2021 Texas Legislative Agenda

With anti-abortion extremists on the offense, we need a bold and unapologetic strategy that declares abortion is healthcare.

Here’s what’s in the Avow Abortion Access Agenda:

  1. Repeal the Medically Unnecessary Restrictions on Abortion
  2. Prioritize Reproductive Health and Abortion in the State Budget
  3. Enact Public Health Policy to Benefit All Texans

#1: Repeal the Medically Unnecessary Restrictions on Abortion

"I had to go through a judicial bypass to get my abortion. Having to wait 24 hours after my initial appointment while also going back and forth from court and the clinic made it harder to maintain important school obligations. It also fueled the lack of autonomy I had in the abusive relationship I was in. This is the same spirit of control that state regulations perpetuate that also exist within domestic violence. Young Texans deserve more as we are in direct relationship with the democracy of our state."

—Cowanda Rusk (she/her), We Testify Storyteller
"I had to go through a judicial bypass to get my abortion. Having to wait 24 hours after my initial appointment while also going back and forth from court and the clinic made it harder to maintain important school obligations. It also fueled the lack of autonomy I had in the abusive relationship I was in. This is the same spirit of control that state regulations perpetuate that also exist within domestic violence. Young Texans deserve more as we are in direct relationship with the democracy of our state."

—Cowanda Rusk (she/her), We Testify Storyteller

Over the past 20 years, the Texas Legislature has passed medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion and reproductive healthcare. The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) explicitly oppose these policies because they interfere with a physician’s duty to provide the best care for their patients. Anti-abortion laws are particularly harmful now because accessing healthcare is difficult and potentially dangerous during the global COVID 19 pandemic. 

The following restrictions should be repealed:

24 hour waiting period and 2 appointment requirements

The state of Texas requires a person seeking an abortion to schedule and attend two appointments with at least 24-hours in between them before accessing the care they need. This often necessitates extra unnecessary time off work, travel, and childcare costs.

ACOG specifically “advocate[s] against burdensome government restrictions that make it harder for women to access evidence-based care, such as requiring unnecessary waiting periods.”

These laws are particularly harmful to immigrant communities, Black and Latinx Texans, minors, rural folks, and low-income Texans who may not have the economic means or scheduling freedom to accommodate all of these requirements. Accessing transportation, securing childcare, and finding a place to stay are common hurdles to accessing abortion that could easily be lessened by repealing the unnecessary 24 hour waiting period requirement.

"I got my abortion when I was in high school, and I spent so much energy, time, and resources figuring all of my stuff out to getting myself to the abortion clinic. My heart absolutely sank with fear when I was told that I would have to figure it all out again in order to actually get the procedure. Another couple of days scrambling to figure out how to juggle school, miss work, find a reliable ride, and manage my ever-increasing anxiety."

—Stephanie Gomez (she/her), We Testify Storyteller
"I got my abortion when I was in high school, and I spent so much energy, time, and resources figuring all of my stuff out to getting myself to the abortion clinic. My heart absolutely sank with fear when I was told that I would have to figure it all out again in order to actually get the procedure. Another couple of days scrambling to figure out how to juggle school, miss work, find a reliable ride, and manage my ever-increasing anxiety."

—Stephanie Gomez (she/her), We Testify Storyteller

Targeted restrictions of abortion providers (TRAP laws)

These costly, dangerous laws were designed for the sole purpose of making it difficult for abortion providers to provide safe healthcare to their patients. Abortion providers are regulated differently than other medical providers. These unnecessary regulations should be removed for this exceedingly safe procedure.

State-mandated misinformation

In Texas, physicians who provide abortions are forced to read a script to their patients 24 hours before they have an abortion, which includes a long list of harmful, misleading information, and a pamphlet containing medically inaccurate information. This pamphlet falsely links having an abortion and the likelihood of infertility and breast cancer. This misinformation is intended to confuse and shame Texans who are getting the healthcare they want and need.

