TEXAS: Omnibus Anti-Choice Abortion Bill Now in Special Session. Help Stop It.

A graphic of the Texas state flag

Today the New York Times Magazine has a sad and damning piece about what happens to people who are denied abortions that they are seeking:

There are many reasons women are turned away from an abortion clinic but most simply arrive too late. Women cite not recognizing their pregnancies, travel and procedure costs, insurance problems and not knowing where to find care as common reasons for delay. […]

“Usually the only difference between making it and not is just realizing you are pregnant,” Foster says. “If you’re late, abortion gets much harder to find. All the logistic concerns snowball — money, travel, support.” Women who seek abortions tend, in general, to be less well off than those who don’t, and those seeking second-trimester abortions tend to be “particularly vulnerable,” given the difficulties of finding an appropriate clinic and the higher cost of a later procedure. […]

Adjusting for any previous differences between the two groups, women denied abortion were three times as likely to end up below the federal poverty line two years later. Having a child is expensive, and many mothers have trouble holding down a job while caring for an infant. Had the turnaways not had access to public assistance for women with newborns, Foster says, they would have experienced greater hardship.

There are, very likely, going to be even more people in Texas who are going to be turned away from abortions VERY SOON. Yesterday, there was VERY bad news:

Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday added new abortion regulations to the Legislature’s special session workload, measures long pushed by conservatives that could signal two weeks of fierce ideological debate after an unusually harmonious regular session.

The governor’s office asked lawmakers to consider imposing more controls on abortion, abortion providers and facilities. […]

But Perry made it clear Tuesday he hasn’t forgotten the issues close to the hearts of his conservative base, saying in statement: “The horrors of the national late-term abortion industry are continuing to come to light, one atrocity at a time. Sadly, some of those same atrocities happen in our own state.”

“In Texas, we value all life, and we’ve worked to cultivate a culture that supports the birth of every child,” Perry said. “We have an obligation to protect unborn children, and to hold those who peddle these abortions to standards that would minimize the death, disease and pain they cause.”

During a special session, lawmakers can only consider topics Perry directs them to work on. Still, in hopes the governor might add abortion to the call, Republican Sen. Bob Deuell, a physician from Greenville, already filed a bill requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.

If approved, it would mean that 90 percent of abortion clinics statewide would either have to spend millions to upgrade their facilities or shut down.

The bill is Senate Bill 5 (SB5), introduced by state senator Glenn Hegar.

Here are how special sessions work in Texas:

The purpose of aspecial session is to focus attention on a particular problem or to respond to a particular crisis. These sessions may last no more than thirty days and may only consider agenda items specified by the Governor. This places a premium on the precise wording used when the Governor calls for a special session.

Because special sessions are supposed to be used to deal with crises, they have more lax rules for voting. They don’t need a quorum and this can pass with a simple majority of whoever is there. There is a REAL fear that this bill will pass, nearly destroying access to abortion in the state of Texas.

Governor Perry’s press release about adding the abortion issue to this special session.

Last night, Lilith Fund, the abortion fund that services south and central Texas, tweeted what exactly SB5 will legislate (it’s horrific):

The Texas Legislature has decided to include abortion in its special session. SB 5 would close all but 5 clinics in our 268,000 square-mile state, regulate medication abortion (the abortion pill) almost out of existence, and ban abortions after 20 weeks, hurting lower-income women in particular.

Also: SB13 (Relating to abortion at or after 20 weeks post-fertilization), SB18 (Relating to distributing or prescribing abortion-inducing drugs), SB24 (Relating to minimum standards for abortion facilities).

HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO (originally posted at Burnt Orange Report):

Tomorrow at 3:45 p.m. the Texas Senate Health and Human Services committee will hear the four anti-choice bills filed this session, including an omnibus bill, SB 5, by Glenn Hegar (R-Katy).

SB 5 bans abortion after 20 weeks, requires that all procedures be performed in a mini-hospital, forces women to make four trips to a clinic for a medication abortion, and requires all abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. This bill would cause almost all the clinics in the state to close.

Contact your state senator today and let them know you oppose SB 5 and all the anti-choice bills introduced this special session.

If you can, stop by the Senate chamber after 3:45 p.m. on Thursday and register in opposition to SB 5, SB 13, SB 18 and SB 24. Wear orange (or pick up one of our “My family values women” t-shirts) and join us in the Senate chamber. If you’d like to testify, please email heather@prochoicetexas.org for more information.

If you can’t make it to the Capitol on Thursday we’re organizing protests at these anti-choice lawmakers’ district offices. You can also send a message right now to your state senator and let them know you oppose further restrictions on abortion.

Our tax dollars for this special session should go toward improving the lives of Texans and focus on the important matters of this state, not regulating women’s bodies. Tell your senator now that you oppose these bills.

My friend, T, wrote a script you can use when you call your legislators (find your legislator’s information here):

Hi my name is ______________. I’m a constituent of (YOUR REP’S NAME HERE) and I’m calling to voice my opposition to Senate Bill #5. This bill would greatly restrict access to abortion in Texas, leaving thousands of Texans, especially rural Texans, without access to vital reproductive healthcare.

This bill would close all but 5 clinics in the state, virtually eliminate access to medication abortion, and make abortions after 20 weeks illegal. Whatever your feelings on abortion might be, I think that you can agree that eliminating access to a legal medical procedure for people who do not live near major cities and who cannot get the funds together for a procedure before 20 weeks creates an inequality based on income and geography that is intolerable in a free country.

I implore you to take a stand against this bill that unfairly affects low-income and rural Texans, and furthers the inequalities in healthcare between the rich and the poor. Please vote NO on Senate Bill 5. Thank you.

HOUSTON: Rally for Reproductive Justice on Monday, June 17 at 6:00pm at Houston City Hall.

8 Responses

  1. Pingback: New Omnibus Anti-Choice Abortion Bill Before Texas Legislature Could Nearly Destroy Access In The State | Flyover Feminism

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  3. Pingback: TEXAS: Omnibus Anti-Choice Abortion Bill Now in Special Session. Help Stop It. | MWTX

  4. Jessica Lohse says:

    Change.org will run a petition for you and you’ll get consensus from all over the world to put in their faces. Not just Texans, but everyone. This could affect decisions in other states and countries. We do not need this kind of precedent. Please consider a change.org petition.

  5. Pingback: Rodeo Roundup: Someone Please Write Us a Summer Jam edition | OK4RJ: Oklahomans for Reproductive Justice

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