Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Announces 2018 State Endorsements

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) is proud to announce candidate endorsements for the 2018 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.

“The actions by the Trump-Pence administration and extreme politicians in the Texas Legislature have fueled an unstoppable grassroots movement determined to fight back. 2017 was about resistance. 2018 is about accountability, and taking power,” said Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes. “When it comes to support for women’s health, there is no room for negotiating. Whether it’s in the primary election or the general election, we will let the 820,000 Planned Parenthood supporters in Texas know which candidates will stand with them, no matter what.”

In 2017, reproductive rights were under attack at the federal and state levels. During the Texas legislative sessions, 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
Joi Chevalier, State Comptroller
Justin Nelson, Attorney General
Miguel Suazo, Land Commissioner

State Senate Districts
Beverly Powell, SD 10
Nathan Johnson, SD 16
Rita Lucido, SD 17

State House Districts
Terry Meza, HD 105
John Turner, HD 114
Julie Johnson, HD 115
Erin Zwiener, HD 45
Vikki Goodwin, HD 47
James Talarico, HD 52
Ana-Maria Ramos, HD 102
Joanna Cattanach, HD 108
Brandy Chambers, HD 112
Rhetta Andrews Bowers, HD 113
John Bucy, HD 136

Incumbent Endorsements (with primary challenges):
State Senate:
Kirk Watson, SD 14
John Whitmire, SD 15

State House:
Bobby Guerra, HD 41
Mary Gonzalez, HD 75
Eric Johnson, HD 100
Roberto Alonzo, HD 104
Victoria Neave, HD 107
Diana Arévalo, HD 116
Phil Cortez, HD 117
Tomas Uresti, HD 118
Ina Minjarez, HD 124
Jarvis Johnson, HD 139
Harold Dutton, HD 142
Mary Ann Perez, HD 144
Shawn Thierry, HD 146
Garnet Coleman, HD 147

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

Texas Cities Stand With Planned Parenthood

Today, the mayors of the four largest cities in Texas — Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio — released a letter addressed to Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) urging him to stop the proposed legislation that prohibits local governmental entities from partnering with Planned Parenthood. By limiting a local government’s ability to address the unique health care needs of their communities, this bill is an attack on local control.

In the early morning hours on July 26, the Senate approved SB 4 by Sen. Charles Schwertner, which specifically targets Planned Parenthood patients and goes farther than previous “defunding” efforts to extend to the local level what the Texas Legislature has implemented on the state level. 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. On July 27, the House State Affairs Committee approved the House companion bill HB 14 by Rep. Drew Springer, which will head to the House floor for debate unless Speaker Straus prevents it from moving forward.

Planned Parenthood is one of Texas’ most trusted providers of reproductive health and family planning services, including breast and cervical cancer screenings. When lawmakers politicize reproductive health care, Texans lose access.

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.”

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.

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

lobby day (1)

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.

Statement: House State Affairs Committee Approves Four Bills to Push Abortion Further Out of Reach for Texans

Yesterday, the House State Affairs Committee voted to approve four additional bills that are nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to ban abortion. House bills 35, 200, 2962, and 1936 unnecessarily target an extremely safe, legal medical procedure and hurt women and their families.

Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes:
“These bills are just the latest in a relentless wave of legislation aimed at chipping away at the right to safe, legal abortion. They do nothing to improve the health and safety of women, and the politicians behind them have only one objective: To push their extreme agenda onto Texans who don’t want or support these dangerous policies. Politicians have no right to control the lives of women and their families and should turn their attention to helping Texans access quality, affordable health care.”

April 17: At the Capitol this Week

protest abbott

Last Thursday, President Trump signed into law a repeal of the Obama administration’s rule that prevented states from blocking access to preventive care at a health center just because its organization also provides safe, legal abortion. The move will embolden states to try to block access to affordable family planning services through Title X, both at Planned Parenthood health centers and independent clinics.

Extreme politicians in Texas are more than willing to take away access to birth control and cancer screenings, as they have proven time and time again. The blatant attacks on reproductive health and rights here at home and on the national level are all part of the same extreme agenda: to ban abortion no matter the consequences to the health and wellbeing of everyday people.

In the face of these attacks, we continue to fight for the long haul. We felt the power of our movement in the sea of pink outside the Texas Capitol on Lobby Day. Let’s carry that feeling forward for the road ahead.

