What We Built

When the Texas Legislature convened 140 days ago two things were certain–some legislators would make it their mission to cut health care for Texans who need it most, and our supporters across the state would take decisive action to fight back.
Now, the legislative session has ended and the outcomes are clear: Vulnerable teens will face additional barriers in order to access their constitutional right to safe, legal abortion and women with the most need will lose access to critical cancer screenings from the provider they trust – Planned Parenthood.

Our strategy this legislative session was not just about defending against the imminent attacks. What we set out to do, and what we did, is work to build the grassroots power we need to create the change we want to see in Texas. And we did that thanks to supporters like you.

Together, we did this:

We recruited 25,862 new supporters from nearly every legislative district in the state who support the critical health care our health centers provide.

We delivered nearly 20,000 petitions to make sure the Legislature knows where Texans stand on women’s health and cancer screenings.

We conducted over 1,000 office visits to all 181 legislators to educate them about the services we provide and the important role our health centers fill in the communities we serve.

Planned Parenthood’s top priority is ensuring women get the health care they need. We can only do that with dedicated supporters like you.

Thank you,
Yvonne Gutierrez
Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes

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PPTV: Thank you Wendy and Leticia We’re Ready To Keep Up The Fight For The Long Run

Fort Worth, TX — Tonight’s results were a clear indication that we’ve made tremendous progress towards engaging and empowering more Texans to participate in the democratic process, and this work will only continue to grow stronger in the coming years.  What tonight also showed us is that there is still a lot of work to be done to make Texas a healthy, thriving democracy, where all voters understand the importance of their votes and participate in the electoral process. Planned Parenthood Texas Votes has quickly built a strong infrastructure, and expanded our supporter base, to keep up this fight for Texas women through the upcoming legislative session and in future elections.

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Program Overview

Today, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) delivered on the largest electoral effort ever conducted by Planned Parenthood in the state of Texas. PPTV surpassed our original goal of engaging 300,000 Texas women voters in conversation about the crucial impact this election will have on women’s health. Within just a few months, PPTV shattered field contact goals, signed up new supporters, built a durable grassroots network, and turned out voters in support of women’s health champions.

Getting Out the Vote By the Numbers:

  • Knocks on Voter Doors: More than 460,000 door knocks
  • Phone Calls to Voters: 516,051 phone calls
  • Mail delivered to Texas Voters” 378,507 mail pieces

Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Executive Director:

“We’ve always known this election cycle would be an uphill battle, after Texas has spent decades without competitive statewide races and with some of the lowest voter turnout in the country. Planned Parenthood Texas Votes fought hard in this campaign to support policies that help Texas women lead healthy lives and succeed economically. We’re in this for the long run, and we will always fight for women to get the health care they need.   

“Senators Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte have been, and remain, incredibly strong fighters for Texas women. Whether in the legislature or on the campaign trail, they trust Texas women and fight to support our health care and rights. We thank them for their service and for their fight.

“Planned Parenthood Texas Votes ran a robust voter outreach program throughout the state. We reached out to over 600,000 voters, and engaged them in conversations about the importance of women’s health care in this election. And we heard from them time and time again that Texans trust women to make their own health care decisions, and do not want politicians to impose their personal beliefs upon all Texas women.

“Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick were not elected to restrict women’s access to health care, and we will work to make sure that they don’t interfere with a woman’s ability to access preventative and life saving care, as well as access to safe and legal abortion. We will continue to be here to advocate for Texas women and their access to health care no matter what.”

The Women’s Vote

Women voters in Texas have historically skewed Republican in their votes, with the last statewide Democratic candidate to win the women’s vote being Ann Richards in her 1990 election.What we learned from the exit polls is that Sen. Davis won African-American women at 94%, Latina women at 61%, and Unmarried Women at 57%.

Greg Abbott’s Record on Abortion

This election is not an endorsement of an agenda to restrict women’s access to health care. People in Texas support women’s access to birth control, preventive health care, and a woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions, and Texans do not want politicians to restrict women’s health.

In the final weeks of this campaign, Greg Abbott even tried to soften his out-of-touch positions on women’s health, muddying the waters about his positions on these issues. Despite Abbott’s long-standing position of opposing abortion in all instances, he felt the need to report a change of heart just days before the election and states that he now supports abortions being accessible for women through the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.This follows a late-in-the-game national trend of high-profile Republicans attempting to undergo a “pro-choice makeover” by adopting seemingly less restrictive policies towards abortion and birth control.

