July 24: At the Capitol This Week

Last week, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick did everything in his power to fast-track bills attacking access to reproductive health care. Still, activists were there to meet lawmakers every step of the way. Nearly 600 Texans made it to the One Texas Resistance Rally on Tuesday to oppose Gov. Greg Abbott and Patrick’s extreme agenda. On Friday and Saturday, Planned Parenthood advocates testified in committee hearings against dangerous anti-abortion bills. At Planned Parenthood Capitol Takeover Day this Wednesday, we’re going to show lawmakers that we will never back down from the fight! Join us.

Bill Targeting Planned Parenthood Patients Moves to Senate Floor

On Friday, the Senate Health & Human Services (HHS) Committee heard public testimony on SB 4 by Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), which would prohibit local government entities from partnering with health care providers that provide abortions or are affiliated with an abortion provider. In committee, Sen. Schwertner admitted that the only provider being targeted by this bill is Planned Parenthood. If it succeeds, Planned Parenthood would be barred from activities such as participating in city and county health fairs for free HIV and STD testing or partnering to distribute mosquito spray to prevent the spread of Zika. SB 4 is nothing more than an attack on access to reproductive health care. Texas communities need more care, not less. Our best chance at defeating this legislation is to make sure the Speaker of the House, Representative Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) knows that Texans oppose more attempts to shut down Planned Parenthood health centers.

Senate Committees Approves 3 Bills Attacking Access to Safe, Legal Abortion

The Senate HHS and Business & Commerce committees advanced three more anti-abortion bills on Friday and SaturdaySB 10 by Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) requires duplicative physician and facility reporting of complications that result from abortion, despite the fact that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the U.S. This bill perpetuates the myth that it isn’t. SB 73 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Tyler) increases reporting requirements for minors receiving abortion services under the veil of “transparency,” although there is no clear purpose for the state to collect such information. SB 8 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-The Woodlands) would prohibit all health insurance plans from offering coverage for abortion and makes it so Texans enrolled in any insurance must purchase supplemental coverage outside of their plan or pay out of pocket. Banning abortion coverage explicitly puts women’s health and wellbeing at risk by not allowing a person to insure themselves for all emergency situations, and by not including an exception for rape or incest. These bills are now headed for debate on the full Senate floor, which may take place as early as today.

#OneTX Resistance 30 Days of Action

A broad coalition of organizations including Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, ACLU of Texas, United We Dream, Indivisible #Txlege, and more are working to organize direct actions every day of the special session. Join the Facebook group to be updated on the daily actions or sign up to receive email alertsRead our open letter denouncing Gov. Abbott’s extreme politics.

July 17: At the Capitol This Week

Tomorrow, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes is partnering with a broad coalition of organizations across movements to kick off 30 days of action that coincide with the 30 days of the special legislative session. Gov. Abbott is forcing the Texas Legislature back to the Capitol to pass even more laws that advance his extreme agenda — including proposals that would further reduce access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood, create burdensome requirements for abortion providers, and ban insurance coverage for abortion.

This is not what Texans want. In Austin tomorrow, activists are gathering at the Capitol for a rally at 1pm to send the message to Gov. Abbott that we’re standing together as #OneTX against more dangerous and discriminatory legislation. We’ll be back every day to fight — together. Read below for more details on how to take action in the coming month.

House bill threatens partnerships between local public entities and Planned Parenthood

HB 163 would prohibit local government entities from partnering with health care providers that provide abortions or are affiliated with an abortion provider. Local governments and health officials should have the ability and authority to partner with Planned Parenthood to address the unique needs of their communities. This bill is another in a long line of legislation that will prevent Texans from seeking the health care they need and have a devastating impact on Planned Parenthood patients. Speaker of the House, Representative Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) has the power to stop this legislation from reaching the House floor for a vote. The most important action you can take right now is to contact him.

