STATEMENT: Gov. Abbott Announces More Devastating Attacks on Abortion Access for Special Session

For Release: 6-6-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Austin, TX — Today, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a special session to begin July 18 and laid out several pieces of anti-abortion legislation as his priorities, including a ban on private insurance coverage for abortion, burdensome reporting requirements for abortion providers and further regulations on how governments can contract with organizations like Planned Parenthood.

Gov. Abbott also signed into law SB 8, a cruel and shameful anti-abortion bill that severely restricts access to health care and effectively bans second trimester abortions.

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

“It is disgusting and shameful that Gov. Abbott is wasting taxpayer dollars to force through even more regulations on our reproductive freedoms, especially after signing such a harmful bill in SB 8. And it is even more despicable that he is using the special session to systematically deny our human rights and civil liberties, wrenching away local control, attacking transgender people, forcing through school vouchers, and taking away our ability to unionize.

Restricting access to vital health care and targeting medical providers is cruel, hateful and dangerous. Gov. Abbott’s priorities for the special session jeopardize Texans’ health and safety and disproportionately impact low-income Texans, people of color and their families, and young people.

There is nothing ‘pro-life’ about denying health care to those who need it. Our reproductive rights are not political bargaining chips to be traded away.”

STATEMENT: Texas Legislature Advances Omnibus Anti-Abortion Bill

Texas Legislature Advances Cruel and Shameful Anti-Abortion Bill That Severely Restricts Access to Health Care

For Release: 5-26-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

AUSTIN, TX — Today, the Texas Senate voted 22 to 9 to accept the House amendments added to Senate Bill 8, an omnibus bill that would require burial or cremation of embryonic and fetal tissue, ban the use of fetal tissue for research and ban an extremely safe and medically approved method of abortion. With today’s vote, the bill is now headed for Governor Greg Abbott’s desk. Heather Busby, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement upon passage —

“In a complete disregard for previous court rulings, including last year’s Supreme Court decision reaffirming the right to an abortion, the Texas Legislature has passed another dangerous bill that will place an undue burden on people seeking an abortion. Texas taxpayers will now have to pay for expensive litigation because lawmakers insist on passing bills they know are unconstitutional, simply to appease an extremist anti-choice lobby.

SB 8 effectively bans second trimester abortions and will make abortion care immensely harder to access. This bill does nothing to benefit health and safety and is a dangerous intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship. Politics have no place in the exam room.

SB 8 severely restricts access to abortion and shames and stigmatizes people who have abortions. This is another shameful measure by the Texas Legislature.”

Demand House Lawmakers STOP Anti-Abortion Senate Bills in Their Tracks

After effectively killing more than 100 House bills—including two that would have addressed Texas’ disturbingly high maternal mortality rate—and passing two anti-abortion bills before last Thursday’s deadline to pass House bills, the Texas House now turns its attention to Senate bills, which it can pass for another week. The House Calendars Committee—which controls which bills are heard on the House floor and when—is considering an extreme and dangerous anti-abortion bill passed by the Senate earlier this session, and may have more on their plate later this week as House committees pass more Senate bills.
PLACED ON THE HOUSE CALENDAR FOR 5-19-2017 — Senate Bill 8 would ban the donation of fetal tissue from abortion clinics for research purposes and contains a copy of an existing federal ban of safe, medically-proven abortion procedure.  It also requires embryonic and fetal tissue to be buried or cremated, rather than handled according to current public health regulations.
Senate Bill 20 bans private health insurance plans from offering coverage for abortion care and forces Texans who experience an unplanned pregnancy or unexpected pregnancy complication to buy additional coverage. This bill will cut off access to affordable abortion care for low-income and rural Texans and people of color.

Senate Bill 25 would protect doctors who lie to pregnant patients, or fail to tell them about diagnoses related to the pregnancy.

Now is the time to CALL the members on the House Calendars Committee and tell them to stop these cruel, medically unnecessary bills from going to the House floor where they will undoubtedly be made worse. Feel free to use the script below:

Hi, my name is ______.
I’m calling to ask Rep. _____, who is a member of the House Calendars Committee, to REJECT sending SB 25 to the full Texas House floor for debate and vote.  The most extreme members of the legislature should not be rewarded or allowed to take credit for these bills moving to the house floor for debate.
 
Texans must be able to make their own medical decisions with the advice of the doctors they trust. Senate Bills 8, 20 and 25 interfere in the doctor-patient relationship, have no public health benefit and will cut off access to affordable health care. If passed, these bills would harm pregnant Texans.
 
[Insert your own story, if you like.]
 
I’m counting on the representative to do the right thing and respect pregnant Texans by STOPPING Senate Bill 25 in its tracks.
 
Thank you for your time.

Texas House Calendars Committee:

  • Chair, Todd Hunter: (512) 463-0672
  • Vice Chair, Donna Howard: (512) 463-0631
  • Roberto Alonzo: (512) 463-0408
  • Trent Ashby: (512) 463-0508
  • Byron Cook: (512) 463-0730
  • Sarah Davis: (512) 463-0389
  • Charlie Geren: (512) 463-0610
  • Helen Giddings: (512) 463-0953
  • Kyle Kacal: (512) 463-0412
  • Ken King: (512) 463-0736
  • Linda Koop: (512) 463-0454
  • Poncho Nevárez: (512) 463-0566
  • Chris Paddie: (512) 463-0556
  • Dade Phelan: (512) 463-0706
  • Toni Rose: (512) 463-0664

STATEMENT: Texas House Committee Hears HB 1113, a Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

Texas House Committee Hears HB 1113, a Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

For Release: 5-3-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Austin, TX — Today, the Texas House State Affairs Committee heard House Bill 1113, which would ban private insurance plans from covering abortion care. The bill also does not make exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomalies and applies to all health plans offered in Texas. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement:

“The Texas Legislature should not be in the business of banning people’s access to health care, including abortion, based on their income. HB 1113 threatens Texans’ health and safety and disproportionately impacts low-income Texans, people of color and their families, and young people.

HB 1113 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? Putting restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion is dangerous and disregards that every person’s pregnancy is different. Pregnant Texans deserve access to the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion, no matter what kind of insurance they have.

We stand against all bans that deny access to vital health care.”

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.