LAST WEEK

Bill Allowing Doctors to Lie to their Patients Without Consequence Moves Forward

On Wednesday, the House State Affairs Committee approved HB 434 by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Denton), which allows doctors to lie to their patients without consequence and threatens a woman’s ability to make fully informed decisions about her pregnancy. HB 434 will eliminate the “wrongful birth” cause of action and take legal recourse away from a woman for whom vital information about her pregnancy was withheld. Now it’s up to the Texas House Calendars Committee whether this bill advances to the full House of Representatives for a vote.

In the Texas House, after a bill is approved by committee, it must overcome another major hurdle before becoming law or being sent to the Senate: The House Committee on Calendars, chaired by Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), must set a bill for consideration on the Daily House Calendar. The committee operates largely behind closed doors, though members of the public can attend official meetings in person. However, meetings are often sporadic and announced from the floor with little notice. Though not by official rule, members of this committee can “tag” bills in an attempt to delay or sometimes prevent them from coming to the floor. The House Calendars committee has the power to  effectively kill the legislation — making it a very important committee, and one where you want to have allies.

Several anti-abortion bills are still pending in the House Committee on State Affairs, and could be brought up for a vote at any time, at which time they will be sent to the Calendars Committee. Pending legislation includes HB 35 by Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), which requires the burial or cremation of fetal tissue, HB 200 by Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Garland) that bans the donation of fetal tissue for scientific research, and HB 2962 by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Keller) that requires additional extensive  reporting related to abortion complications by licensed abortion facilities.

THIS WEEK

Committee Considers Marlise’s Law

On Wednesday, House State Affairs will hear HB 439 by Rep. Nicole Collier (R-Ft. Worth). This bill, known as Marlise’s Law, would empower families of pregnant patients to make end-of-life care decisions for a family member who is terminally ill. At 14 weeks pregnant, Marlise Muñoz suffered a pulmonary embolism that left her brain dead. Over the objections of her family, Marlise’s previously declared wishes to be taken off life support in such a situation were not honored when the hospital determined she was pregnant. In Texas, the law requires that a pregnant woman continue to be given medical treatment, even if it cannot help her or her fetus. Marlise was kept on life support for 62 days while her family fought the hospital’s decision in court, all the while being forced to watch her condition deteriorate. Marlise’s Law seeks to make sure no other family has to go through this family’s experience.

Hearing Set for Transgender Discrimination Bill

House State Affairs will also hear HB 2899 by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Denton), which would ban municipalities and school districts from enforcing ordinances, orders, or other measures that protect transgender Texans from discrimination when using restrooms or changing facilities that correspond with their gender identity. This bill is being promoted as an alternative to SB 6 by some lawmakers, but remains discriminatory and dangerous.

April 4: At the Capitol This Week

House State Affairs Committee Hearing Wednesday

he House State Affairs Committee will hear two anti-abortion bills, and one proactive women’s health bill. HB 434 by Rep. Simmons, the companion bill to SB 25 by Sen. Creighton, would eliminate the wrongful birth cause of action which would allow physicians to lie or withhold vital information about a pregnancy from a patient. HB 1936 by Rep. Simmons is another attempt to block access to Planned Parenthood and ban abortion by prohibiting a governmental entity from entering into a sale, lease, or donation with an abortion provider or affiliate of abortion provider.

HB 747 By Rep. Farrar would allow victims of sexual assault who seek care at an emergency facility to access emergency contraception at that same location, rather than having to seek the medication from another provider. Survivors deserve complete and accurate information about the treatment and medical assistance they are entitled to receive.

House Budget Debate on Thursday

On Thursday, the House will debate SB1 — the state’s biennial budget. Hundreds of amendments have been filed, including many abortion and women’s health related amendments — both good and bad. We expect to see a fight over funding for the “Alternatives to Abortion” program, which funnels millions of dollars to crisis pregnancy centers, known to mislead and deceive women against having an abortion. Several extremist legislators have filed amendments to the budget which would increase funding for this misguided, ineffective program.

Meanwhile, several women’s health champions have filed amendments that would strip funding from these unaudited crisis pregnancy centers and move it to programs where it is actually needed, and where the money could have a positive impact: for instance, to sexual assault victims and for assistance to human trafficking victims.

