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.”

#SoProLife: the anti-life priorities of Gov. Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton

This week an extremist anti-abortion group released a heavily edited, deceptive undercover video targeting Planned Parenthood. The short version of the video misleads the viewer into thinking the doctor is discussing the sale of fetal body parts, but the longer, nearly three hour version makes it clear that they’re discussing voluntary tissue donation that patients request and extensively consent to. Any money exchanged is only to reimburse the costs of shipping the donations to facilities that perform lifesaving medical research.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton were quick to join the witch hunt as this false scandal hit the news cycle by calling for an investigation. Since they’re both currently embroiled in their own ethical and legal troubles, it’s not surprising how eager they are to turn the attention to one pet cause that is guaranteed to rile up their extreme right-wing base: abortion. Not surprisingly, anti-choice members of the Legislature have wasted no time in responding, setting a Senate Health and Human Services committee meeting for the Planned Parenthood investigation on July 29.

Meanwhile, real scandals that affect the state are happening and Abbott and Paxton haven’t lifted a finger to do anything about them. For example, children born in Texas – United States citizens by birthright – are being routinely denied birth certificates, simply because their mothers don’t have US passports.

Who does this to babies? Denying a baby a birth certificate is tantamount to denying them health care, education, future jobs and, basically, their identity. It’s cruel, racist and unacceptable…except to Abbott, who is apparently just fine with the practice.

How can Abbott tout how “pro-life” he is when he hasn’t done a single thing to right this horrible injustice? It wouldn’t take much for him to direct the Health and Human Services Commission to knock it off with this awful and illegal practice, but he hasn’t bothered to make a statement or even a phone call. His lack of action is apparent as this has been going on for some time and now the mothers have to sue the state for their rights.

Then there’s the suspicious death of Sandra Bland after she was jailed in a county known for racism and hostility toward black residents. Abbott tweeted once about Sandra Bland’s death on July 17, but hasn’t publicly called for a full-scale investigation or denounced the way Ms. Bland was treated. Paxton has also been silent.

These elected officials are #SoProLife that babies born in border counties don’t matter and a black woman’s death doesn’t deserve the same outrage as a manufactured scandal based on lies intended to further restrict access to safe abortion care. Shame on Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton.


PETITION: Tell Governor Abbott to VETO HB 3994

The time to act is now!

Gov. Abbott is expected to sign HB 3994 this week – a devastating bill that removes the only option for abused and neglected teens who need an abortion, judicial bypass. Tell Gov. Abbott to veto this cruel bill by signing the petition below.

HB 3994 has done almost everything possible to limit access to the courts for young people who are unable to involve a parent in their abortion decision. Teenagers without a parent to be found, teenagers in abusive homes and teenagers who have suffered sexual assault from a family member will no longer have a choice when it comes to an unintended pregnancy.

Thank you for speaking out to ensure that all Texans can access safe, legal and timely abortion care when they need it.