Senate to debate further restrictions on access to safe, legal abortion

Other anti-abortion bills on Gov. Abbott’s agenda include a measure to prohibit private health insurance plans—including plans available through the Affordable Care Act and group employer health plans—from offering coverage for abortion care, and a requirement that duplicates reporting on abortion complications by physicians and facilities, on top of all that they’re already required to report. Just last month, Gov. Abbott signed a sweeping, multi-part anti-abortion bill into law and unilaterally vetoed a bipartisan bill extending the Women’s Health Advisory Committee, which was tasked with ensuring low-income Texans have access to reproductive health care.

#OneTX Resistance 30 Days of Action

A broad coalition of organizations including Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, the ACLU of Texas, United We Dream, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and more are working to organize direct actions every day of the special session. Join the Facebook group to be updated on the daily actions or sign up to receive email alertsRead our open letter denouncing Gov. Abbott’s extreme politics.

Updated Senate health care bill still “defunds” Planned Parenthood

Last Thursday, the Senate released their updated draft version of the health care repeal bill, including the same provision that would block people with Medicaid from accessing birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers for one year. It also includes an abortion coverage ban that would end access to insurance that includes abortion. The newest version also includes an amendment from Senator Ted Cruz that would permit insurers to sell plans that charge women co-pays for birth control, immunizations, and cancer screenings. The Cruz provision would effectively create two systems of insurance, one for sick people and one for healthy people — thereby putting coverage out of reach for people with pre-existing conditions. With this latest version of Trumpcare, Americans will pay more and get less, but women will pay the biggest price of all.

After the Congressional Budget Office releases an updated score of the bill early this week, the Senate will move to vote. Your continued pressure on Senators Cruz and John Cornyn is critical over this final period of negotiations.

We wrote to Ted Cruz about health care; his response was not truthful. So we made some notes.

Senator Ted Cruz is one of the 13 male senators who wrote the bill that will decimate health care for women. Not only will the Senate’s bill “defund” Planned Parenthood, it will result in 22 million people losing coverage. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that premiums would be about 20 percent higher in 2018, and 10 percent higher in 2019. The increased costs of care would disproportionately impact women, particularly women of color, given the inequities in earnings for women.

We wrote to Cruz to tell him we won’t stand for these attacks on our health care. His response was less than truthful. So we made some notes.

Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes regarding Governor Greg Abbott’s call for a special session

On Tuesday afternoon, after signing into law the extreme, multi-part anti-abortion law SB 8, Governor Greg Abbott called a special legislative session that will last for 30 days starting July 18. In an unprecedented move, Abbott announced a 20-item agenda including further cruel and unnecessary abortion restrictions. Among his priorities are a bill that explicitly puts women’s health and wellbeing at risk by not allowing a person to insure themselves for all emergency situations, and another that would prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving any government funds or indeed anything of potential value from the government.

Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes regarding Governor Greg Abbott’s call for a special session:

“Gov. Abbott has made it clear he’ll stop at nothing to ban safe, legal abortion and end access to preventive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Today, Gov. Abbott signed the multi-part SB 8 law that further restricts Texans’ right to make the best decisions for their health and their life. However, that was not enough for Abbott — he had to further prove his extreme ideology by reviving every anti-abortion regulation that failed to pass during the regular legislative session and add them to the call for an unnecessary special session.

This is not what Texans want, which is why thousands of women and men across the state have spoken out against legislation that hurts reproductive health and rights time and time again. The attacks on women are as cruel and unnecessary as they are relentless. We have come to expect the worst out of these extreme elected officials, but we are more committed than ever to fighting for Planned Parenthood patients and for all Texans.”

Meet the men leading the attacks on women’s health in Texas

This legislative session, extreme politicians aggressively attacked reproductive health and rights — led by two men who want to impose their regressive views and judge what’s best for women.

Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Farmers Branch) made headlines on Monday when, in response to protesters filling the House gallery in opposition to the racist “show me your papers” bill SB 4, he approached a group of Latino lawmakers to brag that he had called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the “illegal immigrants.” Chaos ensued on the House floor, and Rep. Rinaldi went so far as to threaten to “put a bullet” in another lawmaker’s head.

