Statement: Texas Senate HHS Hears Multiple Anti-Abortion Bills Designed to Shame and Stigmatize Texans

Texas Senate HHS Hears Multiple Anti-Abortion Bills Designed to Shame and Stigmatize Texans

For Release: 2-15-2017

Contact: [email protected], 214-404-8254

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services held a public hearing on three restrictive anti-abortion bills — Senate Bills 8, 258, and 415. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement

“Politicians in the Texas Legislature are once again attacking a person’s right to make their own private health care decisions. Every person’s pregnancy experience is different and people need all the options available to make the decision that’s best for them and their family.

Today’s hearing revealed once again that anti-choice politicians continue to rely on ideologues and scare tactics to peddle these baseless measures. The hearing also revealed no regard for the dignity of pregnant Texans or the legal system. All of the bills heard by the Senate today are thinly veiled attempts to ban abortion. Banning the safest methods of abortion does nothing to enhance patients’ health and safety; in fact, banning abortion methods puts people’s lives at risk. There is no room for politicians in the exam room.

Dozens of Texans testified in opposition to these bills, calling on the Legislature to stop attacking reproductive health care. Texans have shown again and again that they won’t stand for attacks on abortion access. It is long past time for anti-choice legislators to stop playing politics with health care and passing measures that put patients’ health and safety at risk and grossly intrude on the doctor-patient relationship.”

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Senate Bill 8, filed by Senators Charles Schwertner, Donna Campbell, Lois Kolkhorst, Jane Nelson and Charles Perry, would ban the donation of fetal tissue from abortion clinics for research purposes and contains a copy of an existing federal ban of a common and extremely safe abortion procedure.

Senate Bill 258, filed by Senator Don Huffines, codifies a politically motivated rule, currently enjoined by a federal judge, requiring the burial or cremation of embryonic and fetal tissue following an abortion. It would also require Texans seeking abortion to complete a state-mandated tissue disposition form prior to their abortion.
Senate Bill 415, filed by Senator Charles Perry, would ban the safest method of performing abortions later in pregnancy.