"As a Board Certified OB/GYN who proudly provides abortion and birth care for my community, patient safety and dignity are my top priorities. The good news is that abortion is already exceedingly safe and every day we are developing new ways to make it even safer. This safety record, however, is not because of the numerous abortion restrictions the people I care for are forced to endure. I support every effort to make reproductive healthcare safer, but the overwhelming evidence shows that abortion restrictions do not improve safety or quality."

—Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi (she/her), Board Certified OB/GYN
"As a Board Certified OB/GYN who proudly provides abortion and birth care for my community, patient safety and dignity are my top priorities. The good news is that abortion is already exceedingly safe and every day we are developing new ways to make it even safer. This safety record, however, is not because of the numerous abortion restrictions the people I care for are forced to endure. I support every effort to make reproductive healthcare safer, but the overwhelming evidence shows that abortion restrictions do not improve safety or quality."

—Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi (she/her), Board Certified OB/GYN

Physician-only requirement

The physician-only requirement denies licensed healthcare providers the ability to provide healthcare they are trained and qualified to perform. Nurse practitioners and other advanced practice clinicians should be able to practice to the extent of their training, which includes providing early abortion care. Repealing this requirement would reduce appointment waiting times and increase Texans’ ability to get an abortion in their community.

Forced sonograms

Texas law requires patients to undergo a medically unnecessary sonogram from the physician who is to provide their abortion care 24 hours before their abortion. This can cause both anxiety and trauma for patients. Physicians should be able to determine whether or not a sonogram is medically necessary and offer the option to their patients as well as allow other licensed professionals to provide an ultrasound. In addition to the potential emotional cost, there are also additional financial costs associated with sonograms that make abortion even less accessible to low-income Texans.

"Getting a forced, unnecessary sonogram was incredibly patronizing and insulting. The government is trying to say that we don't truly understand what a pregnancy is unless we hear a narration of what an embryo looks like. I didn't need to be talked down to and shamed; I just needed medical care."
Nick Lloyd (they/them)
We Testify Storyteller

#2: Prioritize Reproductive Health and Abortion in the State Budget

"Rosie lost her life because anti-abortion politicians ended Medicaid coverage of abortion care. She could not afford to pay for a safe, legal procedure and died after an unsafe abortion. Bans on abortion coverage in health insurance—like all attacks on abortion access—impact low-income Black, Indigenous, and people of color first. We must pass Rosie’s Law to ensure that every Texan, regardless of income, can access a safe abortion without having to put their lives at risk. We'll fight every legislative session until we get there."

—Erika Galindo (she/her), Lilith Fund Organizing Program Manager
"Rosie lost her life because anti-abortion politicians ended Medicaid coverage of abortion care. She could not afford to pay for a safe, legal procedure and died after an unsafe abortion. Bans on abortion coverage in health insurance—like all attacks on abortion access—impact low-income Black, Indigenous, and people of color first. We must pass Rosie’s Law to ensure that every Texan, regardless of income, can access a safe abortion without having to put their lives at risk. We'll fight every legislative session until we get there."

—Erika Galindo (she/her), Lilith Fund Organizing Program Manager

Although abortion is considered an essential form of healthcare by major medical associations like ACOG, public and private health insurance in Texas are prohibited from covering it. In Texas, funding for abortion is prohibited and funding for preventative reproductive healthcare is actively under attack.

Despite ACOG’s position that “it is critical that all Americans be provided with adequate and affordable health coverage” and that people often “jeopardize the health and well-being of themselves and their families [due to] an increasing portion of the American population that does not have health insurance coverage.”

Texans shouldn’t have to hurdle unnecessary financial obstacles to access a necessary form of healthcare. By removing abortion from the Texas Medicaid program, the Texas Legislature has added financial burden to families that are already struggling.

Increase funding and access to reproductive healthcare in state-administered programs

The two major reproductive healthcare programs administered by the state, Healthy Texas Women and the Family Planning Program remain underfunded and inaccessible to many Texans. These programs are worthy investments because they help more Texans access healthcare that can lead to early detection of cancer and other diseases, live healthier lives and save the state money.