As a non-partisan organization, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes and its numerous Republican supporters around the state look forward to holding Governor-elect Abbott to his word by calling for a reprieve from abortion-related legislation and policy-making in his administration.

Additional Background:

  • Texans do not want elected officials to make decisions about women’s health, with only 34% of Texans saying they trust the Governor and the legislature to do so.
  • 78 percent of Latino voters in Texas agree that a woman has a right to make her own decisions about abortion without politicians interfering.
  • Most Texans, by a significant margin, want abortion to be an option for women facing crises like rape, incest and life-threatening circumstance related to a pregnancy.

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PPTV PAC is the political action committee of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, the political and advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood’s three Texas-based affiliates. PPTV engages in legislative, educational, and advocacy activity across Texas and works to elect candidates who support comprehensive women’s health care policies. 

 

Vote like the women of Texas are counting on you.

It all comes down to tomorrow. November 4th. The Texans who turn out to vote will decide the future of our state. 

Texas women need you to show up. If you have not voted yet, CLICK HERE to make a plan and locate your polling place. Make a Vote Plan

This election could not matter more. We have a real opportunity to turn things around. We can join with all the other Texans who have already gone to the polls and we can say: Enough! 

With our votes we can shout even louder than we did at the Capitol last summer. We can demand that our Texas be a place where women are trusted, and where our health care and rights are not treated like political bargaining chips. 

Will you make a plan to vote and share this link with your friends and family? 

This is our state. But the folks who have been in power for too long are counting on us staying home. They think we’ve been too beat down to fight back again. They don’t think we believe our votes matter. They think they can silence us again. 

I don’t know who they’ve been talking to, because the Texans I talk to every day are taking this fight to the ballot box! We have never given up. We have never backed down. And we are turning up, turning out, and demanding that we be heard. 

It all comes down to tomorrow. 

Vote like the women of Texas are counting on you. They are. 

Let’s do this!

The Supreme Court Halts HB2 Implementation, Rules Against Abbott

AUSTIN, TX – The Supreme Court just ruled in favor of Texas women, and against Greg Abbott.

Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes PAC:

“Today the Supreme Court ruled that Greg Abbott cannot force nearly a million Texas women to drive over 300 miles to access their constitutionally protected right to safe and legal abortion. Greg Abbott tried to convince the court that such harm was simply a “manageable inconvenience,” but the Supreme Court disagrees and has ruled against Abbott’s attempt to block Texas women from care.

Despite today’s ruling, the fight for Texas women is far from over. Greg Abbott has shown that he will stop at nothing to impose his personal and dangerous beliefs upon all Texas women. But Texas women will have the last say, and they will do so at the ballot box on November 4th.”

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Rick Perry Uses Joan Rivers’ Death To Defend Texas Abortion Laws

AUSTIN, TX – While speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival, Rick Perry defended harmful restrictions on access to abortion by referencing Joan Rivers’ death. 

Statement from Tanene Allison, Communications Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes:

“The best way Rick Perry can defend harmful abortion regulations that have caused clinics to close throughout Texas is to reference Joan Rivers’ death. This attempt at distraction shows how ridiculous Perry’s supposed logic is when it comes to women’s health.

 

The late Joan Rivers cannot respond to Perry’s attempt to use her death to promote harmful laws that hurt Texas women. But a prior quote from Rivers makes clear what she thought about Perry and other elected officials who attack women’s health care. “I think that anybody who doesn’t believe in Planned Parenthood is a moron.” – Joan Rivers

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Abbott Strategist Calls Rape and Incest A “Minor Issue” Continues A Republican Pattern of Making Light of Rape and Insulting Survivors

AUSTIN, TX – Yesterday, Abbott strategist Matt Mackowiak appeared on Lone Star Politics and dismissed the experiences of survivors of rape and incest, saying that their constitutionally protected right to access safe and legal abortion was a “minor issue.” Upon insulting Texas survivors by saying their experiences don’t matter, he then added that Greg Abbott would “love to fight the campaign on that issue alone.” Greg Abbott believes that abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape or incest.

This latest insult continues a pattern where political candidates and operatives make light of the issue of rape during election cycles. Despite that particular pattern proving fatal to several previous campaigns, the Abbott campaign has not learned that minimizing the pain of survivors of rape is offensive and alarming to all voters.

Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes:

“Making light of the experiences of survivors of rape and incest for political gain is downright disgusting. That Abbott’s strategist argues that abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape or incest, because he thinks rape and incest are “minor issues” is demeaning and offensive.