Before that shameful showing, Rep. Rinaldi — who the anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life have called the “pro-life whip” — has made himself known for prioritizing and promoting legislation that hurts women and restricts their access to reproductive and even basic health care. He is behind the far-reaching state budget amendment that bans Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving any state funds whatsoever. During House debate on HB 3771, which was intended to exclude abortion procedures in the case an ectopic pregnancy from the numerous abortion restrictions currently in place, Rep. Rinaldi also amended the bill to include a damaging and medically inaccurate definition of abortion.

Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) is personally responsible for three of the 39 anti-abortion bills introduced this session, including one that would have required patients to carry non-viable pregnancies to term. While the House was debating HB 2962 — a bill that would have increased already robust reporting requirements on abortion complications — Rep. Schaefer proposed an alarmingly invasive amendment that would require women who experience an abortion complication to disclose their marital status and last menstrual period to be recorded in a state database, among other personal information. He also joined Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) in harassing female parliamentarian, Shalla Slutyer, on the House floor last week, pressing her to smile for the male legislators. After feeding Rep. Stickland the suggestion to ask the parliamentarian to “smile for us,” Rep. Schaefer can be seen off to the side cackling at his own repugnant “joke.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s clear that these legislators will stop at nothing to ban safe, legal abortion — no matter the devastating consequences to those they represent. Rep. Schaefer and Rep. Rinaldi are dangerous for Texas women. We need leaders who will defend a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions, and who will protect access to basic  health care.

85th Legislative Session Wrap-up: Texas Fails Women Once Again

Monday was the last day of the 85th Texas Legislative Session and once again extreme legislators demonstrated a total disregard for the health and wellbeing of Texas women. In total, lawmakers filed nearly 40 anti-abortion regulations — several of which passed under the now multi-part Senate Bill (SB) 8. The 2018-2019 budget continues to block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood through  state health programs and goes even further to cut Planned Parenthood off from all state funding — period.

While extremists were able to claim several victories off the backs of women who will now face further obstacles to getting reproductive health care, our women’s health champions in the legislature were able to defeat a number of cruel and unnecessary bills.

BILLS PASSED

SB 8 is the most significant and restrictive anti-abortion regulation since 2013, when the Texas Legislature passed HB 2 — the law struck down by the Supreme Court just last summer. The bill, by Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), started as a ban on the donation of fetal tissue for medical research and on an abortion method already illegal at the federal level. After six-hours of debate on the House floor during which extreme legislators piled on further restrictions, SB 8 grew into a dangerous and cruel multi-part bill. The bill now also requires fetal tissue from an abortion procedure to be buried or cremated, even if the patient’s health was at risk or she was a victim of rape or incest and bans the safest, most common method for second trimester abortion. While the vast majority of abortion procedures take place in the first trimester, some health risks to pregnant women may not become apparent early in pregnancy and identification of fetal anomalies most often occur during the second trimester. Banning the safest method for these abortions forces doctors to resort to alternatives that may not be what they, based on their professional judgment, think is best for their patient. SB 8 imposes an excessive burden on patients seeking access to safe, legal abortion and similar provisions have already been challenged in court. In anticipation of a ruling against the constitutionality of SB 8, lawmakers included a “severability” clause that will keep the rest of the bill intact if any one piece is struck down by the courts.

HB 2858 by Rep. DeWayne Burns (R-Cleburne), requiring abortion facilities to post human trafficking signage, passed as an amendment to HB 2552. Planned Parenthood supports requiring all health care facilities in Texas to be trained to identify human trafficking and intimate partner violence. However, this amendment singles out abortion providers and further stigmatizes abortion. Human trafficking experts say that victims are likely to be intercepted in emergency rooms, doctors offices, and even dentist offices and a genuine effort to help victims would include a variety of health care providers. Meanwhile, lawmakers opted to cut funding from sex trafficking victims’ services out of the state budget.

