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 Passes Cruel and Shameful Anti-Abortion Bill

For Release: 5-20-2017

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

AUSTIN, TX — Today, the Texas House passed on third reading Senate Bill 8, an omnibus bill that would require burial or cremation of embryonic and fetal tissue, ban the use of fetal tissue for research and ban an extremely safe and medically approved method of abortion. The bill also prohibits an already banned abortion procedure that’s no longer used in medical practice. Heather Busby, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement upon passage —

“During yesterday’s debate and with today’s final passage, we saw just how shameless anti-abortion legislators truly are and how far they’re willing to go to score political points by attacking people’s access to health care. Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate out of any developed country but instead of addressing that, lawmakers are busy wasting time and taxpayer dollars restricting access to abortion and imposing restrictions on health care facilities that have been ruled unconstitutional in federal court.

Banning safe abortion procedures does nothing to benefit public health and only serves as a dangerous intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship. Lawmakers admitted during the SB 8 debate that they haven’t consulted with any medical professionals but still chose to play doctor on the House floor. Politicians are not doctors and they have no place in the exam room.
SB 8 severely restricts access to abortion and shames and stigmatizes Texans who have abortions. This is a shameful measure by the Texas House.”

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.”

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.”

ACT NOW: Support Stronger Protections for Breastfeeding Parents, Foster Parents and Pay Equity.

At NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, we believe strongly in supporting Texas families and promoting economic & gender equity.

We often say that we’re pro-choice and pro-life because we believe that every person in this state should decide for themselves whether, when and how to parent and that no one should be forced to continue a pregnancy they cannot or do not want to continue. We support common sense policies that make contraception and preventative health care available to everyone who needs it. But we also strongly believe that every Texas family deserves to be valued and respected and we are backing all policies that provide the societal support that can improve the health and well-being of all Texas families.

Today the Texas House committee on Business & Industry will hear five bills that provide support to Texas families, allowing for greater protections for breastfeeding parents, foster parents and pay equity. We support this legislation and ask that you join us in taking action to support them now by emailing the committee chair, Rep. Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville), and encouraging the committee to vote these bills out.

Here are the bills we’re supporting today:

HB 742 Jessica Farrar (D-Houston): Rep. Farrar’s bill would ensure the right for a mother to breast feed her child and would prohibit others from interfering in this right, such as expelling a her from a premises because she breast feeds her child. It also provides for a legal cause of action if someone interferes with a breastfeeding mother.

HB 443 Armando Walle (D-Houston): Rep. Walle’s bill also provides protection for breastfeeding mothers and would require public employers to provide a reasonable amount of break time for an employee to pump and provide a private space (that is not a bathroom) to pump.

HB 329 Mary Gonzalez (D-El Paso): Rep. Gonzalez’s bill provides for the creation of a list of “mother-friendly” worksites, which support breastfeeding mothers.

HB 228 Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston): Rep. Thompson’s bill would bring the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to Texas. This is the same bill that Rep. Thompson and Sen. Wendy Davis passed with bipartisan support in 2013 and then-governor Rick Perry vetoed.

HB 88 Mando Martinez (D-Weslaco): Rep. Martinez’s bill would make it illegal for an employer to provide for paid leave for an employee to care for their child and not allow the same leave to care for a foster child. Given the foster care crisis in Texas today, it’s more important than ever that our Legislature develop policies that support foster families and ensure the best possible care for these vulnerable children.

Click here to send an email to the committee chair, letting him know that you support these positive bills.