STATEMENT: Texas Officials Continue Attacks on Abortion Care During Interim

Texas Officials Continue Attacks on Abortion Care During Interim

For Release: 2-21-2018

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Today, the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs met for an interim hearing to discuss granting the Attorney General power to prosecute abortion clinics and further target abortion care. Alexa Garcia-Ditta, communications director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“Today, Texas officials continued their relentless attack on abortion care. Wednesday’s hearing was another attempt by Texas to push a national agenda intended to end abortion care entirely and put essential healthcare out of reach for people across the state. There is no evidence that local district attorneys are refusing to prosecute violations of state law.

Ken Paxton’s proposal would give anti-abortion politicians like him more power, while further stigmatizing health care. Further, the Office of the Attorney General has no business usurping the power of locally elected district attorneys to politicize qualified clinics providing safe and dignified care to their communities.

Today’s hearing continued the state’s push for a national agenda that targets abortion providers and stigmatizes abortion care. Regulating abortion clinics differently than any other medical clinic only prevents people from accessing the health care they need. Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the country and is an essential component of health care—it’s time Texas officials treated it as such.”

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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.

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Read Paxton’s letter below or download it here.

Interim Charges on Religious Liberties

Paxton wants you to ignore his legal woes and applaud him for attacking Texans’ health care

 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is doing everything in his power to try to distract people from his legal scandals, and although his tactics aren’t working, they’re putting Texans’ health care at risk. Paxton is not only wasting taxpayers’ money on a sham investigation attacking abortion providers, but he’s now going after access to contraceptives.

Last Monday, Paxton filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of a lawsuit over the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which requires employers with over 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance that covers contraceptives. Paxton’s brief argues that employees of religious nonprofits should not receive contraception coverage if their employers have religious objections to contraceptives.

The nonprofits that filed the lawsuit, two Baptists universities in Texas, argue that they shouldn’t have to cover IUDs and emergency contraceptives because they believe that these types of contraceptives are abortifacients—which is completely false as no type of contraceptive causes abortions.

Religious nonprofits can already seek an accommodation from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate on religious grounds, but the universities and Paxton don’t think that’s enough. The current accommodation allows religious nonprofits to be exempt from the mandate by simply filling out a form that allows their employees to receive contraception coverage directly from insurance companies instead of from their employers.

So what’s the problem?

In the brief, Paxton argues that by filling out the form, the universities’ religious beliefs are being violated because it “still triggers a process through which employees can obtain contraception.” This line makes it clear that this lawsuit isn’t about religious freedom: it’s about limiting access to contraception. Paxton even goes as far as to call the requirement that employers provide their employees with contraception coverage “draconian.”

What’s draconian is using religion as an excuse to deny a person access to health care. Every person should have coverage for the full range of reproductive health care, no matter where they work. A person should not be denied insurance coverage for a medication or procedure just because their boss or some politician is opposed to it.

Paxton is attacking Texans’ access to reproductive health care from every angle in the hopes that something will stick. At NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, we hope the only things that stick are the multiple felony charges he’s currently facing.