NARAL Pro-Choice Texas’ Statement on President Trump’s SCOTUS Nominee

For Release: 2-1-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, sharmeen@prochoicetexas.org

AUSTIN, TEXAS — On Tuesday, President Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee. President Trump has repeatedly promised that his Supreme Court pick will overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that guaranteed our constitutional right to an abortion. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“By nominating Neil Gorsuch for a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court, President Trump has shown that he does not care about a person’s bodily autonomy and their right to make personal decisions for themselves. Judge Gorsuch has previously supported restricting access to birth control based on an employer’s religious preferences in two separate cases.

Texas’ anti-abortion laws have twice been challenged and heard before the U.S Supreme Court — the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, and the 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case.

In both landmark decisions, the Supreme Court stepped in to ensure that Texans, and all Americans, are able to access their constitutionally protected right to abortion and essential family planning services. With this nomination and an anti-abortion administration in the White House, anti-abortion politicians in Texas will feel further emboldened to aggressively push their anti-choice agenda.

Neil Gorsuch is a harmful, dangerous Supreme Court nominee for every person in the country who values respect and dignity free from judgment when making their private health care decisions. The Senate must reject President Trump’s nominee.”

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What to do after the Supreme Court decision on House Bill 2

Not sure what’s going on with this case? Find a breakdown of what to expect here.

Update: VICTORY! House Bill 2 is gone. Here’s what the ruling means for Texans who need abortion care:

  1. Clinics will be able to continue operating, and possibly re-open, without having to make costly and unnecessary changes to their facilities

  2. Providers will no longer have to wait for admitting privileges in order to provide abortion care

  3. No more clinics will close due to House Bill 2

Read our statement here and read below for information about events happening around Texas today as well as a tele-town hall happening tomorrow.

As we wait for the Supreme Court to decide Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedtthe case challenging HB 2–we want  to make sure everyone is in the loop about happenings around the state on decision day and beyond.

We now know that the decision will be this Monday, 6/27. 

The Supreme Court convenes at 10 AM EST (so 9 AM CST and 8 AM MST for us Texans) and starts to release opinions. In other words, we’ll know in the morning on decision day and we’ll spread the word about what the opinion means as soon as we can. Whether we’re celebrating or mourning, we’ll be doing it together.

Here’s where to gather on decision day:

Austin – Scholz Garten, 5:30pm

Dallas – Dallas City Hall, 5:30pm

El Paso – El Paso County Courthouse, 12:00pm (noon)

Ft. Worth – Location to be announced (but you can still RSVP here), 5:30pm

Houston – Planned Parenthood Gulf coast, 5:30pm/R-Bar, 7:00pm

McAllen – Whole Woman’s Health McAllen, 6:00pm

San Antonio – Location to be announced, 4:30pm

Waco – Location to be announced (but you can still RSVP here), 5:30pm

The day after the decision comes out (Tuesday, June 28), we’ll have a telephone town hall that anyone can join featuring Wendy Davis, Ilyse Hogue, Amy Hagstrom Miller, Yamani Hernandez, Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas and Nancy Northrup.

Sign up here to get invited to the tele-town hall and get the latest on the decision and events happening in the hours, days, weeks after the decision comes out!

Mary Drummer

I want to go to D.C. as SCOTUS decides the fate of Texas abortion clinics, but I need your help.

This is a guest post from Mary Drummer.

I remember staying up ’til the early hours of the morning riveted to my computer screen and Twitter, catching the live Tweets and streams from activists who were in the Texas Capitol during Wendy Davis’ filibuster. The feeling was so electric and live that I wished I had scrounged up the cash and traveled to Texas to be there. Unfortunately, at the same time, my home state of Ohio was also doing their best to pass draconian anti-abortion laws, but due to our state Senate rules, there would be no history making filibuster like there was in Texas.

A few months later when Wendy Davis officially announced her intention to run for Governor, I just KNEW I had to work on her campaign. I had previously done organizing work in my home state of Ohio around reproductive rights and other progressive issues and was just finishing up a healthcare campaign with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. When I saw that Battleground Texas was hiring, I applied, was hired, and moved across the country to Texas in 10 days. Working on that campaign and seeing so many Texans inspired and engaged in politics (many for the first time in their lives) was life-changing.Mary Drummer

I’m not done fighting back. Having lived in Houston, Austin, Dallas and traveled to the Rio Grande Valley, I’ve seen first hand the harm that’s being done to individuals because of HB2. Can you pitch in to help me get to D.C. so my voice can be heard at our nation’s capital?

