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: 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.”

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.

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.