Remove provider restrictions for Family Planning and Healthy Texas Women Program

After these restrictions were enacted in the state of Texas, many qualified physicians were prohibited from participating in these programs, and the number of patients who received family planning and other services plummeted. The state should not pick winners and losers in its provider networks but follow the neutral any willing provider principle and allow all qualified physicians and clinicians to provide care through these programs. Removing these restrictions will increase access to reproductive healthcare for Texans.

Cover of contraception in CHIP

The CHIP program provides health coverage to children and teenagers in the United States, but in Texas utterly fails to respond to their reproductive needs. Allowing CHIP funding to cover contraception will ultimately allow young people to make informed decisions about their own bodies. Access to contraception for birth control or other medically indicated reasons will empower them to comfortably live healthy sexual lives as they transition into adulthood.

#3: Enact Public Health Policy to Benefit all Texans

“When we drive up to the abortion clinic, we hear everyone else but ourselves due to the protests. Yet it’s our bodies, and we should be able to decide. The shaming, the guilting, this open practice of misogyny is not only beyond distasteful but a total disregard for our rights as women, as humans.”

—Tohan Omorodion (she/her), Clinic Access Support Network Volunteer
“When we drive up to the abortion clinic, we hear everyone else but ourselves due to the protests. Yet it’s our bodies, and we should be able to decide. The shaming, the guilting, this open practice of misogyny is not only beyond distasteful but a total disregard for our rights as women, as humans.”

—Tohan Omorodion (she/her), Clinic Access Support Network Volunteer

We are working towards a Texas in which all people can access abortion and reproductive healthcare safely, free from stigma, and without fear of any employment consequences. However, the current reality is far from this. There are laws that exist solely to stigmatize reproductive healthcare and personal family decisions. We are changing that by supporting legislation that prevents workplace discrimination based on reproductive decisions, that provides our young people with comprehensive and inclusive sex education, and that protects abortion providers and patients from harassment and violence. Abortion, contraception, and sexual health education are a normal part of a spectrum of reproductive healthcare and should be treated as such.

Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act

This bill “would explicitly protect both patients and physicians from violence and harassment outside of clinics. This bill protects anyone who may be affected; patients, healthcare workers, advocacy volunteers, and medical professionals. Implementing the FACE Act in Texas would prohibit the harassment that doctors, clinic staff, and patients face.

The Bosses out of the Bedroom Act

This bill would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of reproductive health decisions. The “bosses out of the bedroom act” would ensure that people wouldn’t be fired for reasons such as fertility treatments, adoption, accessing contraception, pregnancy before marriage, or abortion care. This bill would ensure that employees are judged by their performance at work, without regard to their personal and private healthcare decisions.

Repeal barriers to contraception for teens and provide better sexual health education

Texas should allow teens to consent to their own contraception, make contraception a benefit covered by CHIP and teach comprehensive sexual health education. We support bills that would particularly benefit Texan youths, and center the often-forgotten youth voice in the conversation about their reproductive rights and access to healthcare. Comprehensive sexual health education should ensure that students have a clear understanding of consent, which would ultimately cultivate healthier relationships across Texas.
"Young people's reproductive freedom is rooted in honoring their bodily autonomy. That's why teens in Texas deserve inclusive, medically accurate sex education and family planning services, including birth control."

—Rosann Mariappuram (she/her), Jane's Due Process Executive Director
"Young people's reproductive freedom is rooted in honoring their bodily autonomy. That's why teens in Texas deserve inclusive, medically accurate sex education and family planning services, including birth control."

—Rosann Mariappuram (she/her), Jane's Due Process Executive Director

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NARAL Pro-Choice Texas is now Avow!

To avow means to declare openly, bluntly, and without shame. Now more than ever, our state needs bold and unapologetic advocacy for abortion rights.

As an independent, Texas-based organization, Avow will continue our work at the state and local level — where the decisions that most impact Texans are happening.

Together, we can build a Texas where every person is trusted, thriving, and free to pursue the life they want.

Learn more about our new name, inspired by bold and unapologetic abortion advocates like you!