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.

STATEMENT: TX House Approves an Additional $20 Million to Anti-Abortion CPCs

Texas House Approves an Additional $20 Million to Anti-Abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers

For Release: 4-6-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

AUSTIN, TX — During debate on the 2018-19 state budget, the Texas House approved an additional $20 million per two-year budget cycle for the Alternatives to Abortion program. This program funnels millions of tax dollars to manipulative, deceptive crisis pregnancy centers that intentionally lie to and coerce pregnant Texans.

Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement on the funding increase for crisis pregnancy centers—

“It is shameful that the state continues to give millions of health care dollars to non-medical entities that lie to, shame and manipulate Texans considering an abortion, especially at a time when vulnerable children are dying in foster care, public education remains chronically underfunded and cuts to Medicaid for disabled kids remain in place.

Crisis pregnancy centers are not comprehensive health centers and do not provide Texans with the full range of available options. CPCs exist to prevent people facing unintended pregnancies from accessing abortion care and delay their care to the point where they’re not able to access abortion. These centers use scare tactics and provide scientifically inaccurate information to their patients and are ultimately dangerous to the health and safety of pregnant Texans.

It is unconscionable that lawmakers voted against a budget amendment to move this money to the family planning program and instead increased funding by $20 million for ideologically motivated CPCs and refused to fund legitimate health care providers.”

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Statement: More than 2,600 Texans Sign Petition to Expand Access to Reproductive Health Care

For Immediate Release

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

On Monday afternoon, reproductive rights activists delivered a petition with more than 2,600 signatures to House Speaker Joe Straus, demanding that the Texas Legislature stop restricting abortion access and instead prioritize expanding access to reproductive health care. Heather Busby, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, made the following statement —

“Time and time again, Texans have made it clear that they won’t stand for attacks on their reproductive rights. Since the Supreme Court struck down some of the state’s harshest abortion restrictions last summer, anti-choice legislators have ramped up their attacks on health care by introducing bills that would interfere in the doctor-patient relationship and force doctors to practice substandard medicine. Rather than playing politics with people’s private health care decisions, these legislators should listen to the majority of Texans who support access to safe, legal abortion. Our reproductive rights are not up for grabs and it’s time anti-choice politicians realized this.

The Texas Legislature should prioritize policies that improve the health and well-being of all Texans. We call on our legislators to pass measures that actually expand access to birth control and abortion care and help Texas families, such as closing the gender pay gap, fixing the broken foster care system and providing greater protections for breastfeeding parents.”