No survivor of rape or incest would call their experience a “minor issue.” This is exactly why politicians should not be allowed to dictate their personal opinions upon women’s decisions and lives. And this is why Greg Abbott’s campaign and policies present a serious threat to the safety of Texas women.”

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes on Gubernatorial Debate: Calls Greg Abbott Out for Continued Record of Working Against Texas Women

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TX — Planned Parenthood Texas Votes released the following statement on the first debate between women’s health champion Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott, who has been a leading opponent of access to affordable birth control, safe and legal abortion and live-saving, preventive health care access for Texas women.  Outside the debate, supporters of women’s health are wearing bright pink #WomenWinTX t-shirts and holding signs.

Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes:

“Tonight, we saw the stark contrast between the two candidates when it comes to their views on women.  Wendy Davis strongly stated her support for a woman and her family to have access to the health care they need. And she openly called out Greg Abbott for not protecting Texas women. Meanwhile, Abbott continued to defend his dangerous record that would send women back decades. It remains clear: Greg Abbott doesn’t trust women to make our own health care decisions – and we can’t trust him to be our next Governor.

“Texans want leaders who will expand access to health care for Texas women, not continue to dismantle the little that remains. That’s what our supporters and volunteers are hearing at the doors and on the phones and why we’re seeing a growing number of women reject Greg Abbott’s attempt to dictate his personal views upon Texas women. Texas women are watching, and we will vote to stop Greg Abbott this November.”

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes PAC has launched a robust voter education program in key Texas communities. Our field program will talk to over 400,000 voters – through door knocks, phone calls and mail – to educate about what’s at stake for women’s health on November 4th. This venture is a multi-million dollar investment in the future of Texas.

BACKGROUND

Greg Abbott: just another insider who wants to impose his views and judge what’s best for all women.

Greg Abbott wants to make abortion illegal, even in the case of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the woman.  Abbott supports overturning the Roe v. Wade decision. In 2013, he reiterated his beliefs: “If you really are pro-life, you are thinking about the life of the child,” he said. “And once you start putting exceptions into that, you’re saying that there are certain children who really are not worthy of life.”   [Houston Chronicle, 2/26/06; Austin American Statesman, 1/26/13]

Greg Abbott blocked access to affordable health care for Texas women and families.  As attorney general, Greg Abbott has supported efforts to block access to affordable health care for tens of thousands of Texas women and stripped Planned Parenthood health centers of funds to provide lifesaving cancer screenings and care. In response to criticism of the state’s attempt to eliminate Planned Parenthood’s participation in the Texas Women’s Health Program, a team of attorneys led by Abbott compared Planned Parenthood to a terrorist organization. While rolling back health care access for thousands of Texas women in need, Greg Abbott helped implement increased funding for so-called crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), anti-women’s health organizations that are known for providing biased and medically inaccurate information to women seeking information about birth control and abortion.

Greg Abbott believes bosses should control whether women get birth control.  Abbott used taxpayer money to file a Supreme Court amicus brief and spoke out in support of Hobby Lobby, the for-profit arts and crafts chain that is now able to deny its employees access to insurance coverage for birth control thanks to the Supreme Court and Abbott. Women already have saved $483 million in the last year alone from the birth control benefit. Studies also show that women who receive birth control with no copay or at a reduced cost are able to avoid more than two million unplanned pregnancies each year, which also reduces the need for abortion.

Greg Abbott blocked rape victims from suing those who negligently hire their rapists.  As a judge, Greg Abbott repeatedly ruled to stop rape victims from suing those who negligently hire their rapists. An analysis by the Dallas Morning News in 2002 found that Abbott ruled in four of five cases that victims could not sue to recover damages in suits that accused churches and companies of negligently hiring sexual predators or allowing their property to become invitations for rapists.   In 1998, Abbott dissented from a Texas Supreme Court majority decision allowing a rape victim to sue a company after being raped by an employee on the job.

Greg Abbott opposes equal pay for equal work.  Abbott would not sign a measure to make it easier for women to bring pay discrimination lawsuits in state court. Emphasizing just how out of touch his campaign is with Texas women, two of his surrogates stumbled in television interviews, saying women don’t push for equal pay because they are “extremely busy” and insisting that the reason women are paid less is that “men are better negotiators.”  In Abbott’s own attorney general’s office, women are paid about $6,000 less than men for the same work, while only three out of the top 20 highest-paid employees at the agency are women.  While folks like Greg Abbott are giving themselves raises, women are struggling. According to the Shriver Report, one-third of all American women are living at “the brink of poverty,” meaning that they earn less than $47,000 per year for a family of four. “Forty-two million women, and the 28 million children who depend on them, are living one single incident—a doctor’s bill, a late paycheck, or a broken-down car—away from economic ruin,” the report reveals. To succeed in the workplace and in life, women need a fair chance to make what they earned, deserve and they need.

