New poll shows high engagement, strong support for Planned Parenthood this election cycle among likely Texas women voters

In the wake of Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court and the upcoming midterm elections, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes recently surveyed what issues are resonating the most with likely women voters in Texas.

Hart Research Associates carried out the telephone survey of 500 likely women voters in Texas who identify as Democrat, Independent or soft Republican.

The results from the survey released today reveal that women voters in this audience are highly engaged (77% consider the upcoming election extremely important) and have a firm set of progressive policy priorities and preferences (health care, education and pay equity) as they head into the final weeks of the 2018 midterm campaign.

This includes strong support for Planned Parenthood (66% favorable view) as a uniquely trusted voice and provider of healthcare services to women in Texas. Additionally, women voters surveyed expressed overwhelming support for access to reproductive health care, including abortion, and a favorability for Democratic candidates who back Planned Parenthood.

“The poll results reaffirm that women voters listen to and trust Planned Parenthood Action Fund on issues affecting women’s health in Texas. PPTV PAC has a critical role to play in getting out the vote and helping elect more women’s health champions, who will stand up to Trump’s and Gov. Abbott’s dangerous agendas, into office,” said Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of PPTV. “Early voting starts next week and Election Day is 18 days away — we will continue talking to voters at their doors, over the phone and online to elect more leaders to the Texas legislature who are committed to fighting for our health and our rights, no matter what.”   

More than three-in-four women voters surveyed (77%) do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned  and among those, nearly seven in 10 (68%) say that they feel strongly about this issue. PPTV is running a robust campaign to reach 100,000 Planned Parenthood supporters and likely supporters across the state.

References:

PPTV Poll, October 2018 — View memos regarding Planned Parenthood Support Among Women Voters and Summary of Findings on Texas Women Voters.

Crosstabs, toplines and slidedeck data available upon request.

CONTACT: Alyah Khan, Communications Manager | C: 682.250.0458 | alyah.khan@pptexasvotes.org

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Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) is the nonpartisan policy, advocacy and political arm for Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas.

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Announces 2018 State General Election Endorsements

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) is proud to announce our list of candidate endorsements for the 2018 general election cycle. The PPTV board of directors assesses candidate positions on a variety of reproductive health issues including access to birth control, evidence-based sex education, and safe, legal abortion. Endorsement decisions are based on a combination of voting records for incumbents, responses to candidate questionnaires, and publicly stated positions.

“Extreme Texas politicians have led the nation in attacks on reproductive health care with the support and favor of the Trump administration,” said Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of PPTV. “The only way to stop the attacks against our basic health and rights is to change who represents us. Our ground game is focused on making sure that the 860,000 Planned Parenthood supporters in Texas turn out to vote for leaders who will fight against Donald Trump’s agenda, no matter what. Every politician who has made a career of undermining our freedom and rights, is on notice. We’re fighting to elect officials at every level of government who will protect women’s health and rights.”

In 2017, reproductive rights were under attack at the federal and state levels. During the Texas legislative session, lawmakers filed nearly 40 anti-abortion regulations — several of which passed under Senate Bill 8, which includes a ban on certain abortion procedures that has been blocked in federal district court. The 2018-2019 state budget continues to block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers through health programs and goes even further to ban Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving any state funding whatsoever. At the federal level, Donald Trump and Mike Pence spent the last year working to block access to affordable birth control, defund Planned Parenthood health centers, cut teen pregnancy prevention programs, and strip away women’s fundamental right to control their own bodies.  

As a result of these attacks, Planned Parenthood saw an unprecedented outpouring of organizing, activism, and support. This year more than 90,000 Texans took action to support Planned Parenthood for the first time. Texans are demanding elected officials who will stand strong in support of their health and rights. Between now and Election Day, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes will work around the clock to make sure that voters know what is at stake in this election and where the candidates stand.