SB 1, or the state budget for 2018-2019, continues to block low-income women from accessing care at Planned Parenthood through the Healthy Texas Women and Breast and Cervical Cancer Services programs because some health centers also provide abortion services. Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) and Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) went even further by adding  a budget rider that prevents Planned Parenthood from receiving any state funds whatsoever, threatening health centers’ ability to provide critical health care and education to communities in need. At the same time, the budget allocates up to $38,300,000 for the Alternatives to Abortion program, which funnels money to crisis pregnancy centers known to mislead and deceive women in an attempt to coerce women against having an abortion. Crisis pregnancy centers generally provide no health care services at all.

BILLS DEFEATED

SB 20 by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) would have banned insurance companies from providing abortion coverage in private health plans and those available through the Affordable Care Act. This bill made no exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal abnormality, and explicitly put women’s health and wellbeing at risk by not allowing a person to insure themselves for all emergency situations.

SB 25 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R – Conroe) would have allowed doctors to withhold vital information from a patient about her own pregnancy by taking away the patient’s legal recourse. This bill was nothing more than yet another attempt by anti-abortion activists to chip away at the already narrow exception for fetal abnormalities.

HB 2962 by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake) would have required additional extensive reporting related to abortion complications despite the fact that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures performed in the United States and that Texas already has robust reporting systems in place. An alarmingly invasive amendment proposed to the bill during floor debate would have required women who experience an abortion complication to disclose their marital status, last menstrual period, and other personal information to be recorded in a state database.

A number of proactive women’s health bills also died before the deadline this session. HB 745 by Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) would have eliminated the mandatory 24-hour waiting period before a patient can have an abortion. HB 1373 by Rep. Sarah Davis (R-Houston) would have allowed minors who are already parents to access birth control without parental consent.

Years of hostile policies have already left tens of thousands of Texas women without access to cancer screenings, birth control, and safe, legal abortion. Together, we keep fighting for a legislature that will work for health care access for all Texans.

Hit the road with us for #StandWithPPTX Tour: 1,000 Miles for Women’s Health

Planned Parenthood health centers play a critical role in the lives of more than 100,000  Texans by providing lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and affordable birth control—services extreme politicians in the Texas Legislature are intent on wiping out.

Watch the powerful film by Joss Whedon that depicts what the world would look like if attempts to shut down Planned Parenthood succeed.

Attacks on reproductive health and rights are dangerous. Yesterday, the Texas House passed the most restrictive anti-abortion bill since HB 2, the law struck down by the Supreme Court just last summer. The state is currently seeking federal approval and funding for its ill-fated family planning program, Healthy Texas Women. This is a program created specifically to block access to care at Planned Parenthood that, by every measure, has failed to fill the tremendous unmet need for healthcare.

While extreme legislators are reckless with our health and safety, it’s Texas women and families that suffer the tangible, devastating consequences. That’s why we are embarking on a 1,000 mile road trip across the state to capture and tell the firsthand stories of Planned Parenthood patients and advocates in Texas.

Join us on Facebook at 9 a.m. on Monday, when we go live from the road. The stakes could not be higher in the fight for reproductive health and rights. We’re fighting for our health, and for our lives.

May 1: At the Capitol This Week

For more than 100 years, May 1st has been about fighting for the rights of workers and immigrants. This May Day, Planned Parenthood is proud to stand in solidarity with our allies to protect the lives, health, and safety of all people in Texas. Planned Parenthood activists and supporters joined in a sit-in outside of Governor Greg Abbott’s Austin office today to demand that he veto the hateful ‘show me your papers” bill, SB 4. We know what happens when communities who already face barriers to accessing care are driven further into the shadows – they will forsake the care they need to preserve their own safety and economic security for their families. Together, we keep fighting so that all Texans can live free from discrimination.

Legislative committee hears bill to ban abortion coverage in health plans

On Wednesday, House State Affairs will hear HB 1113 by Rep. John Smithee (R-Amarillo). This is the companion bill to SB 20 by Sen. Larry Taylor (R- League City), which seeks to ban insurance companies from providing abortion coverage in private health plans and those available through the Affordable Care Act. This bill makes no exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal abnormality, and explicitly puts women’s health and wellbeing at risk by not allowing a person to insure themselves for all emergency situations. Restricting insurance coverage for abortion jeopardizes the health and safety of Texans and disproportionately impacts low-income Texans, obstructing their access to health care.

