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Elections & Politics

TODAY: Texans Rally to Oppose Attacks on Women’s Health

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 07.01.13

Natalie Maines, State Sen. Wendy Davis, actress Stephanie March, actress Lisa Edelstein, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, and NARAL President Ilyse Hogue to address crowd.

(Austin, TX)  -- Starting at noon CST today, women, men, and families from across Texas will rally on the South Steps of the Capitol to demonstrate their opposition to continued attempts by politicians to virtually eliminate access to safe, legal abortion in Texas. 

“The decision to force yet another special session on legislation to virtually ban abortion is an affront to the thousands of Texans who turned out in droves to oppose these efforts at every turn,” said Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.  “Governor Perry and his allies lost this fight in regular session, and even after they tried to shut down the democratic process, he and his allies lost again in front of the entire country last week.  A fuse has been lit in Austin, and there is growing opposition across the state to these attacks that endanger women’s health and safety.  People all across Texas are rising up to demand their voices be heard.”

WHEN:  Monday, July 1, 2013 — Rally begins at noon CST

WHERE:  South Steps, Texas State Capitol, 112 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78701                       

WHO:   Texans, Natalie Maines, Stephanie March, Lisa Edelstein, elected officials including State Sen. Wendy Davis, and women’s health advocates including Cecile Richards and Ilyse Hogue, who all believe women, not politicians, should make private, medical decisions.

WHY:  Undeterred by bully tactics of legislative leaders, Texans demand their legislators stop efforts to end access to safe and legal abortion in Texas.

During Regular Session, politicians filed more than a dozen bills restricting access to safe, legal abortion and none passed.  Legislation was defeated again last week in Special Session as thousands of Texans rose up to say “enough is enough.”  Despite the clear evidence that the majority of Texans are firmly opposed, Governor Rick Perry is once again playing politics with women’s health by forcing this issue onto the fast-tracked agenda for a second Special Session. 

If passed, the proposed TRAP (targeted restrictions on abortion providers) bills would result in the closure of multiple health centers outside of a few major cities.  This would have a devastating impact on women living in most areas of Texas.

Women’s health advocates fear that passage of the bill will compound Texas women’s health crisis. Leading medical providers and professional associations in Texas and across the country oppose these laws, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)These restrictions “would represent a significant step backward for the health status of Texas women,” wrote Dr. Lisa M. Hollier, MD, MPH, FACOG, chair, Texas District American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in her testimony before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee during Regular Session.

Background Facts:

FACT: At a rally at the capitol in January, Governor Rick Perry said he wants to make abortion “a thing of the past” in Texas. His Special Session agenda is part and parcel of that strategy.

FACT:  Abortion providers already adhere to standard medical regulations to ensure patient health and safety.  The sole purpose of targeted restrictions on abortion providers (“TRAP”) is to make abortion inaccessible to women by imposing excessive, medically unnecessary and sometimes impossible-to-meet restrictions on providers.  If enacted, this legislation could reduce the number of health centers providing safe and legal abortion in Texas from 42 to six.

FACT: Planned Parenthood represents a small percentage of abortion providers in Texas.  In fact, 71 percent of abortion providers in Texas are not affiliated with Planned Parenthood. If passed, this bill would have devastating consequences for women across the state, virtually banning abortion in Texas.

FACT:  An estimated 130,000 women are going without basic, preventive health care due to the 2011 Texas Legislature’s drastic cuts to women’s health care funding.  Since Governor Perry has also banned Planned Parenthood from the state Women’s Health Program, health care access for tens of thousands more has been lost.

FACT: Women’s health experts point out that targeted restrictions on abortion providers do nothing to enhance patient health and safety. David Grimes, former chief of abortion surveillance at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says of bills like the ones in Texas: “These kinds of regulations do nothing to advance women’s health. All they do is drive up the cost of care and cause women to delay, which drives up the risks.

FACT: Silvie Colman, a researcher at Mathematica Policy Research, and Ted Joyce, a professor of Economics at Baruch College, evaluated the impact of Texas’s 2004 TRAP law (applying only to some, not all, providers) requiring health centers to meet excessive and medically unnecessary regulations.  According to his research, “The effect was immediate and dramatic.”  Upon enactment in January 2004, the average distance for a woman to travel for some abortion procedures increased from 33 miles to 252 miles (Colman, S., Joyce, T. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 30, No. 4, 775–797, 2011).

FACT:  Planned Parenthood insists on the highest standards of patient care and has rigorous safety guidelines in place. Planned Parenthood's medical standard and guidelines are informed by the most trusted medical knowledge as well as professional and scientific organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the United States Preventative Services Task Force, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.