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Endorsed Candidates:

Challenger Endorsements:
Statewide
Lupe Valdez, Governor
Mike Collier, Lieutenant Governor
Justin Nelson, Attorney General
Miguel Suazo, Land Commissioner
Joi Chevalier, State Comptroller
Kim Olson, Agriculture Commissioner 

State Senate Districts
Mark Phariss, SD 8
Beverly Powell, SD 10
Nathan Johnson, SD 16
Rita Lucido, SD 17
Steven Kling, SD 25

State House Districts
L. Sarah DeMerchant, HD 26
Erin Zwiener, HD 45
Vikki Goodwin, HD 47
James Talarico, HD 52
Michelle Beckley, HD 65
Sharon Hirsch, HD 66
Ana-Maria Ramos, HD 102
Terry Meza, HD 105
Joanna Cattanach, HD 108
Brandy Chambers, HD 112
Rhetta Andrews Bowers, HD 113
John Turner, HD 114
Julie Johnson, HD 115
Trey Martinez Fischer, HD 116
Celina Montoya, HD 121
Alex Karjeker, HD 129
Gina Calanni, HD 132
Jon Rosethal, HD 135
John Bucy, HD 136

Incumbent Endorsements:
State Senate:
Kirk Watson, SD 14
John Whitmire, SD 15

State House: Endorsed or 100% pro-choice voting record
Bobby Guerra, HD 41
Gina Hinojosa, HD 49
Joe Moody, HD 78
Nicole Collier, HD 95
Rafael Anchia, HD 103
Victoria Neave, HD 107
Phil Cortez, HD 117
Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, HD 120
Ina Minjarez, HD 124
Alma Allen, HD 131
Sarah Davis, HD 134
Mary Ann Perez, HD 144
Garnet Coleman, HD 147 
Jessica Farrar, HD 148

Harris County: 
Marilyn Burgess, Harris County District Clerk
Adrian Garcia, Harris County Commissioner Precinct 2
Lina Hidalgo, Harris County Judge
Dylan Osborne, Harris County Treasurer
Diane Trautman, Harris County Clerk

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Endorses Additional 2018 Candidates

Today, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) announced additional candidate endorsements for the November election, including Justin Nelson for Attorney General and Miguel Suazo for Land Commissioner.

PPTV wants to elect candidates up and down the ballot who unequivocally support women’s health and reproductive rights, including access to birth control and safe, legal abortion. You can see the full list of endorsed candidates below.

“We need elected officials who will not only support but champion our rights,” said Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of PPTV. “Our endorsed candidates will stand up against the extreme and relentless political attacks on reproductive health and help stop laws that hurt Texans regardless of who they are or their zip code. We must elect a new set of leaders in 2018 who will protect our rights without question.”

Additional Candidates Endorsed by Planned Parenthood Texas Votes:

Statewide
Attorney General – Justin Nelson
Land Commissioner – Miguel Suazo

State Senate Districts
SD 17 – Rita Lucido

State House Districts
HD 45 – Erin Zwiener
HD 47 – Vikki Goodwin
HD 52 – James Talarico
HD 102 – Ana-Maria Ramos
HD 104 – Jessica Gonzalez
HD 108 – Joanna Cattanach
HD 112 – Brandy Chambers
HD 113 – Rhetta Andrews Bowers
HD 116 – Trey Martinez Fischer
HD 136 – John Bucy

Click here to see our full list of endorsed candidates. 

Statement: Lawsuit Filed by Allied Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice Groups Against Texas’ Abortion Laws

Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, On Lawsuit Filed by Allied Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice Groups Against Texas’ Abortion Laws

Today, The Lawyering Project, an advocacy organization dedicated to improved reproductive health care access, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Texas’ abortion funders and reproductive justice organizations to fight against our state’s onerous abortion restrictions.

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes fully supports this lawsuit and its aim to dismantle current laws that hurt Texas women and their health. Women deserve access to safe, legal abortion without barriers or delay.

Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez:

“The lawsuit filed today in Austin is a big step in the right direction. Planned Parenthood Texas Votes stands alongside our allies in fighting against the state’s dangerous and restrictive abortion laws that threaten the lives of Texas women.  

“Our mission is to fight to protect and expand women’s access to preventative and reproductive health care, including abortion. This lawsuit takes aim at Texas’ current anti-abortion laws, which are some of the most oppressive in the country. We hope this case helps shine a light on the true motives behind these restrictions — to end access to safe, legal abortion. Texas women deserve better.”

