Honoring Dr. Bhavik Kumar’s work in this movement.

Dr. Kumar speaks at a rally on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2016. Photo Credit: Whole Woman’s Health

 

Abortion providers face immense obstacles when providing care for their patients. They put their lives at risk every single day to selflessly provide comprehensive and dignified health care for the people who come to their clinics. Dr. Bhavik Kumar’s strong advocacy in the face of continued attacks on abortion access by the Texas Legislature is invaluable for the people affected most by the state’s abortion restrictions. That’s why we’re so honored to present Dr. Kumar with Whole Woman’s Health the Fighting Spirit Award at this year’s Fall Celebration.

Dr. Kumar’s advocacy extends beyond the clinic. As legislatures across the country increasingly rely on medically inaccurate terms and scare tactics to push increased abortion restrictions, Dr. Kumar sought out opportunities to educate legislators and advocates on the realities of abortion care. This was especially useful during the last legislative session, when the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 8. The bill essentially bans second trimester abortions and makes it much harder for doctors to practice their best medical judgment when treating patients. From speaking at a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court prior to the HB 2 decision to working with reporters to demystify common abortion procedures, Dr. Kumar’s commitment to reducing stigma and spreading medically-accurate information is invaluable to our movement.   

At a time when anti-abortion activists are targeting abortion providers, Dr. Kumar’s intentional decision to speak publicly as an abortion provider is even further proof of his commitment to fighting for his patients’ rights to access compassionate abortion care in their communities. We at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas are so thankful to have the opportunity to honor the brave work Dr. Kumar does. Purchase your tickets now and join us on Oct. 19 at the Fall Celebration as we celebrate Dr. Kumar’s fighting spirit.

STATEMENT: Texas House Passes HB 214, a Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

Texas House Passes HB 214, a Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

For Release: 8-8-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Austin, TX — Today, the Texas House passed on second reading House Bill 214, a ban on private insurance coverage for abortion. The bill does not make exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomalies.

Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement upon passage —

“Texans should be able to make reproductive health decisions, including the decision to have an abortion, with dignity and respect and without politicians interfering with abortion coverage bans like HB 214. Texans from across the state fought hard this special session to preserve and protect our health and basic rights. Unfortunately, some politicians remain single-mindedly fixated on pushing abortion out of reach in our state. If last year’s Supreme Court ruling won’t slow them down—Texans will have to do it ourselves.

We will continue making our voices heard and growing our numbers until we can defeat these politically-motivated attacks on abortion coverage.”

STATEMENT: Gov. Abbott Announces More Devastating Attacks on Abortion Access for Special Session

For Release: 6-6-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Austin, TX — Today, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a special session to begin July 18 and laid out several pieces of anti-abortion legislation as his priorities, including a ban on private insurance coverage for abortion, burdensome reporting requirements for abortion providers and further regulations on how governments can contract with organizations like Planned Parenthood.

Gov. Abbott also signed into law SB 8, a cruel and shameful anti-abortion bill that severely restricts access to health care and effectively bans second trimester abortions.

Heather Busby, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement upon the announcement —

“It is disgusting and shameful that Gov. Abbott is wasting taxpayer dollars to force through even more regulations on our reproductive freedoms, especially after signing such a harmful bill in SB 8. And it is even more despicable that he is using the special session to systematically deny our human rights and civil liberties, wrenching away local control, attacking transgender people, forcing through school vouchers, and taking away our ability to unionize.

Restricting access to vital health care and targeting medical providers is cruel, hateful and dangerous. Gov. Abbott’s priorities for the special session jeopardize Texans’ health and safety and disproportionately impact low-income Texans, people of color and their families, and young people.

There is nothing ‘pro-life’ about denying health care to those who need it. Our reproductive rights are not political bargaining chips to be traded away.”

STATEMENT: Texas House Committee Hears HB 1113, a Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

Texas House Committee Hears HB 1113, a Ban on Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

For Release: 5-3-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

Austin, TX — Today, the Texas House State Affairs Committee heard House Bill 1113, which would ban private insurance plans from covering abortion care. The bill also does not make exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomalies and applies to all health plans offered in Texas. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement:

“The Texas Legislature should not be in the business of banning people’s access to health care, including abortion, based on their income. HB 1113 threatens Texans’ health and safety and disproportionately impacts low-income Texans, people of color and their families, and young people.

HB 1113 jeopardizes the ability of private citizens to use their own money to buy health insurance that includes abortion coverage, making it so that Texans must purchase supplemental coverage instead. No one knows in advance what surgeries or medication they may need in the future, so why do we expect Texans to know if they will need an abortion? Putting restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion is dangerous and disregards that every person’s pregnancy is different. Pregnant Texans deserve access to the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion, no matter what kind of insurance they have.

We stand against all bans that deny access to vital health care.”

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.