One Year Later, Our Fight Continues Stronger Than Ever

Today I’m filled with emotion remembering some of the biggest moments in our movement for reproductive freedom in Texas. Four years ago this past Sunday, thousands of us filled the Capitol building with our voices, killing the bill Sen. Wendy Davis spoke against for 13 hours.

That bill—House Bill 2—eventually passed and our state lost more than half of its abortion clinics. One year ago today, I cried tears of joy with my staff and colleagues in the now-reopened Whole Woman’s Health of Austin clinic when the Supreme Court struck down two of the most harmful restrictions in HB 2.

Unfortunately, we do not have time for much nostalgia because in 21 days, the Legislature is coming back for a special session and Gov. Greg Abbott has promised to put even more abortion restrictions on the agenda. We need you fighting with us at the Capitol in July. Will you contribute $25 to NARAL Pro-Choice Texas today?

During the regular legislative session, anti-abortion lawmakers passed another horribly restrictive law that requires health providers to bury or cremate all embryonic and fetal tissue and criminalizes the most common abortion procedure after 13 weeks. And with more regulations to come, we need your help to fight back. Will you become part of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas’ legislative defense today?

With your help, we will keep fighting for our reproductive freedoms at the Capitol. Thank you for being with us through the years, and being there for abortion access once again.

Proud to continue fighting with you,

Heather Busby

 

What you need to know about the Fight Back Texas Truth Tour

Since the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 2 in 2013, abortion clinics across the state have been forced to close because of the law’s needless restrictions, taking away access for so many Texans who need abortion care. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case that challenges the law, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

Leading up to this hearing, we’re reaching out to all Texans in our Fight Back Texas Truth Tour.TruthTour_SocialTemplate1 We pledge to give people the resources to tell their own stories and to voice their own support for access to abortion, support local clinics and abortion funds, and register people to VOTE for leaders that share their values. Whole Woman’s Health, Shift., NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Texas Research Institute, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, ACLU of Texas and URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity are teaming up to spread the word across Texas that abortion is still legal and that we’re fighting harder than ever keep it safe and accessible.

Find a Truth Tour stop in your area:

College Station: Friday, February 5

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Houston: Saturday, February 6

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San Antonio: Tuesday, February 9

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McAllen: Wednesday, February 10

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El Paso: Friday, February 12

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Can’t make it to one of these events or just want to stay updated with Fight Back Texas? Fill out the form below:

Support activists heading to D.C. for Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole!

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We want the nation to hear the voices of Texas activists, especially those from communities most affected by House Bill 2. That’s why your help is needed to get these young people to Washington, D.C. for oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, the lawsuit that’s fighting back for Texans’ access to abortion. We’re also looking for places for these activists to stay, which you can sign up for at the link below.

Click here to contribute!

In the summer of 2013, Texans from diverse backgrounds came to the Texas Capitol so lawmakers could hear their voices in opposition to harmful abortion restrictions. These restrictions caused more than half the state’s clinics to close. Now that a challenge that could impact abortion access nationwide is before the Supreme Court, we want the nation to hear the voices of Texas activists, especially those from communities most affected.

Thank you for helping us make this possible!

House Bill 2 is officially heading to the Supreme Court. What’s next?

The Supreme Court of the United States officially signaled Friday that they would hear Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, the case against Texas’ most damaging anti-choice law, House Bill 2. It’s been 20 years since the Court has heard a case concerning access to abortion, the last time being Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992.

Planned Parenthood v. Casey set the legal standard of an “undue burden” –meaning that those who take anti-choice laws to court have to prove that the law creates a “substantial obstacle” to abortion access. In Texas, House Bill 2 has closed swaths of clinics, especially those in West Texas. The Rio Grande Valley in particular would have no abortion provider had the Supreme Court not placed a stay on the law – otherwise, patients would have to make the 200+ mile drive to San Antonio to get the care that they need.

The other component of the case, according to SCOTUSblog, is “whether the Fifth Circuit erred in concluding that this standard permits Texas to enforce, in nearly all circumstances, laws that would cause a significant reduction in the availability of abortion services while failing to advance the State’s interest in promoting health – or any other valid interest.”

The timeline of abortion access in Texas since 2013.

The timeline of abortion access in Texas since 2013.

Since Senator Wendy Davis’ historic filibuster of House Bill 2 in 2013, Texas abortion providers have opened and closed their doors as the law has bounced around the court system, having successful rulings by a federal judge in Austin only to be struck down by the more-conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Now that the court has taken up Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, the nine justices will hear the case sometime during Spring 2016. Like many of the current Court’s rulings on contentious issues, they will likely be split in their ruling, with Justice Anthony Kennedy serving as the swing vote. Similar to their order to put a stay on House Bill 2, Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Scalia, Justice Alito and Justice Thomas will likely dissent, while Justice Ginsberg, Justice Breyer, Justice Sotomayor and Justice Kagan will probably vote to strike down House Bill 2. Justice Kennedy will likely hold a lot of power, and Texans’ access to abortion care, in his hands.

Texas AG Ken Paxton Writes a Letter Asking for More Abortion Restrictions

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a man making constant and desperate attempts to look like he’s on the moral high ground while he’s under felony indictment for securities fraud, sent a letter to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus pushing for even more laws restricting Texans’ access to abortion. This is Paxton’s latest attempt to take advantage of the recent attacks on Planned Parenthood that have been disproven over and over and over and over again.

Using the highly-edited attack videos as an excuse to push for anti-abortion policies, in the letter Paxton calls for policies that would:

• Ban certain types of abortion procedures

• Put more restrictions on how far into pregnancy people can have abortions

• Further restrict fetal tissue donation

• Put more unnecessary regulations on abortion providers

• Allow the Texas government to further interfere with the doctor-patient relationship

• Require abortion providers to contact the police whenever a minor 16 years old or younger seeks abortion care.

Paxton is seeking solutions to problems that do not exist, putting the health and safety of all Texans of reproductive age at risk and inserting himself into private family decisions. He is engaging in political posturing and he’s doing it on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in Texas.

Paxton’s callous disregard for Texans’ health and wellbeing comes right after new research revealed that the widespread abortion clinic closures as a result of HB 2 are substantially increasing wait times for abortion, pushing women seeking abortion care later into their pregnancies. The study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) found that wait times for an abortion went up to 23 days at clinics in Austin and Fort Worth. The longer wait times for abortion result in more second trimester abortions and the increased costs of later abortion procedures put safe abortion care out of reach for many Texans.

HB 2 has already forced more than half of the clinics in Texas to close since the law was passed in 2013. If the law goes into full effect, a mere 10 clinics will be left to services the 5.4 million Texas women of reproductive age, and wait times for an abortion will certainly continue to increase.

Paxton will stop at nothing to put safe abortion care out of reach and does not care about how that impacts people seeking that care. This was made perfectly clear in his recent reply brief to the Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole. His argument demonstrated that he doesn’t care about the impact HB 2 has on the nearly one million women who live more than 150 miles from a clinic and are unable to travel to access safe abortion care – he only cares that they continue to stay pregnant when they don’t want to be.

We’re on the front lines fighting these attacks. Your monthly membership to NARAL Pro-Choice Texas ensures we have the resources to stay strong. 

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Read Paxton’s letter below or download it here.

Interim Charges on Religious Liberties