Lives at stake in the Democratic runoff for governor

Governor Greg Abbott, who is running for re-election this year, relentlessly attacks Texans and their rights. Workers’ rights, women’s health care, the public education of our children, and voting rights are all under siege. Immigrants and LGBTQ Texans are being outright threatened.

With the Democratic gubernatorial runoff election now upon us, our organizations remain committed to the rights of all Texans to live and raise families in healthy and safe communities, with dignity and justice — regardless of race, income, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious belief, or immigration status. Because of this commitment, our organizations have endorsed Texas Democrat Lupe Valdez for governor.

Lupe Valdez has spent a lifetime breaking down barriers and defending Texans. We know who she is and what she stands for. Her candidacy is about the fair shot Texans from all walks of life deserve. The same cannot be said of her opponent and we feel a moral obligation to step forward and speak out.

When Andrew White first launched his campaign to become the Democratic nominee for governor, he was serving as a church leader in a conservative anti-LGBTQ church that describes homosexualty as “sexual perversion,” he directly told a Planned Parenthood board member that he would sign anti-choice legislation if it came to his desk as governor, and he owned a border surveillance company that used anti-immigrant slurs in its marketing materials.

White’s positions and affiliations on core progressive issues were offensive in their own right, but what is  even more troublesome is that as each of these issues have come to light, White has conveniently changed course. Four days after news broke regarding his affiliation with an anti-LGBTQ church, the first-time candidate resigned as a church elder. He stated his personal faith would never affect how he would govern, but he never actually clarified if he believes homosexuality is immoral. After announcing his candidacy and having his anti-choice position called into question, White said his personal position on choice would not affect how he would govern and he denounced legislation restricting reproductive rights passed under Gov. Abbott. In the days following a forum led by Latinx youth he stated that IF he won the primary runoff he would divest from his border surveillance company.

He became supportive of LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights and immigrant rights only when he realized that Democrats would not support a candidate who does not support these values – when people were looking. Character and leadership, however, are defined by who you are and what you do when people are not looking.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time,” as Maya Angelou said.  

As progressive advocates in Texas, we are all too familiar with political compromises that regularly occur in the Legislature on the backs of women, LGBTQ communities, immigrants, teachers and hard-working Texans. White’s candidacy promises more negotiating on the importance of the lives and rights of each of our constituencies — and that is something we can not and will not risk.

As a private citizen, White is certainly allowed the space to evaluate and grow in his personal and political beliefs. But as a candidate for governor of Texas, a state with 26 million people from different backgrounds, we demand solid, unwavering leadership that Texans can count on now. No matter what. And that is why we are supporting Lupe Valdez for governor.

Mayor Annise Parker, LGBTQ Victory Fund
Yvonne Gutierrez, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes

Resisting in 2018: The promise I made at the Women’s March

One year ago, I stood with thousands of people at the Dallas Women’s March and realized the power of my voice. The strength of my convictions.

I found myself.

Before the march, I had never blockwalked, called a legislator, or spoken in public. As the daughter of an immigrant, I was raised with the idea that I needed to be grateful and keep my head down, even in — especially in —  the face of injustice. My mother never acknowledged the everyday injustices we struggled with. It was just how things were if you poor and Latino.

Latinos still have the lowest insured rate and along with other communities of color, face systemic barriers to getting the care they need and deserve. Texas mothers are dying at a higher rate than anywhere in the developed world. Black women in our state face the greatest risk of pregnancy- related and maternal death.

As I grew up in Dallas, moved to Austin for college, and then left for Colorado, I relied on Planned Parenthood for birth control and non-judgmental information about my sexual health. They were the first to raise the red flag that my family history of breast cancer meant I should begin clinical breast exams and mammograms earlier in life. But certain politicians are dead set on shutting down health centers, and blocking access to reproductive health care.

Now, I lead a community outreach program at Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas called MUJER, Mujeres Unidas Por Justicia, Educacion Y Respeto. At the Women’s March, I approached the group from Planned Parenthood about volunteering and we talked about how it seemed more common for a 15-year-old Latina teenager to tell her parents she’s pregnant than to ask for their help getting birth control. Together, we built the MUJER program for Latina women to have a safe, non-judgmental space to talk about the issues that might be stigmatized or embarrassing in other environments. And we do it over coffee and pan dulce on Saturday mornings, like generations of women in our families have done.

