Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) Executive Director Dyana Limon Mercado visited with us to discuss the draconian bills in the Texas Legislature that must be called what it is, an assault on women.
Planned Parenthood & women under attack
Dyana Limon-Mercado was the perfect explainer-in-chief for Planned Parenthood. If her message is permeated throughout, their political program would be over.
How you can help.
How to help: Go to pptexasvotes.org to sign up to be a volunteer and get opportunities to fight forward for reproductive rights. You may also make a gift to be put immediately to work defeating bad bills and standing up for the health and rights of all Texans.
What is Planned Parenthood Texas Votes?
Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) is the nonpartisan advocacy, policy, and political arm of Planned Parenthood in Texas.
We believe that health care cannot just be available, it must be accessible. As a distinct 501(c)(4) organization, PPTV advances the ability of Planned Parenthood affiliates to provide care in our state by forging a social and political climate where health care is not just available but accessible. We build power to represent the majority view that abortion rights should be protected through legislative advocacy, leadership development, electoral campaigns, and grassroots organizing. We center Planned Parenthood patients, young people, and people of color in our leadership, programs, and organizing because we know that we are the majority and the future of Texas.
We mobilize one of the largest progressive supporter bases in Texas with over one million strong. We are building a Texas where every person can access the full range of reproductive health care.
What is the impact of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes’ work in the state?
Planned Parenthood Texas Votes is the statewide organization for mobilizing progressive power to stand up for our health and rights. In a state with a devastating history of anti-abortion attacks — and a state with such great potential to shift the balance of power — the impact of our work reverberates around the country and world.
We’ve had a track record of real wins to be proud of. Since its founding just seven years ago, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes has made a significant impact in building a progressive movement in Texas:
- Struck down 95% of bad bills in the last legislative session.
- Helped elect and re-elect dozens of champions for sexual and reproductive health in the Texas Legislature and at the local level
- Reached over half a million Texans to get out the vote in 2020, 89 percent of whom were under the age of 35.
- Trained 300 young leaders per year through our youth power fellowships and community training.
- Expanded the base of Planned Parenthood supporters in Texas from 380,000 to 1.1 million today.
What is the state of abortion access this legislative session?
- This week, seven bills were heard by House committees. Six were heard before the House’s Public Health Committee, which is chaired by anti-abortion Rep. Stephanie Klick:
- HB 1515 Slawson (The 6 Week Ban), would ban abortion before many even know that they are pregnant
- HB 1280 Capriglione (the Trigger Ban): A “trigger ban” that would ban abortion with no exceptions should Roe v. Wade be overturned.
- HB 2337 Klick (Life restrictions), medication abortion (“abortion pill”) ban, which conflicts with FDA labels and bans medication abortion at 7 weeks. Companion to a Senate bill filed by Democrat Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., who opposes safe, legal abortion.
- HB 2313 Leach (crisis pregnancy center counseling bill), which would force Texans to call an outside hotline, run by third parties, if they want to receive an abortion. This would mean that patients must reveal their medical decisions to unlicensed strangers.
- HB 3218 Schaefer (Palliative Care and Reason Ban), which would ban abortion based on a person’s private decision-making, and force people to carry unviable pregnancies until they miscarry.
- HB 3760 Oliverson (Omnibus), is an omnibus bill combining the reason ban, 6-week ban, and trigger ban all in one. This bill would penalize doctors for providing care and ban abortions before many Texans know they are pregnant.
- When these bills were heard Wednesday, Planned Parenthood champions Rep. Zwiener, Rep. Collier, and Rep. Coleman stood their ground and asked important questions to witnesses and bill authors.
- All six bills have been left pending in committee. Public Health is scheduled to meet again tomorrow, Wednesday the 14.
- HB 1173 Noble (Practical Support): A seventh anti-abortion bill that would strike down the city of Austin’s practical support (transportation, lodging, child care) for people with low incomes seeking an abortion was heard by the House State Affairs Committee. It is also pending a vote in committee.
What is Planned Parenthood Texas Votes doing to fight back?
- Advocacy Week of Action and Movement Building
- Last week, we held our Planned Parenthood Texas Advocacy Week of Action. This week of action made a significant impact in the movement to protect reproductive health and rights. With our supporters, we reached 13,500 people online, delivered calls to legislators, submitted public comments, trained 150 advocates and connected more nearly 100 Planned Parenthood patients and supporters directly with legislators.
- PPTV works everyday to uplift the voices, stories and experiences of Planned Parenthood patients and Texans who need access to sexual and reproductive health care, in legislative advocacy.
- We do this by engaging and educating legislators and connecting them directly to real Texans to share their stories, that includes one-on-one and group meetings, rallies, briefings, petitions, trainings, calls, emails and getting people to the Capitol — masked and socially distanced. If there is a way to connect legislators to Planned Parenthood patients, we’re doing it.
- Our strategy is to defend against these bills by demonstrating how extreme these bills are and that a majority of Texans support access to safe, legal abortion
- Texans are still dealing with the public health and economic crises of COVID, in addition to the devastating winter storm. Texans want real solutions to the real problems that families face everyday — not political games that takeaway health care.
- That’s why we are mobilizing supporters around the messaging #TXDeservesBetter to fight back on these politically-motivated bills.
What proactive opportunities exist?
- The fight for abortion access is a long one. It’s not only about defending against more restrictions but rather about imagining a better Texas — one where every person can access the sexual and reproductive health care they need and want so that they can keep themselves healthy and plan if and when they want to have a family, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, income, race, ethnicity, immigration status or where they live.
- As a part of our proactive strategy, PPTV filed the Free Choice of Providers Act. It would allow trusted community health care providers like Planned Parenthood to participate in funding and programs to increase access to affordable, essential reproductive health care for tens of thousands of Texans. You can learn more at www.freechoicetx.org
- PPTV is working with the Trust Respect Access coalition on an omnibus bill called the “Abortion is Health Care Act” that would repeal many of the abortion restrictions from the past decade, including the 24-hour waiting period, mandatory sonogram among a dozen others.
- Our proactive strategy is focused on long-term power-building and culture shift so that we can expand care in the future and achieve our collective vision of a state where all Texans can access the reproductive health care they need.
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