After the campaign ended, I didn’t want to leave Texas, so I moved to Austin where I joined the Next Generation program with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, participated in direct actions at the state Capitol against more abortion restrictions, and attended community group discussions held by Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman, a radical reproductive justice group that centers Women of Color. I am now living in Dallas, where I recently joined the board of the TEAfund, an abortion fund that serves individuals in North Texas, and I have also joined the advisory council of Reproaction–a national abortion rights organization that aims to change the messaging around abortion to one that’s more positive and affirming.

If HB 2 were to fully go into effect, it would leave only 10 abortion clinics open in a state that’s larger than the country of France. There would be no providers in all of Western Texas or in the Rio Grande Valley.

We’re fighting back. Just like Roe v. Wade, which also originated in Texas, Whole Woman’s v. Hellerstedt will be a watershed moment in abortion rights history and it’s only right that we have Texans who have been working and organizing in this movement in D.C. when the arguments are heard. Can you help me get to Washington, D.C. for the oral arguments at the Supreme Court?

Chelsea Paquette

“I’m not done fighting back against HB 2.”

This is a guest post from Chelsea Paquette. 

2013 was a remarkable year for me. I started the year off feeling generally uninspired and burned out in my career. I was also unhappy socially and was exhausted by my chronic love-hate relationship with my home state, as many progressive Texans often are.  At 25 years old, I thought I was done with Texas. It turns out, I hadn’t even started yet.

That summer I heard through social media that the Texas Legislature proposed a set of anti-abortion Chelsea Paquettemeasures that could effectively shut down all but a handful of abortion clinics and that prolonging the legislative process was our only chance at stopping the measures. Understanding the gravity of the situation, I knew I needed to testify.

I was one of hundreds of people from across the state who showed up at the Texas Capitol and waited 14 hours to testify against further restrictions on abortion care. That summer I found myself driving to and from Austin, pulling all-nighters before returning home to Houston for work the next morning. I testified, marched, rallied, worked as jail support and sat as a witness in the House and Senate galleries every chance I could because I was able to and it mattered.

After my time spent at the Capitol, I felt inspired and ethically obligated to stay in Texas. I knew I wanted to go all in. I quit my job, enrolled in school and really threw myself into the reproductive justice movement. I have since worked as a voter registrar, volunteered for the Wendy Davis and other political campaigns, volunteered at abortion clinics, became a fellow in NARAL Pro-Choice Texas’ Next Generation Program and even began sharing my own abortion story.

I need help getting Texas activists like me to our nation’s capital. Can you pitch in to make sure my voice is heard in D.C.?

To follow HB 2, a devastating and unconstitutional piece of legislation which I fought from the beginning, from the halls of the Texas Capitol to the Supreme Court of the United States is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am working toward a political science degree and am currently enrolled in University of Houston’s Paralegal Program. The chance to see the highest court in action is exciting and would be an amazing learning opportunity for my future law career. And as an activist, it would be an honor.

I’m not done fighting back against HB 2. Can you help me get to Washington D.C. for the oral arguments at the Supreme Court?

Exterior view of the Supreme Court, Washington, D.C.

House Bill 2 is officially heading to the Supreme Court. What’s next?

The Supreme Court of the United States officially signaled Friday that they would hear Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, the case against Texas’ most damaging anti-choice law, House Bill 2. It’s been 20 years since the Court has heard a case concerning access to abortion, the last time being Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992.

Planned Parenthood v. Casey set the legal standard of an “undue burden” –meaning that those who take anti-choice laws to court have to prove that the law creates a “substantial obstacle” to abortion access. In Texas, House Bill 2 has closed swaths of clinics, especially those in West Texas. The Rio Grande Valley in particular would have no abortion provider had the Supreme Court not placed a stay on the law – otherwise, patients would have to make the 200+ mile drive to San Antonio to get the care that they need.

The other component of the case, according to SCOTUSblog, is “whether the Fifth Circuit erred in concluding that this standard permits Texas to enforce, in nearly all circumstances, laws that would cause a significant reduction in the availability of abortion services while failing to advance the State’s interest in promoting health – or any other valid interest.”

The timeline of abortion access in Texas since 2013.

The timeline of abortion access in Texas since 2013.

Since Senator Wendy Davis’ historic filibuster of House Bill 2 in 2013, Texas abortion providers have opened and closed their doors as the law has bounced around the court system, having successful rulings by a federal judge in Austin only to be struck down by the more-conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Now that the court has taken up Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, the nine justices will hear the case sometime during Spring 2016. Like many of the current Court’s rulings on contentious issues, they will likely be split in their ruling, with Justice Anthony Kennedy serving as the swing vote. Similar to their order to put a stay on House Bill 2, Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Scalia, Justice Alito and Justice Thomas will likely dissent, while Justice Ginsberg, Justice Breyer, Justice Sotomayor and Justice Kagan will probably vote to strike down House Bill 2. Justice Kennedy will likely hold a lot of power, and Texans’ access to abortion care, in his hands.