This year, I have been to Washington, D.C. as a patient-advocate for Planned Parenthood, I’ve made dozens of trips to Austin to protest the Texas Legislature’s attacks on reproductive and immigrant rights, and I’ve spoken in front of thousands of people at rallies and demonstrations. I’ve befriended so many incredible, passionate people. Now, I call myself an activist.

All it takes is that first step. At the Women’s March in 2017, I raised my fist in solidarity with other women and as a promise to keep fighting for more. To fight for a Texas where everyone has access to health care, regardless of gender expression, race, income, sexual orientation, religious belief or immigration status — where every Texan has the opportunity to live a healthy and meaningful life. To fight for comprehensive sex education, affordable birth control, and access to safe legal abortion.

On the anniversary of the Women’s March, what are you fighting for?

Meet the Organizer: Summer Lollie in Dallas-Fort Worth

When I was growing up in Dallas, my sister and I would often visit our cousins in Wichita Falls on weekends and during the summer. We grew up playing freeze tag and hide and seek with walkie talkies at my grandparents’ house and talking about how we would grow up to be doctors, lawyers, or the first black President of the United States. But as I got older, my sister and I saw some of our teenage cousins get pregnant and start working low wage jobs to make ends meet for their families.

While my cousins are living great lives and raising amazing children, my sister and I knew we didn’t want to make the same choices — so we took to the internet to learn about sex. We found a number of websites, some more informative than others, before landing on the Planned Parenthood website. We had heard about Planned Parenthood and the work they did in the Dallas community, so we knew it could be trusted as a good source of information on birth control and sexual health. Thanks to that resource, we were able to navigate through high school and college without an unintended pregnancy. Now, I am building a career at Planned Parenthood where I work to make sure everyone has access to Planned Parenthood’s health and education resources to control when and if they want to have children and go on to have the careers they want and participate in their communities in they way they choose.

As an organizer, I am committed to making sure marginalized populations in Texas have a voice in electing public officials who will champion the rights of women and all Texans. Before joining Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, I worked at Battleground Texas as an organizer working in east Dallas to register new voters and help Rep. Victoria Neave win her state house seat over an incumbent anti-abortion Republican. I also previously worked as an executive assistant at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, advocating for strong safety public nets like debt-free college and Medicare for all and in Shreveport, LA, as a teacher and school personnel union organizer, fighting for strong public schools.

If you are looking to make a difference in your community, know that you don’t have to create your own movement. Prioritize one or two issues you are passionate about, and find a group that works on them. When we work together, we are more powerful!

Here in Dallas, we have regular opportunities for people to get involved in the work Planned Parenthood does to protect and expand access to reproductive health care. On November 7, we are hosting a Planned Parenthood 101 to give first-time activists a chance learn about Planned Parenthood as an organization and the different ways you can fight back against attacks on our care. Every month, we also host supporter engagement phone banks to grow our team of activists. I would love to meet you and get you plugged into the work we are doing on the ground!

To join Summer in the fight for reproductive health and rights in Dallas-Forth Worth, email her at summer.lollie@pptexasvotes.org!

Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month with Action

From September 15 to October 15, Planned Parenthood is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month! Part of honoring Hispanic heritage in this country is ensuring that we stand with Hispanic communities so they are able to access affordable, high-quality health care and live free from discrimination. In addition to providing direct medical services, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas are driving three major community-based initiatives to increase Hispanic Texans’ access to health care.

Through the Raíz (Spanish for “root”) programs in San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston, Planned Parenthood affiliates work to build long-term, sustainable community organizing structures in partnership with the Hispanic and Latinx community. In Dallas, organizers have helped enroll people in health insurance plans through the ACA marketplace and hosted Platicas Sobre La Salud, a conference on the significant disparities in health care outcomes in Latinx communities.

Meanwhile, the Promotores de Salud program brings bilingual health education into homes across the Rio Grande Valley, in San Antonio and Houston. Promotoras are community leaders who care about about their communities, recognize barriers to health care, and are committed to helping their peers overcome health disparities and health system challenges. They share medically accurate information and clarify misconceptions about risky sexual behavior. The promotoras program is modeled off Mexican and Central American adult peer education programs that have been recognized for reducing health disparities.

