Release Alejandra Now!

On this International Women’s Day, we call for an end to injustices in our country against immigrants and demand the immediate release of powerful immigrant and reproductive justice activist Alejandro Pablos, who the U.S. government unjustly detained this week. Alejandra’s arrest follows a pattern of retaliation against immigrants’ rights organizers. Immigrant justice is reproductive justice and activists should never be detained for speaking up for the concerns of their community.

Although her immigration status should not matter, according to the petition from Mijente, Alejandra is a legal permanent resident who was placed into deportation proceedings after an arrest and she spent two years in detention. Alejandra has credible fear of being deported to Mexico based on dangers she would face as a political organizer and is currently in the process of seeking asylum. As Mijente reports, while leading chants at a peaceful protest in Virginia in January, Alejandra was abruptly detained. One of the Virginia agents called her deportation officer in Tucson and this week during her check-in with ICE in Arizona, she was held without the possibility of release or bond without a judge’s order.

Alejandra is not only a fierce advocate for immigrants’ rights, but a community organizer with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and a We Testify abortion storyteller. We urge all our supporters to let the U.S. government know that we will not tolerate the unlawful detention of activists. Please take a moment to send a message of support for Alejandra’s release.

For more on Alejandra’s story, check out this Rewire article.



NARAL Pro-Choice Texas applauds Austin City Council for passing Paid Sick Days for All Austin Workers

Alexa Garcia-DittaAfter nearly five hours of testimony, the Austin City Council voted 9 to 2 in support of a paid sick day ordinance that will guarantee every Austin worker the opportunity to accrue paid sick time. NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and our reproductive health, rights and justice partners organized supporters, visited city council members and rallied with the Work Strong Austin coalition for several weeks urging council member to pass the measure. This ordinance will affect thousands of Austin workers and families and make abortion care more accessible in our community.

Alexa Garcia-Ditta, our communications director, delivered the following testimony at the February 15 hearing:

Good evening, Mayor Adler and council members. Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak today.

My name is Alexa Garcia-Ditta and I’m the communications director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. As a small nonprofit employer, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas is proud to live our progressive values by providing paid sick time and paid time off to our employees. For 40 years, our statewide policy and advocacy organization has been working toward a future where every Texan has access to abortion care free from political interference, shame and stigma. We also organize in local Texas communities, like Austin, to rally support for abortion access and policy and grassroots initiatives that ensure reproductive justice for all.

We’re here on behalf of our nearly 20,000 Austin supporters to urge you all to vote YES on the proposed paid sick day ordinance without any delays.

Every Austin worker deserves the opportunity to take time to attend medical appointments—including abortion care—time to take care of an injury, condition or sickness, and time to seek medical attention or legal action following an incident of domestic violence or sexual assault, for themselves or their family member, without fear of losing their jobs or wages.

This is a reproductive, economic and racial justice issue. It is a feminist value, and it is a family value.

As you know, over the last several years the Legislature has mounted a devastating attack on reproductive health care, including abortion and contraception, in our state. With fewer abortion clinics forcing more Texans to travel for services and a state-mandated 24-hour waiting period, working Texans must take, at minimum, two days off of work to access abortion care. Many people are unable to take that time off and are forced to delay care, making abortion more expensive. In addition, due to discriminatory coverage bans, abortion care is not covered by state, federal, or private insurance in Texas. This means that people seeking abortion in Texas have to unjustly pay out of pocket.

We’re grateful to Council Members Casar, Kitchen, Garza and Mayor Pro Tem Tovo for championing this ordinance because it is a simple way to make abortion care more accessible in our community and ensure people won’t be forced to further delay their care and rack up additional out-of-pocket costs. We’d also like to thank Mayor Adler, Council Members Renteria and Flannigan for expressing your support.

Unsurprisingly, a lack of paid sick leave disproportionately affects women. Women make up the backbone of families and increasingly are the primary earners in their households. They are also more likely to be in lower wage jobs or jobs without any paid leave. Forty-three percent of women working in the private sector are not able to take a single paid sick day when they are ill. Fifty four percent of Latina workers and 42 percent of African American women who work are not able to earn paid sick days. More than half of working mothers (54 percent) do not have even a few paid sick days they can use to care for their sick children.

No one should have to choose between seeking medical care and not being able to pay the light bill. No pregnant person should be forced to delay their abortion care because they can’t take time off work. No mother should have to choose between caring for her sick child and buying groceries. No one should be forced to come to work sick and infect everyone they come into contact with just so they can make rent that month.

Thank you for your time this evening and for considering this critical reproductive justice policy.

We urge you to live Austin’s progressive values, stand with Austin women and vote YES in support the proposed paid sick day ordinance without delay.

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.”