UPDATE: If you want to testify, you can sign up to give oral testimony up until the hearing is over (that’s our understanding as of 9:25am). If you want to only give written, bring 15 copies and drop off at table outside of hearing room (capitol extension, E1.036). If doing oral testimony and handing in written, sign up at the table and give 1 copy to table. When you go in to give your oral testimony, give other 14 copies of written testimony to clerk inside the room.
Here are all the details you will need (I hope):
WHAT is happening tomorrow?: Senator Jane Nelson, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services (remember her?), is convening a hearing on women’s health where family planning and preventive health care funding will be discussed.
Whether you can make it tomorrow or not, use the form at this link to send Senator Jane Nelson and her committee a message about how you feel about family planning and preventative health care funding in this state.
WHY is Nelson convening?: According to the committee hearing announcement, it’s to:
Build on previous legislative achievements in women’s healthcare by examining women’s access to preventative health care, pregnancy services, and postpartum care, and exploring ways to expand access and improve quality, particularly in rural and underserved areas of the state. Monitor the implementation of women’s health programs in Texas. Assess these programs’ impact on outcomes such as improving access to preventative services, reducing unplanned pregnancies, and achieving cost savings. Recommend ways to better coordinate the various programs in a manner that increases the number of women served, ensures adequate provider capacity statewide, and maximizes efficiencies to the state.
According to the Texas Freedom Network:
As they were passing the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion measures, state Sen. Jane Nelson and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst promised all Texans that they would “roll up [their] sleeves” and have a meaningful discussion about women’s health this year.
Let’s make sure it’s actually meaningful because we know how trustworthy the word of the TX GOP is.
Here is what an email from Planned Parenthood Texas Affiliates had to say about those “achievements”:
Texas women and their families are facing a health care disaster at the hands of out-of-touch politicians. And let’s be clear: Legislators have not restored the programs that provided birth control and well woman exams to low-income women. It is not clear if the $100 million for women’s health care added to the budget at the end the legislative session will reach those women in need. The network of providers in this program excludes providers like Planned Parenthood who traditionally serve the most family planning patients and provide the widest range of reproductive health services.
Some more info:
In 2011, the Texas Legislature made devastating cuts to the State Family Planning Program and as a result 155,000 women lost access to health care in 2012. This represents the dismantling of a safety net that took decades to build and current health care providers are unable to address the need for women’s health care.
As you are keenly aware, relentless attacks against Texas women continued and last summer a restrictive and onerous abortion law was enacted, taking a complex, deeply personal, and constitutionally-protected decision to end a pregnancy from an estimated one out of three Texas women.
It’s incredibly important to note: Legislators have not restored the programs that provided birth control and well woman exams to low-income women. It’s obvious that the need for quality, affordable and cost-saving health care in Texas has never been greater.
WHEN and WHERE (there are 2 events tomorrow): Committee hearing begins at 9:00 AM, Thursday, February 20, in Texas State Capitol extension — room E1.036 (Finance Room). NOTE: There’s one other item on the agenda, so the women’s health part of the hearing may not start exactly at 9am and we don’t know how long this day will go.
There will be a news conference held by the Texas Freedom Network, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Whole Woman’s Health, and CPPP at noon in the open air rotunda in the extension (level E2) of the capitol.
Here is a map so you can find the rooms tomorrow, though I imagine there will be people in orange shirts helping to direct people. Also, FYI: elevators are in the north wing of the capitol.
WHAT you need to do/know:
- Wear orange (if you’re like me, you have a plethora of orange t-shirts to choose from these days)
- If you want to testify in person, they are asking ONLY for people who can tell personal stories about how the cuts to family planning and the restrictive abortion laws have hurt them (vs., say, someone like me who is just fucking angry about how things have gone down and the potential for harm). If you are interested and able to provide testimony, please contact PPact know at your earliest convenience. They are happy to provide you with talking points, information and statistics about women’s health care access in Texas. Additionally, for those interested in providing testimony, you will also need to bring 15 printed copies of your written testimony.
- If you want to provide written testimony only, you can submit it, but you must sign a card at the hearing room in person and bring 15 copies. But if you can’t stay for the hearing, this is one way to get on the record.
- Parking: the Capitol Area Visitor’s Parking Garage is located at 12th Street and Trinity (map). The first two hours of parking are free. There is also a lot of metered parking around the capitol but BRINGS YOUR QUARTERS.
- Twitter hashtags: #FightBackTX, #TXfactcheck and #TXLege
- Twitter handles to follow for updates and retweet opportunities: @TFN; @naralTX; @PPGreaterTX; @WholeWomans; @scATX; @andreagrimes
- Whether you can make it tomorrow or not, use the form at this link to send Senator Jane Nelson and her committee a message about how you feel about family planning and preventative health care funding in this state.