Don’t let Texas take away insurance coverage for abortion.

Last week, the State Affairs committee heard HB 214, which would ban private insurance plans from coverage abortions and disproportionately target low-income Texans.

HB 214 bans coverage of abortion under all health benefit plans, including private plans purchased through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. The bill has no exceptions in cases of rape.

CALL the members of the House Committee on State Affairs to voice your opposition. Feel free to use the script below —

Hi, my name is ______.
I’m calling to ask Rep. _____, who is a member of the House State Affairs Committee, to vote NO on HB 214. 
HB 214 will cut off access to abortion for low-income and rural Texans and communities of color. If passed, this bill will directly harm Texas families, who need their insurance plans to cover the full range of pregnancy related care, including abortion. 
 
[Insert your own story, if you like.]
 
I’m counting on the representative to do the right thing and respect pregnant Texans by voting NO on HB 214. 
 
Thank you for your time.
Texas House State Affairs Committee
  • Byron Cook (chair)       (512) 463-0730
  • Helen Giddings (vice-chair)       (512) 463-0953
  • Tom Craddick       (512) 463-0500
  • Jessica Farrar       (512) 463-0620
  • Charlie Geren       (512) 463-0610
  • Ryan Guillen       (512) 463-0416
  • Ken King       (512) 463-0736
  • John Kuempel       (512) 463-0602
  • Morgan Meyer       (512) 463-0367
  • René Oliveira       (512) 463-0640
  • Chris Paddie       (512) 463-0556
  • Eddie Rodriguez       (512) 463-0674
  • John T. Smithee       (512) 463-0702

Stop two anti-abortion bills from going on the House floor.

We expect that at least two anti-abortion bills, HB 214 and HB 14, will be heard before the full House floor soon. These bills are medically unnecessary and will directly harm Texas families who are already struggling to pay for healthcare costs.

HB 214 bans coverage of abortion under all health benefit plans, including private plans purchased through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. The bill has no exceptions in cases of rape.

HB 14 prohibits local government entities including cities and counties, hospital districts, and state agencies from partnering with health providers that also perform abortions or are affiliated with an abortion provider.

Now is the time to CALL the members on the House Calendars Committee and tell them to stop these 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 HB 214 and HB 14 to the full Texas House floor for debate and vote.  
Lawmakers should not be rewarded for targeting low income families and stigmatizing health care. HB 214 and HB 14 have no public health benefit and will cut off access to affordable health care for people across the state. If passed, these bills will further stigmatize abortion care and negatively impact clinics that do important work in their local communities. 
 
[Insert your own story, if you like.]
 
I’m counting on the representative to do the right thing and respect pregnant Texans by STOPPING HB 214 and HB 14 from going before the full House floor. 
 
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

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

Anti-Abortion Bills and House Bill Deadline Week

It’s a big week for House bills at the Texas Legislature. Thursday marks the last day that the full House can debate and vote on bills that originated in that chamber, and the following anti-abortion bills are expected to come up for debate before then—

House Bill 2962—This bill increases abortion complications reporting requirements for hospitals and other medical facilities. Abortion is already one of the safest medical procedures and Texas already has rigorous standards and reporting requirements in place. This bill is another in a long line of attacks on abortion providers and the abortion procedure with the goal of intimidating and shaming Texans seeking care.

House Bill 3771—This bill changes the definition of “abortion” in statute to clarify that surgeries to remove ectopic pregnancies are not considered an abortion under state law and therefore patients do not have to endure medically unnecessary and stigmatizing restrictions such as state-mandated biased counseling or forced sonograms. Because it does not include exemptions for other pregnancy-related complications and makes exceptions for some circumstances but not others, this bill is clearly another attempt to politicize abortion.

House Bill 1936—This bill is a broadly defunds Planned Parenthood by prohibiting “taxpayer resource transactions” with abortion facilities. This bill is yet another in a long line of legislation to shut down abortion providers and harm the health of men and women who seek health care services at Planned Parenthood.

House Bill 200—This bill contains a copy of a federal ban on a specific method of abortion; it also prohibits the donation of fetal tissue from an abortion for research purposes and requires cremation and burial of embryonic/fetal tissue following an abortion.

House Bill 2858—This bill requires abortion facilities to post informational and assistance for human trafficking signs. It also increases the penalty for traffickers if the commission of the crime resulted in an abortion, as well as increases the penalties for traffickers who coerce or force a victim into having an abortion. Victims of human trafficking experience a wide variety of health problems, such as respiratory infections and dental problems. A genuine effort to identify victims should include other health care providers equally or more likely to come into contact with human trafficking victims, such as emergency rooms, dentists, and low-cost clinics. Without expanding the scope of this bill to include these providers, this bill is simply a targeted regulation of abortion providers.

CALL your House members now and demand that they oppose these political, medically unnecessary abortion restrictions. Click here to find out who represents you.

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.