Planned Parenthood Greater Texas also just kicked off a program called MUJER, or Mujeres Unidas for Justicia, Educacion, y Respeto (Women United for Justice, Education and Respect). This program, designed by and for Latinas, aims to increase advocacy and knowledge about reproductive health in Latinx communities in Dallas. PPGT provides participants, also known as MUJERes, with leadership development and organizing training opportunities so they can lead movements in their own neighborhoods and communities. MUJERes meet over coffee and pan dulce to discuss health care related issues in a safe space, alongside women who share and understand the unique challenges of a shared cultural experience. The intention is to connect the dots between the issues and how Latinas are impacted by decisions made by politicians in Austin and D.C. so the MUJERes can go on to take action.

Hispanic Texans are Planned Parenthood patients, volunteers, supporters, educators, and staff. We are proud to advocate for and with Hispanic communities to harness their political power and increase their access to health care through these programs!

#WeArePP: I’m Getting Stronger for the Fights Ahead and Ready to Create Change on my College Campus

This summer, Planned Parenthood is training volunteer leaders in the core principles of grassroots organizing at a series of Power Summits. Over the past two weekends, activists from Texas joined leaders from across the Midwest and Southwest for summits in Phoenix and Oklahoma City. Right now, our communities are facing unprecedented attacks on our health care, our rights, and our dignity. To be ready for the fights ahead, we are building muscle for a strong and united resistance.

At the summit in Phoenix, volunteers like Carleigh, 19, from Austin, got a 101 on reproductive justice and community organizing and developed tools to run their own successful campaigns. Below, Carleigh shares what brought her to Planned Parenthood, what she took away from the Power Summit, and how she will use those new skills to take action moving forward.

“In fifth grade, my classmates and I were brought to the cafeteria to watch a video on puberty. It was one of those educational videos filmed in the late 90s — cheesy sound effects, denim overalls, you know the drill. Most of the students said they thought the video was “gross” and “weird,” but I remember feeling intrigued. After all, this was the first time I was formally introduced to that side of myself.

When I think back, I imagine many of the students must have been as interested as I was. We were all just too ashamed to say it. I came to know the association between sex and shame too well. So well, in fact, the two words became synonymous to me. As a faithful person, I resented myself for having and acting on sexual impulses. From the day I watched that video up until recently, I was at constant war with myself. Every moment of pleasure was immediately followed by hours of guilt. It was draining; it was hurtful; it was difficult; it was unnecessary.

Eventually, I stopped fighting myself. I remained a person of faith, I remained a sexual being, and I became comfortable figuring out how to balance those two identifies. Wanting to share my newly acquired sex-positive lens, I started to volunteer with Planned Parenthood. Not only does Planned Parenthood provide essential health services to all people, it also provides a safe space to those people. At a Planned Parenthood health center, you can talk to a provider without feeling the shame and you can talk to a health educator to receive unbiased, factual information. You can also talk to volunteers who genuinely care and understand that no one’s journey to sex positivity is the same.

Before the Power Summit, I had never shared my story with anyone. Thanks to thoughtful coaching from other organizers, I was able to finally put into words what had brought me to Planned Parenthood and the fight for reproductive rights.

It’s pretty easy to say, “We will create change.” It’s much harder to actually do. But over the course of the weekend, I met with community leaders of all ages and backgrounds. Each person I spoke with invigorated and inspired me. The training on strategy supplied me with the tools I needed to create change on my college campus. Now, I am developing relevant social campaigns with the advice of my peers. I am meeting with other volunteers here in Austin next week to build teams and set goals. We’re already planning a voter registration drive for September 26.  

It may be difficult to create change, but with the knowledge and power we gained from this weekend, we are powerful. We are strong. And we are ready.

— Carleigh”

These Female Texas Legislators Are Fed Up and Fighting Back!

During both the regular and special Texas legislative sessions, extreme legislators once again demonstrated a total disregard for the health and well-being of Texas women. But these female legislators fought back at every turn. They worked hard to protect the rights we have, reclaim the ones we lost, and just generally were not having any nonsense. Watch below for the highlights!