April 24: At the Capitol This Week

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There is a little over one month left of the legislative session, which means our state lawmakers will spend more time  on the House and Senate floors to pass more legislation in the coming weeks than in the preceding five months combined. Our top priorities continue to be to prevent state efforts to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from providing health care services to Texans, and to stop dangerous anti-abortion bills from advancing to the floor. We are working with our allies in both chambers to defend reproductive health and rights. Please read below for details on legislative activity this week and how to take action.

Fight back against a state budget that threatens the health of Texas women and families

 The Texas House and Senate have both proposed versions of the 2018-2019 state budget that include new provisions that further attack access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Both the House and Senate versions of the budget would continue to prevent Planned Parenthood from participating in the state’s Healthy Texas Women and Breast and Cervical Cancer Services programs. One far-reaching budget-wide amendment by Representatives Drew Springer (R-Gainesville) and Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) goes even further by banning any and all state funding to Planned Parenthood.

Now, a Conference Committee of ten appointed legislators will work to reconcile a single version of the state budget before it can receive final approval from the full legislature. The conference committee process is one of the very last opportunities to remove these new provisions that further prevent Planned Parenthood from participating in state programs. Politicians in Texas have targeted access to health care for Planned Parenthood’s patients again and again and it’s women and families that continue to suffer the devastating consequences.

Stop 5 anti-abortion bills from advancing to a vote by the full House

Five anti-abortion bills have been passed by House State Affairs Committee and now it’s up to the Texas House Calendars Committee whether or not they advance to the full House of Representatives for a vote. Send committee members a message now, asking them to stop these attacks on Texans’ reproductive rights today.

House Debates Anti-Immigrant Sanctuary Cities Ban on Wednesday

On Wednesday, the Texas House will debate its version of the anti-immigrant sanctuary cities ban bill by Rep. Charlie Geren (R-River Oaks [outside Ft. Worth]). The House version, like SB 4 in the Senate, would ban cities from adopting sanctuary policies that prevent law enforcement from inquiring about immigration status or enforcing immigration law. Unlike the Senate version, the House bill does not include a provision that would cut state funding to entities that do not enforce national immigration law, and stipulates that an officer cannot ask about immigration status until after a suspect is arrested.

Rep. Victoria Neave (D-Dallas) is taking a stand against this discriminatory bill by leading a fast that began Sunday and will last until Wednesday — the day the House plans to debate the legislation. Click here to learn how to join Rep. Neave in fasting in opposition to legislation that will destroy families and communities.

Early Voting For Local Elections is April 24-May 2

 

GOTV_pptvEarly voting for local elections begins on Monday, April 24 and runs through Tuesday, May 2. Election day is May 6. The fight against the relentless attacks on women’s health takes place at the ballot box every election. Make a plan now to #PinkOutTheVote!

Check Your Voter Status: Use this tool to find your voter registration status and polling place information. To start, pick a selection criteria from the drop down box on the right. 

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes asked candidates to let us know where they stand on health care access and reproductive rights. The following candidates rated 100% on their commitment to women’s health issues:

Pasadena

  • Cody Wheeler – City Council, District E
  • April Lance – City Council, District H

San Antonio

  • Napoleon Madrid – Mayor
  • Ron Nirenberg – Mayor
  • John Martin Velasquez – Mayor
  • Melissa Cabello Havrda – City Council, District 6
  • Lon Jett IV – City Council, District 10

Find Your Polling LocationUse this tool to find your voter registration status and polling place information. To start, pick a selection criteria from the drop down box on the right.

During early voting, from Monday, April 24 through Tuesday, May 2, registered voters may vote at ANY early voting location located in their county of residence.

San Antonio

Dallas

Plano

Pasadena

Round Rock

Humble

**Find information for your city here**