In addition, pro-choice state Rep. Diana Arévalo has filed an amendment to restore funding to Planned Parenthood by striking the so-called “affiliate ban” that prevents Planned Parenthood from providing care through the state’s Healthy Texas Women program.

#txlege resistance

Every Monday through Thursday through May 8, you can join a coalition of progressive organizations and drop by the Capitol to register on every bill that is a scheduled for a hearing on that day. In order to help inform positions on bills, numerous community partners are sharing their legislative agendas. Based on that information, daily bill lists of every bill scheduled for hearing will be emailed and available at the Capitol for advocates to reference. Please stop by Rep. Chris Turner’s office in E1.408 for daily packets or receive the packets via email by signing up at http://bit.ly/txlegeresistance.

  • Stop SB 2119 and Protect the Texas Top 10% Plan: For the last 20 years, the Texas Top 10% Plan (TTPP) has served as a powerful tool to open the doors to college for students from rural, urban and low-income neighborhoods – especially to flagship institutions whose doors were largely shut to most Texans. SB 2119 would reverse course on that progress, impacting all Texas public colleges and universities. The Texas Latino Education Coalition (TLEC) urges you to oppose SB 2119, scheduled for public hearing on Wednesday, April 5.

March 27: At the Capitol This Week

Last week, the U.S. House failed to vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act, including a provision to specifically block people with Medicaid coverage from accessing preventive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers. The House was forced to delay a vote on their reckless and extreme health care repeal bill because they couldn’t pass it as-is — but the fight isn’t over.

Yesterday, the Texas Senate approved a version of the state budget that includes a new provision intended to ban Planned Parenthood from participating in any and all taxpayer funded programs as well as any future programs.

Read below for the latest update and to take action to make sure that lawmakers know Texans stand with Planned Parenthood.

House State Affairs Committee to Hear Reproductive Health and Anti-LBGTQ Discrimination Bills

Today, the House State Affairs Committee will hear an anti-abortion bill, two bills that would increase access to contraception for minors, and one bill that would allow LGBTQ families to be discriminated against in the state’s child-welfare system.

HB 2962 by Rep. Capriglione would increase reporting requirements of abortion providers by requiring that abortion facilities provide extensive reports on complications from abortion. Abortion is an extremely safe, legal medical procedure with an extremely low complication rate. Moreover, Texas already has extensive reporting requirements, including unannounced inspections, and rigorous auditing practices. This bill is yet another attempt to shame women and abortion providers.

HB 3859 by Rep. James Frank would give religious groups license to use their faith as a reason to refuse to place foster children with gay couples or with families with certain religious beliefs. It could also block access to birth control or abortion services for teens, even when these services are in their best interests.

HB 330 by Rep. Mary González would allow minors 15 and older who are already parents to consent to their own medical examination and treatment relating to accessing birth control, other than emergency contraception.

HB 1373 by Rep. Sarah Davis is similar to HB 330, but takes a somewhat broader approach — allowing any unmarried minor, with no restriction on age, who is already a parent to consent to medical examination and treatment related to contraception, including emergency contraception.

AUSTIN: Attend the committee hearing in person and register your position on each of these bills.

House Committee on State Affairs
Wednesday, March 29
10:30am or upon final adjournment
John H. Reagan Building | 1400 Congress Ave., Room 140

ACTION: Call members of the House State Affairs Committee to tell them to vote NO on HB 2962 and HB 3859 and to vote YES on HB 330 and HB 1373.

State Affairs call graphic

Texas Senate Approves State Budget with Provisions to “Defund” Planned Parenthood

Yesterday, the Texas Senate approved their version of the biennial state budget for 2018 and 2019 that includes a provision by Sen. Kelly Hancock that is intended to ban Planned Parenthood from receiving any state funds and even from future programs that don’t yet exist. In addition, the budget continues $18 million in taxpayer funding to the “Alternatives to Abortion” program which funnels money to crisis pregnancy centers. These centers have no state oversight or accountability, do not provide health care, and are known to mislead and deceive women to coerce and pressure them about decisions regarding pregnancy. After the House approves its version of the budget in the coming weeks, members from both chambers will meet behind closed doors in a conference committee to negotiate a compromise.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION