Fighting Anti-Choice/Anti-Access Abortion Bills in Texas: THE NEXT STEP (#HB2 #SB9)

rally

There is a lot for me to say about what has happened over the last week in Texas but since Governor Rick Perry has called a second special session, I’m looking forward as much as possible. (though I do want to say THANK YOU to my fellow Texans)


They expect us to back down. They expect us to go away. WE WILL NOT!


First, answers to some questions about how the special session works.

Will there be another filibuster? 

Most likely not.

The special session is 30 days long. During the first special session, Perry did not introduce the abortion legislation until about half way through. That is a big reason that we were able to draw out the process to the point where Davis could filibuster and we could yell to push past that midnight deadline this past Tuesday.

This time, the TX GOP will have 30 full days to move through the legislation, a significantly longer period of time.

What will happen on Monday in the legislature? 

When I asked my friend who knows about these things if anything critically important will happen on Monday, I was told: “It is possible, but unlikely.”

The decision to waive the regular 2/3 rule to pass legislation and instead implement a majority vote will likely happen on Monday. We expect that there will be a great deal of debate and rules query about this and the mockery of the rules that happend on Tuesday night. Senator Kirk Watson and Senator Kevin Eltife have both filed a blocker bill (the bill at the top of the calendar that creates a need for 2/3rds vote to take other bills up before it). Not sure if we can be in the chamber for this. I have no details yet on that.

What legislation is already on the docket?

New legislation has been introduced: HB 2 on the house side which is the same as SB 5 was when it came out of house committee, including the 20-week ban.  Dan Patrick (who has, since Tuesday, announced that he’d like to be Texas’ next Lt Gov) has filed SB 9, a stand alone medical abortion bill.

Legislation can continue to be filed before the session starts and then during the session so this may not be all of it. We’ll see.

Here is more information on the specific information in the bills. Please read this. 

Will there be more hearings?

Yes, most likely. They don’t HAVE to hear testimony in the House. BUT we expect that they will hear testimony in both chambers (though Lt. Gov Dewhurst is now threatening to not allow us to participate in those hearings).

We should be prepared for them to move quickly through the process of committee hearing, voting in one chamber, committee hearing, voting in the other chamber.

How do they decide the order of events? How does setting the calendar work?

They don’t ever set a calendar exactly, the process flows from point to point, with certain minimum timelines in between.

So, STAY TUNED. As soon as we know the different points, we will get that information out. I am working on creating a calendar on this site that will list the events based on date, time, and level of importance so that people who are deciding when to come in from out of town or to take time off work will know the most critical time for them to show up.


They expect us to back down. They expect us to go away. WE WILL NOT!


FIRST EVENT (low priority for those who need to drive long distances to be in Austin but it will be a great moment of strength and camaraderie): MONDAY (July 1) AT NOON, Texas Capitol’s South Steps. Here is the Facebook event page if you’d like more information or to RSVP (over 4,000 people have done so already).

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From the coalition of reproductive health groups, Democratic groups, and progressive activists that are planning this event: “The special session could last for 30 days and we will need you every step of the way. Join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get frequent updates. We need to reach as many proud pro-choice women and men across the state, so please take a minute to forward this to your friends.”

I have been told that free orange shirts will be available. I’m not sure of the distribution method, though. Probably there will be people there passing them out.

There is also this: “The Travis County Democratic Party has “Stand With Texas Women” shirts for sale. They are free to people who sign up as sustaining members of the county party for 10 dollars a month, or a one time donation of $25. Sustaining memberships are the lifeblood of our Party and helps us be ready to hold the Legislative body in our backyard accountable at a moments notice.There will also be a limited amount of shirts available at the Rally that are free without the TCDP logo. However if you want to guarantee you get one, help support the our efforts with a donation today. We also have a substantial need for volunteers to get ready for this Monday, so come on down to our office at 1311 E. 6th St, get a shirt and get involved!”

Public parking if you drive to the capitol (found on the map here http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/SPB/Plan/FloorPlan/Complex.htm). The first two hours are free. Each half hour is $1. All day parking is $8. The visitor parking lot is on 12th and San Jacinto. There is also a lot of metered parking the area, much of it takes credit cards, though you may want to have some quarters just in case.

WEAR ORANGE, bring water and sunblock, get ready to cheer. See you on Monday!


If you cannot be there on Monday (or for any event during the second special session), you can join the virtual march on Facebook.