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What You Won’t Hear From Greg Abbott Today When He Introduces His “Healthy Texans” Proposals

AUSTIN, TX – Today, Greg Abbott will make a rare public appearance to unveil a series of “Healthy Texans” policy proposals. Meanwhile, the state of health care access for Texas women has never been worse thanks to out of touch policies championed by Abbott and his allies.

In advance of Greg Abbott’s press conference, we’ve compiled a handy list for you of topics regarding the state of health care for Texas women, which we doubt Abbott will choose to talk about.

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes supporters will be outside the event, raising awareness about the drastic state of health care access for women in Texas.

 

What you won’t hear from Greg Abbott today when he introduces his “Healthy Texans” proposals:

Why Greg Abbott has supported efforts to block access to affordable health care for tens of thousands of Texas women, stripped Planned Parenthood health centers of funds to provide lifesaving cancer screenings and preventative care, and supports shutting down women’s health centers across the state.

  •  Thousands of women lost access to birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings and well-woman exams after the state banned Planned Parenthood health centers from the Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP). This is on top of the estimated 155,000 women who lost access to basic, preventive health care due to the 2011 Legislature’s cruel and dangerous budget cuts.
  • Women struggling to make ends meet have systematically been denied access to preventive health care including birth control.

Why Greg Abbott believes bosses should control whether women get birth control.

  • Greg Abbott used taxpayer money to file an Supreme Court amicus brief and spoke out in support of Hobby Lobby, in its efforts to deny employees access to insurance coverage for birth control. Women already have saved $483 million in the last year alone from the birth control benefit. Studies also show that women who receive birth control with no co-pay or at a reduced cost are able to avoid more than two million unplanned pregnancies each year, which also reduces the need for abortion.

Why Greg Abbott believes abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape, incest, or life of the woman.

  • Greg Abbott supports overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. In fact, he believes that abortion should be illegal with no exceptions for rape, incest, or to protect the life of the woman.

 

Statement from Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Executive Director, Yvonne Gutierrez: “Greg Abbott’s record makes clear that he is a threat to the health of Texas women. Abbott thinks bosses should be able to decide whether women have access to birth control, he has supported cuts to funding for preventative care, and believes he knows better than women what decisions they should make when pregnant, even in cases of rape or incest. You can’t have a healthy Texas without healthy Texas women. And Greg Abbott’s record shows that he’s bad for the health of Texas women. And bad for Texas.”

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SAEN: Planned Parenthood Aiming To Spend $3 Million On Texas Elections In 2014

Austin, Texas – On Sunday, the San Antonio Express-News reported on Planned Parenthood Texas Votes’ 2014 electoral program.

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes will spend $3 million to target over 300,000 women voters and combine the large field program with digital and radio communications work. This new organization builds upon the historic grassroots support for women’s health care that was shown last summer, and transitions that grassroots energy into an electoral force. Planned Parenthood Texas Votes will play a pivotal role in the 2014 election, while at the same time building a lasting supporter infrastructure ready to continue the fight in future legislative sessions and elections.
“Planned Parenthood Texas Votes will make sure that women voters are the decisive factor in this fall’s election. We know that when Texas women know what is at stake in this election, they will vote, and they will vote for candidates who support them.” – Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes
 
Planned Parenthood aiming to spend $3 million on Texas elections in 2014 [San Antonio Express-News, Peggy Fikac, David Saleh Rauf, 7.19.14]
 
