We’re hiring a Communications Manager in Austin!

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) works to foster and preserve a social and political climate in Texas favorable to full reproductive health care access including abortion, through electoral activity, legislative advocacy and grassroots organizing, to promote and protect the mission of Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas.
PPTV is expanding our communications team and is hiring a Communications Manager that will work for both PPTV and PPTV Political Action Committee (PAC).

The Communications Manager will be responsible for working closely with Planned Parenthood affiliates and national Communications and Public Affairs staff to develop, manage and execute communications campaigns within the state of Texas. The Communications Manager will utilize traditional media relationships to enhance the visibility of Planned Parenthood in reproductive health politics and public policy, define the role of reproductive health care in electoral politics, promote positive movement for reproductive health politics and public policy through media narratives, and brand the organization as the statewide advocacy, public policy and electoral arm of the Planned Parenthood affiliates of Texas. The Communications Manager will also be responsible for copywriting and for developing a variety of external and internal communications materials.

This position supervises a Digital Organizer and a Graphic Design & Multimedia Specialist.

This is a full-time exempt position based in Austin, Texas.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS/ACCOUNTABILITIES 

STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT & COORDINATION

  • Collaboratively develop the annual communications strategy of PPTV by soliciting cross-departmental and stakeholder input. Manage implementation of the strategy and be responsible for executing components of the strategy.
  • In conjunction with national level and affiliate level staff, formulate objectives, target audiences, key messages, tactics, timeline, and evaluation of communications plans and campaigns.
  • Coordinate statewide media strategies to ensure development and implementation of a consistent message, as needed.

MEDIA OUTREACH

  • Serve as a spokesperson for the organization; screen and respond to press inquiries and requests for information; arrange interviews with and prepare talking points for organization spokespersons.
  • Identify and develop potential surrogates and third party validators; maintain contact lists, provide training and equip with messages and talking points.
  • Organize press events, conferences and briefings as needed.
  • Pro-actively contact editors, reporters and producers to secure coverage and reframe the issues.
  • Work closely with Planned Parenthood affiliates and external coalition partners to develop and deliver a consistent, unified message.
  • Lead brainstorming and planning sessions; identify and share innovative new ideas for promoting PPTV, its initiatives, and its positions
  • Stay up-to-date on reproductive health and related issues; synthesize existing research materials; and serve as an educational resource for reporters.
  • Monitor current events and keep agency staff abreast of breaking news stories through media updates and alerts.
  • Manage media database and write reports for internal and external audiences.
  • Evaluate media outreach efforts and report on impact to stakeholders.

COPYWRITING

  • Develop and write press releases, statements, media advisories, letters-to-the-editor, opinion editorials, fact sheets and content for online mediums such as websites, blogs and social media sites.
  • Develop and write timely informational and promotional materials to include: collateral copy, annual report, presentations, newsletter articles, web copy, advertising copy, video scripts, blogs and other materials.
  • Edit copy for content, accuracy, grammar, punctuation, voice, style, etc. in a timely and consistent manner.
  • Create collateral materials and collaborate with the Graphics Design & Multimedia Specialist on production of collateral materials
  • Collaborate with the Digital Organizer and the Graphics Design & Multimedia Specialist; provide guidance on digital engagement messaging, including supporter emails and content for PPTV’s website
  • Ensure consistency with Planned Parenthood style guide.
  • Ensure compliance with conditions of 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and PAC guidelines for approved activities.
  • Protect the confidentiality of Planned Parenthood clients, donors, board, and all areas of operation.

STAFF MANAGEMENT

  • Assign and oversee the day-to-day activities of the Digital Organizer and the Graphic Design & Multimedia Specialist.
  • Provide coaching and feedback to ensure high quality and consistent performance and productivity of staff, including conducting performance reviews.

EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Marketing, Journalism or related field or equivalent years of work experience required.
  • At least four (4) years of full-time communications experience, preferably in a political or social issues setting, and at least one (1) year of supervisory experience.
  • Experience developing and maintaining credible and productive relationships with traditional news media, and in managing rapid/crisis response.
  • Skill in a variety of writing styles including Associated Press (AP) style, copy editing, proofreading methods and practices.
  • Intermediate proficiency in Microsoft Office Products (Word, PowerPoint and Excel).
  • Experience with graphics software such as Adobe Creative Suite preferred.
  • Strong organizational skills, detailed-oriented and self-motivated .
  • Able to meet deadlines in a fast-paced, deadline driven team environment .
  • Bilingual, English/Spanish preferred .
  • Skill in producing clear and consistent high quality work with attention to detail.
  • Skill in proactively researching and quickly synthesizing information, and presenting it creatively in a variety of formats.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and complete assignments in an efficient manner, as well as adapt to changing priorities.
  • Ability to work independently, with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective relationships, and work collaboratively, with PPTV and affiliate staff, as well as external partners and consultants.
  • Ability to work after regular business hours, as needed.

PERSONAL QUALITIES / OTHER ATTRIBUTES
The Communications Manager will demonstrate the following:

  • Collaborative work style; able to facilitate amongst diverse communities and individuals
  • Comfortable in ambiguity; able to create clarity and understanding
  • Experienced in getting to “yes” in a collaborative, consensus driven style
  • Enjoys operating in a fast-paced and demanding environment; a nimble and flexible work style
  • A direct and open interpersonal communication style
  • A smart and confident leader with a clear and informed opinion
  • Deep appreciation for mission of Planned Parenthood
  • Diplomatic style; and high emotional intelligence
  • Integrity, independent thinking, and personal courage

ADDITIONAL POSITION INFORMATION
Planned Parenthood Texas Votes is an equal employment opportunity employer and is committed to maintaining a non-discriminatory work environment, and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Planned Parenthood is committed to creating a dynamic work environment that values diversity and inclusion, respect and integrity, customer focus, and innovation.