On Tuesday, join Whole Woman’s Health and Naral Pro-Choice Texas at any of Whole Woman’s Texas clinics (located in Austin, Beaumont, Fort Worth, McAllen, and San Antonio) from 5:30 – 7:30pm. As it says on WWH’s Facebook page: “Join us for a chance to take a look at one of our clinics. In light of recent legislation, we want to show you how safe, welcoming, and compassionate we really are.” There is a Facebook event page where you can RSVP. And follow Whole Woman’s Health and NARAL TX on Twitter: @WholeWomans and @naralTX.

wholewomens


If you do not live in Texas or you cannot make the rally (or any of the events during the second special session) one of the most important things you can do is to SPREAD OUR MESSAGE TO THE MEDIA. Help us share our story. Virginia Pickel has created a handy list of Twitter handles for major media outlets, journalists, and celebrities.

Let people know what is happening in Texas, how they can fight back if they live here, and help us show that we are not just lying down and letting this happen.

For those wanting to send food or drinks, the rally on Monday will not be ideal for that. We will keep you informed of when and where you can send supplies as we need them. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!


If you are a resident of Texas (whether or not you are going to the capitol): CALL YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES AND ASK THEM TO VOTE “NO” on #HB2. You can find your state representative’s name and contact information here.

You can also call HOUSE SPEAKER STRAUS AND STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE CHAIR BYRON COOK (the same guy who shut down our testimony last week).

Speaker of the House Rep. Joe Straus (R – San Antonio) (512) 463-1000
Chair of House State Affairs: Rep. Byron Cook (R – Corsicana) (512) 463-0730

Example script:

To your lawmaker: Hello, my name is _____________ and I am a constituent of Sen/Rep __________. I am calling today to let the senator/representative know that I oppose all of the bills filed regarding abortion. Having the constitutional right of legal abortion, I do not wish any changes, restrictions or amendments to those rights particularly in regard to access to professional medical help. I believe that these proposed restrictions would be harmful to Texas women who might then make harmful choices made during desperate times. I urge the senator/representative to oppose these bills. Thank you.

To Speaker Straus or Rep. Cook: Hello, my name is _____________ and I am a calling today to let Speaker Straus/Rep. Cook know that I oppose all of the bills filed regarding abortion. As a registered voter in the state of Texas, I am very disappointed that the Legislature is spending time on this issue instead of the issues that really matter to Texans. I do not want to see any further changes, restrictions or amendments to reproductive rights in Texas and urge the Speaker/Representative to do everything in his power to focus on other matter and leave abortion rights alone. Thank you.

Also if you are on TWITTER: here are the twitter handles of Texas legislators that have them: http://www.texastribune.org/2013/01/07/many-members-83rd-legislature-twitter/


How to stay informed:

Follow on Twitter: my twitter account (@scATX)@TX_women@Austin_NOW@andreagrimes@naralTX@lilithfund@WholeWomans@dansolomon@meadowgirl@tootwistedTV, and the #HB2, #SB9, #standwithwendy, and #txlege.


They expect us to back down. They expect us to go away. WE WILL NOT!

Comments are closed.

16 Responses

  1. Sheri Greening says:

    Hang in there girls I’m across the border in cajun country but I’m hanging on your every move…

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  5. Maureen says:

    I’m 55 years old and spent a great deal of my youth fighting for our right to choose. I will be attending every rally I possibly can and tell everyone I can. I thank you for all your help and had hoped in the 70′s that I would never have to go through this fight again. It saddens me that young women are unaware of how dangerously close we are to losing our choice along with our voice. Women of all ages I beg of you to STAND STRONG!!!

  6. Denise says:

    Thanks for posting this, Jessica. I feel like Maureen does (only in my case, I’m 59). Who ever imagined, back in the ’70′s, that we’d still be fighting this fight (or fighting it again) some 40 years later? One of the many things that drives me batty (aside from the fact that it’s so often men who are making these decisions) is that, when Planned Parenthood is defunded, pro-life types seem to forget about the many unplanned pregnancies (and thereby, abortions) PP prevents through the birth control it provides poor women — and also conveniently forgets about all the lives PP SAVES through the 87% of its funding spent on cancer screenings and other health care that does not include pregnancy termination. I can only conclude that, for far too many so-called pro-lifers, some lives matter more than others.

  7. jesse l mabus (aka dubthach) says:

    hearing conflicting times for the committee hearing tomorrow 02 july in the house. is it 10am or 2pm? thanks!

  8. Jessica Luther says:

    We will have this information soon but the House has not yet released the times.

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