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.”

###

My experience as a student of an abstinence only school

The only thing that I was taught in my “sex ed” class was the word abstinence. Yet, Texas remains as having one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in America; clearly, this method of education is ineffective. My health teacher had only once mentioned contraception methods such as condoms and birth control pills but followed with, “The ultimate contraception is abstinence.” In my 12 years of public schooling, the word abortion is yet to be spoken by any of my teachers. I have one year left, so I’ll update if that miraculously changes.

Merely thinking about abortion is regarded as sacrilege in my high school. Because of the student body’s very conservative and religious majority combined with their lack of awareness, abortion is considered the embodiment of Satan. Pro-choice students like myself must hide their beliefs from the wraths and harsh judgement of anti-choice people.

unnamed-1

Annika Mukherjee

These students are not bad or wrong in their beliefs, just misled. They likely assume the same beliefs as their parents, as they aren’t informed of it in school and are unable to form their own unswayed opinions, but their parents were once misled students as well, especially if they grew up in Texas. This points to an unfortunate reality: generations upon generations of uninformed students, causing recycled years of uneducated decisions and ill-conceived conclusions.

Sexual education needs to stop tiptoeing around prominent issues in our society. We must address rape because so many my age do not understand the concept of consent. We must address the importance of respecting partners and their boundaries or choices. We must face the fact that most students will not abstain, and in turn, teach safe sex. We must comprehensively acknowledge the chances of pregnancy and the option of abortion with sources of both support and opposition. We must clarify that pro-choice people are for the right of people having options to choose what they want to do with their own pregnancies. We must show that pro-choice people are not against life but against people feeling powerless when facing their futures.

When first immersing myself in this movement and developing my own opinions, I came across the famous quote: “A woman does not want an abortion like she wants an ice cream cone, a new dress, or a Porsche; she wants an abortion like an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg to escape.” This is an idea that is almost entirely unknown by my peers, one that changed me and one that could change many.

Students must know that the reproductive justice movement is more than abortion vs. baby; it is a fight for people and the strength of our voices. It is strongly believed that to change the future, we must change the youth. Changing sex education in Texas public schools would stop cycles of ignorance at the source and gain support for our movement.

Show your support for Houston Men for Choice by reviving the Taco or Beer Challenge

As you may have heard, anti-choice folks are in a tizzy that we’re renting out a space at Saint Arnold Brewing Company​ for our Houston Men for Choice event, and they’ve taken to the Internet to harass and bully the brewery:

11140272_10204149033235493_6207967997557313375_n

We want you to enjoy your beer with happiness. Important to note: as of today, most of the posts on the brewery’s page are overwhelmingly in support of our event, overshadowing the anti-choice comments from days before (via Saint Arnold’s Facebook page).

Well now there’s something you can do to support them – and it comes in the form of the Taco or Beer Challenge.

If you don’t remember, the Taco or Beer Challenge was started by progressive activist and journalist Andrea Grimes mostly as a response to the online phenomenon that was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but also to raise money for abortion funds. Now, as Saint Arnold’s Brewing Company faces the anti-choice bullies in Houston, the Taco or Beer Challenge rides again. Here’s a post from Andrea Greer, a pro-choice Houston activist who suggested the revamp:

The fearless feminist journalist Andrea Grimes challenged us all last year to eat a taco, or drink a beer, or both, or something else, and donate to an abortion fund. What a great challenge! This spring in Houston, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas is hosting an event at the Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Saint Arnold rents the brewery out to all kinds of organizations, and they don’t discriminate. They just like people who like beer. The same bullies who stand outside of clinics yelling at people who may or may not be going inside to have abortions have started yelling at Saint Arnold online for renting their space to NARAL Pro-Choice Texas.

Well, you know how we feel about bullies, right? Our enthusiasm for bullies is inversely proportional to our enthusiasm for beer drinking challenges. Our challenge to you – go buy a Saint Arnold beer. Hey, get a six-pack. And maybe get a taco. Or some burgers. Or tamales. Or fried chicken. Or donuts. Heck, whatever – just go get that beer to show the bullies that peace, love, and understanding conquers all, and goes down better with a cold one!Next, go make a donation – doesn’t matter how much – to NARAL Pro-Choice Texas.

Finally, send a picture of yourself enjoying your beer, or making your donation, or doing both at the same time, so we can post it & show our friends at Saint Arnold and NARAL Pro-Choice Texas how we feel about them.

You read it here, folks: go get yourself your favorite brew from Saint Arnold’s Brewing Company (available across Texas), have a taco, donate to our work and submit your photos!

Want to attend a Men for Choice event, whether it’s in Houston, Austin or Dallas? Head here to get your tickets to celebrate the diverse voices in our movement for reproductive freedom.

Report Reveals Texas Women’s Health Program Inflates Number of Medical Providers

Some Texas counties do not have any valid providers under the program. 

We recently conducted an in-depth spot check of all the Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP) provider listings in 26 Texas counties to check and see if the providers it lists on its website are actually offering full gynecology services. Of the 681 TWHP provider listings, there are only 113 actual providers offering services and taking new TWHP clients. Of these places we called, many did not routinely offer the preventative gynecological services that TWHP is meant to cover because they are emergency rooms, fertility clinics and, in one instance, a Subway Sandwich shop.

Want to read the full report? Head here to get the download link.

Men for Choice

Featured image
Elected officials in Texas keep trying to force a narrow, anti-choice agenda through. They seem to think there’s only one right way to live your life – from the partner you choose, to the family you have, to the healthcare decisions you make – but in the movement for reproductive freedom in our state, we know Texans are not all the same, and that’s a source of strength for us. We’re in this together: pro-choice Texans of all backgrounds, identities, genders and perspectives.

That’s why we’re proud to honor the men in our movement at this year’s Men For Choice events!

Men For Choice Dallas – Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | Tickets and information
Men For Choice Austin – Thursday, June 4, 2015 | Tickets and information
Men For Choice HoustonTuesday, May 26, 2015 Monday, June 29 | Tickets and information

Each Men For Choice event directly supports the critical lobbying and advocacy work NARAL Pro-Choice Texas is doing right now to protect reproductive rights during the 2015 Texas legislative session. We hope to see you at a M4C event near you soon!