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.”

STATEMENT: Federal Court Blocks Dangerous Provision of SB 8 From Going Into Effect

Federal Court Blocks Dangerous Provision of SB 8 From Going Into Effect

For Release: 8-31-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Austin, TX — Today, a federal court ruled to temporarily block the enactment of a provision of Senate Bill 8 that bans the safest and most common method of abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. A coalition of abortion providers represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood Federation of America brought suit against SB 8 in July. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“NARAL Pro-Choice Texas is proud to stand with our partners in their fight against attacks on abortion access. SB 8 is part of a coordinated national strategy designed to shame people who get abortions, tie the hands of doctors and ban abortion method by method. This bill criminalizes physicians for exercising their best medical judgment and is a dangerous intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship.

Today’s ruling comes after a hateful special legislative session in which anti-choice lawmakers passed a bill that bans private insurance coverage for abortion. The courts, as well as Texans around the state, see through the Legislature’s thinly-veiled attacks that aim to make abortion inaccessible in Texas.

It is shameful that anti-choice lawmakers have no regard for established law or for people’s rights and insist on wasting precious taxpayer dollars defending laws they know to be unconstitutional. It is long past time for lawmakers to stop playing politics with our health care and stop passing measures that risk patients’ health and safety.”

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STATEMENT: Texas Will Revoke Family Planning Money Given to Anti-Abortion Organization

Texas Will Revoke Family Planning Money Given to Anti-Abortion Organization  

For Release: 8-22-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Austin, TX — Yesterday, it was revealed that Texas will reallocate more than $4 million of the state’s family planning budget from a grant awarded to The Heidi Group, an anti-abortion organization that provides no health care. NARAL Pro-Choice Texas has repeatedly criticized the state’s decision to award The Heidi Group this funding. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“The Heidi Group’s contract with HHSC demonstrates just how far Texas will go in putting politics over people, especially when it comes to reproductive health. There was nothing in The Heidi Group’s operations or history to indicate that this non-medical organization was even remotely qualified to provide reproductive health care.

Carol Everett has made several statements that demonstrate her lack of understanding of basic public health concepts, such as testifying before the state health agency that HIV and STIs can be transmitted and contracted through our water supply. Yet, the state went to extremes to withhold funds from qualified providers in order to award undeserved millions of taxpayer dollars to an ideological, anti-choice organization with ties to fake providers like crisis pregnancy centers. Tens of thousands of Texans in need of vital health care will pay the price for our state leadership’s unhealthy relationship with anti-abortion zealots like Everett.

Family planning dollars should be going directly to medical providers who have experience providing family planning and preventive care services, not anti-abortion organizations that aim to coerce and manipulate.

There must be an investigation into how and why the health department awarded The Heidi Group such a large contract that they were not qualified to fulfill.”

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STATEMENT: Gov. Abbott Signs Bills that Further Attack Abortion Access

Gov. Abbott Signs Bills that Further Attack Abortion Access

For Release: 8-15-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

AUSTIN, TX — Today, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law House Bills 214 and 13. HB 214 jeopardizes Texans’ health and safety by restricting insurance coverage for abortion and makes no exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomalies. HB 13 directly targets abortion providers by imposing extensive, medically unnecessary reporting requirements. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“Throughout the regular legislative session and this special session, we have seen attack after attack on our reproductive freedoms. The bills Gov. Abbott signed today are two in a long line of politically-motivated restrictions on abortion access that anti-choice lawmakers have forced through the Legislature, all of which prohibit Texans from making the decisions that are best for them. These attacks come from a concerted national effort to cut off access to abortion care.

What’s clear is that Texans do not and will not stand for Gov. Abbott and Lt Gov. Dan Patrick’s hateful agenda. Texans have turned out to protest attacks on health care, transgender people, public education and local control throughout this special session, starting with the One Texas Resistance Rally on the first day of the special session and continued protests throughout the session.

It’s long past time for elected officials in our state to stop attacking abortion access to score political points and actually do the work their constituents elected them to do. The majority of Texans who support abortion access will continue to make their voices heard until legislators stop shaming people for their private health care decisions.”

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STATEMENT: Texas House Passes HB 214, a Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

Texas House Passes HB 214, a Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

For Release: 8-8-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Austin, TX — Today, the Texas House passed on second reading House Bill 214, a ban on private insurance coverage for abortion. The bill does not make exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomalies.

Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement upon passage —

“Texans should be able to make reproductive health decisions, including the decision to have an abortion, with dignity and respect and without politicians interfering with abortion coverage bans like HB 214. Texans from across the state fought hard this special session to preserve and protect our health and basic rights. Unfortunately, some politicians remain single-mindedly fixated on pushing abortion out of reach in our state. If last year’s Supreme Court ruling won’t slow them down—Texans will have to do it ourselves.

We will continue making our voices heard and growing our numbers until we can defeat these politically-motivated attacks on abortion coverage.”