BENEFITS & COMPENSATION
PPTV offers a competitive benefits package that includes 100% employer paid medical, dental and vision coverage, life and AD&D ($20,000) and short term and long term disability for the employee. We also offer an optional flexible spending account and additional life coverage. Full-time employees receive 11 paid holidays plus an additional winter break and two weeks paid time off.

HOW TO APPLY
Email a cover letter, resume, and one writing sample of 750 words or less to jobs@pptexasvotes.org with “Communications Manager” in the subject line. Please provide all documents in PDF format. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

We’re Hiring a Community Organizer in Dallas!

JOB DESCRIPTION

North Texas Community Organizer

POSITION: Permanent, Full-time

REPORTS TO: Organizing and Training Director

LOCATION: Dallas, TX

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) is the statewide advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas that engages supporters of reproductive health to fight to protect and expand women’s access to preventative and reproductive healthcare, including abortion. The work at PPTV is fast paced and deals with complex and high priority matters related to the electoral and legislative politics of women’s health in Texas. Our programs range from talking to voters about the politics of abortion to advocating to protect state funding for breast cancer screenings.

PPTV is expanding our field team and is hiring a Community Organizer that will work for both PPTV and PPTV Political Action Committee (PAC).

The Community Organizer is responsible for carrying out Planned Parenthood Texas Votes’ mission and advocacy objectives, engaging new supporters in the fight for reproductive health in Texas, developing volunteer leaders and advocates, building and attending community events, and executing effective issue and voter education campaigns.

This is a full-time position based in Dallas, Texas.

Key Responsibilities

  • Recruit, train, and activate volunteers to support Planned Parenthood and access to reproductive healthcare by engaging in issue advocacy, voter education, and electoral campaign activities.
  • Build effective volunteer leaders and teams and communicate with volunteer leaders on a regular basis.
  • Implement effective programs, actions and campaigns to increase advocacy for local Planned Parenthood supporters.
  • Organize and execute field tactics such as phone banks, door-to-door canvasses, and other community events such as house parties, town hall meetings, volunteer orientations, and leadership development trainings.
  • Identify student leaders and coordinate outreach events on college campuses to educate and activate college students to advocate on reproductive health and rights issues.
  • Attend community meetings, conferences, and events on behalf of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes.
  • Develop meaningful relationships with community leaders, allied organizations, and coalition groups to build the base of support in the community.
  • Maintain all data in the Voter Activation Network (VAN), including new supporter sign ups and events.
  • Additional duties, as assigned.

EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION:

  • Any combination of at least (5) years of work experience and/or college-level education, with at least one (1) of year experience directly related to women’s issues, public policy, politics, community organizing, movement building, and/ or volunteer management.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective relationships, and work collaboratively, with Planned Parenthood supporters and volunteers, PPTV and affiliate staff, as well as external partners and consultants.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and complete assignments in an efficient manner, as well as adapt to changing priorities.
  • Ability to work independently and carry out work effectively, with minimal supervision while working remotely.
  • Ability to meet deadlines in a fast-paced, deadline driven team environment .
  • Working knowledge of Google Docs, Microsoft Office Suite, and other technical tools.
  • Willing and able to work a flexible schedule, including evenings and weekends.
  • Licensed driver with access to a reliable, insured vehicle.
  • Bilingual, English/Spanish preferred.

PERSONAL QUALITIES

  • Deep appreciation for the mission of Planned Parenthood and knowledge of and commitment to other progressive causes.
  • Enjoys meeting and speaking with new people, and sharing with and learning from others.
  • Interest in Texas and progressive politics.
  • Self-motivated; able to identify priorities and complete work independently.
  • Comfortable in ambiguity; able to create clarity and understanding.
  • Strong organizational skills and detailed-oriented.
  • Flexible work style; enjoys operating in a fast-paced and demanding environment.
  • Excited to learn the use of data to set goals and measure progress.
  • Comfortable with technology, and able to learn new tools quickly.
  • A direct and open interpersonal communication style
  • Integrity, independent thinking, and personal courage
  • Diplomatic style; and high emotional intelligence

HOW TO APPLY

To apply, send a resume, cover letter, and three references to jobs@pptexasvotes.org.

  • Indicate “Community Organizer – Dallas” in the email subject line.
  • All applications must be received by 11:59pm, Sunday, March 11, 2018.
  • All attachments should be saved in PDF format and named in the format of “Last Name, First Name – Document Name”.
  • Cover letters included in the body of the email will not be accepted.
  • References from employment, academic and volunteer experience are acceptable.

ADDITIONAL POSITION INFORMATION

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes is an equal employment opportunity employer and is committed to maintaining a non-discriminatory work environment, and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.  Planned Parenthood is committed to creating a dynamic work environment that values diversity and inclusion, respect and integrity, customer focus, and innovation.

BENEFITS & COMPENSATION

PPTV offers a competitive benefits package for full-time employees that includes 100% employer paid medical, dental and vision coverage, life and AD&D and short term and long term disability for the employee. We also offer optional flexible spending account and additional life coverage. Full-time employees receive 11 paid holidays plus an additional winter break and two weeks paid time off.

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

State Senate Districts
Beverly Powell, SD 10
Nathan Johnson, SD 16

State House Districts
Terry Meza, HD 105
John Turner, HD 114
Julie Johnson, HD 115

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

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.