Planned Parenthood’s political arm, embarking on the most aggressive campaign it has ever waged in Texas, plans to spend $3 million to turn out voters for Democratic candidates including Sens. Wendy Davis for governor and Leticia Van de Putte for lieutenant governor.
Bolstered by a $1 million donation from a single backer, Planned Parenthood’s latest Texas-based political action fund is sparking concerns among anti-abortion activists who expect to be outgunned financially by the effort that has a particular focus on women voters.
“This is a wake-up call for us, and I’m sure for other pro-life organizations,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, who expects it will be difficult if not impossible to keep pace with Planned Parenthood’s outlay.
The state’s two largest anti-abortion groups, Texas Right to Life and Texas Alliance for Life, have spent about $450,000 since the beginning of the year to help an array of candidates through the primaries and runoffs, according to state data.
Cecile Richards, president of the national advocacy group Planned Parenthood Votes, said her group’s effort has powerful potential and is aiming to draw differences between Davis and her Republican opponent in the gubernatorial race, Attorney General Greg Abbott. “When women have a chance to know the difference between candidates, they won’t vote for someone who is against them,” she said.
Davis has largely avoided the abortion issue on the campaign trail, seeking to broaden her image and messaging beyond last year’s filibuster against tighter abortion restrictions that propelled the state senator from Fort Worth into national political stardom.
But forces that support abortion rights and women’s access to health care through clinics that have been affected by tough abortion laws are looking to use Davis and the energy from her filibuster as the centerpiece for a well-funded movement to strike at the ballot box this November.
The new PAC, called Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, is intended to bolster the top of the Democratic ticket, along with a slate of state House candidates and the Democrat running for Davis’ open Senate seat. The group also endorsed Rep. Sarah Davis, the only Republican who voted against last year’s tighter abortion restrictions.
Created just four months ago, the PAC already has more than $1 million on hand, mostly through the $1 million donation from Planned Parenthood Chairwoman Cecilia Boone. It’s only the third contribution of that amount recorded by any candidate or PAC this election cycle.
The endeavor will be coordinated with a new Texas-based Planned Parenthood 501c4 group, a tax-exempt nonprofit that does not have to disclose contributors. Planned Parenthood says the nonprofit is set up to handle administrative costs, while the bulk of the spending will be done through its PAC that makes contributors known to the public.
Despite Planned Parenthood’s long presence in Texas, state data shows it’s the first time its political arm has dedicated this type of financial firepower for Texas elections.
It mirrors identical efforts by the group nationwide: The political arm of Planned Parenthood dropped $2.4 million in the Virginia governor’s race last year, helping a Democrat unseat a Republican; the abortion-rights group also plans to spend $3 million this year in a North Carolina U.S. Senate race.
Texas’ anti-abortion forces are taking notice.
“It’s a concern,” said Kyleen Wright, executive director of Texans for Life Coalition. “They are going to be playing for the long game.”
For Davis, some risks
Abortion rights has been front and center in the 2014 election for Texas governor, despite Davis couching it in broader terms of women’s health care. Abbott has emphasized his opposition to abortion, saying that “we shouldn’t discriminate against a child” even in cases of rape or incest.
He has spearheaded efforts to defend Texas against lawsuits challenging abortion restrictions and cuts to Planned Parenthood’s state funding.
Richards said the contrast between Davis and Abbott “will dominate a lot of our work this fall.”
Planned Parenthood organizers said they will parlay the PAC money into an aggressive field program to reach more than 300,000 women — including Democrats and Republicans identified as receptive to their message — through phone banks, door-to-door visits and direct mail. The campaign will also include a heavy dose of digital outreach that will include radio ads and online ads, along with social media.
Matt Mackowiak, a Republican consultant, said Planned Parenthood’s spending can slice two ways for Davis.
On one hand, it will put the abortion spotlight back on Davis and could stymie her messaging as a candidate focused on a broad range of policy. Mackowiak said, however, it can also provide more resources for her campaign, which is at a 3-1 cash disadvantage compared to Abbott, and maybe even provide a bit of cover on the issue.
“The campaign knows that talking about abortion is a net loser for her,” he said. “These outside groups can focus on maximizing the pro-choice vote while Wendy stays above that fray.”
Battling to be competitive
Texas’ anti-abortion groups, which wield enormous influence with top state leaders and the broader Republican Party, also have been aggressive in spending to help candidates who are supportive of their agenda.
The PAC for Texas Right to Life has spent close to $300,000 since the beginning of the year, according to state data. That included more than $11,000 to air anti-Davis ads in English and Spanish on radio stations in the Rio Grande Valley and Corpus Christi before the March primary.
Texas Right to Life did not answer a request for comment.
Pojman, the head of Texas Alliance for Life whose PAC has spent about $150,000 this election cycle, said his group continues to aggressively raise funds for the general election. While he expects to be outspent by Planned Parenthood, he questioned the group’s ability to coalesce activists around the state in big numbers.
“Planned Parenthood doesn’t have the grass roots to energize in the same way the pro-life movement can,” he said.
Wright, the executive director of Texans for Life Coalition, said while anti-abortion groups won’t be able to compete dollar for dollar, Planned Parenthood’s messaging doesn’t resonate with most Texans.
Still, her group created a new PAC after lawmakers passed tough abortion restrictions last summer in anticipation of a new push by abortion-rights groups.
“We knew our friends would be taking hits and Planned Parenthood would be coming,” she said. “We wanted to be in a position to help them.”