June 25, 2013
SB 5 jeopardizes the health of Texas women.
- SB 5 would do little to prevent abortions. It will do a lot to prevent legal ones.
- It makes it much harder for women to get safe, legal and accessible health and abortion services.
- It creates a back-room process to negate women’s constitutional rights over their own bodies.
For Democrats, this issue has never been about politics. We did not ask for this fight, and we did not want it.
- This divisiveness was unleashed on the legislature ONLY to satisfy Republican primary voters who are out-of-step with middle-class Texans.
- SB 5 is part of a political effort being waged for political gain.
The proposals contained in Senate Bill 5 failed, as they should have, in various bills during the regular session.
- Over the past two weeks, the Republicans in control of the legislature have used this special session to ram these proposals through the process.
Worse yet, those in control of both chambers, repeatedly and arbitrarily, changed and sidestepped rules to do so.
- This makes a mockery of the traditions that so many senators take pride in.
- That alone should demonstrate how bad this bill is for Texas, and what a shame it is that it’s so close to passage.
These are political decisions that are part of a political effort.
- Women are collateral damage in that effort.
- Those in control are building political campaigns over the rights of Texas women.
Not one pro-choice legislator likes abortion.
- Every one of us wants, or should want, to address this issue in a way that actually helps Texas women, like by reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies among teenagers.
- We’re all willing to work to solve these issues. But these bills don’t provide solutions.
INFORMATION ABOUT SB 5:
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, SB 5 would shut down 37 of the 42 clinics where women can be assured of receiving the health services they’re constitutionally entitled to.
- If SB 5 passes, women across the state will have to travel hundreds of miles to access safe and legal services.
- It will put these services out of reach for women in communities across this state.
- On Twitter, The Lieutenant Governor has all-but-bragged that this is the intention of this bill.
SB 5 also ignores repeated recommendations of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – medical experts who actually understand the implications of this decision.
- That group opposes, “legislative proposals that are not based on sound science or that attempt to prescribe how physicians should care for their individual patients.”
And SB 5 ignores an appeal by the Texas Medical Association, representing more than 47,000 member physicians and medical students, that the legislature not insert itself in the relationship between patients and their physicians.
LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS AFFECTING WOMEN:
Connect the dots that Texans see to understand why so many Texans are afraid of how this legislature treats women. Let’s talk about the standard of care for women:
In 2011, the legislature slashed health care services for 147,000 women across the state and cut family planning by tens of millions of dollars.
- The legislature also eliminated critical providers from the Women’s Health Program over nothing more than politics.
- This session’s budget was better, but we’re only beginning to face the implications of this legislature’s actions and ensure that women have access to basic necessities such as health screenings, and breast and cervical cancer screenings.
This session, the legislature did virtually nothing to expand health coverage in Texas.
- It turned its back on billions of dollars in federal healthcare funding, even though we lead the nation in our percentage of uninsured.
- And it left 1.2 million children without health insurance for at least another two years.
This month, the Governor vetoed a bill that simply said women deserve as much pay as men when they do the same work as men, and they have the right to pursue that pay under state law when they’ve been discriminated against.
- This premise didn’t even deserve a controversy, let alone a veto.
In each of the last three sessions, those in control have rejected legislation that would very probably reduce abortions by reducing the unplanned pregnancies that lead to them.
- The only certain way to prevent the termination of an unwanted pregnancy is to prevent the unwanted pregnancy.
Just during the SB 5 debate, the Senate voted down amendments that would have ensured sex education taught in Texas schools is evidence-based, and required that parents know what their children are being taught.