Take Action to Protect Abortion Rights

Public Comment and Testimony Guidance for the House Public Health Committee Hearing on Wednesday, 4/7

What is happening?

On Wednesday, April 7th at 8 AM, the Texas House Public Health Committee will hold a hearing for 6 anti-abortion bills. Additionally, another anti-abortion bill will be heard the following day, in the House State Affairs Committee. These appalling bills are extremist legislators’ latest attempt to push abortion so far out of reach that it is impossible to access. We need your help to fight back!

You can take action by submitting a public comment remotely if you are a Texas resident, or by giving public testimony at the committee hearing in person at the Texas Capitol in Austin.

Instructions:

To submit written public comment from anywhere in Texas, follow these instructions:

  • Step 1: Go to https://comments.house.texas.gov/home and scroll down.
  • Step 2: Confirm that you are a resident of Texas.
  • Step 3: Fill in your personal information. It’s important to remember that your public comment will be recorded. If you are concerned for your safety by disclosing your identity, send your written testimony to  and we can read or submit it on your behalf.
  • Step 4: Type the bill number in the search bar, making sure to include ‘HB’. The bills we are asking supporters to submit public comment against are HB 1515, HB 1280, HB 2337, HB 2313, HB 3218 and HB 3760
  • Step 5: Type in your public comment about this bill and why you oppose the bill. See a sample of what you should include in your public testimony.

To formally register in opposition (aka “drop a card”) against these bills, you will need to be in-person on the Capitol grounds on Wednesday. You can only drop a card the day of the hearing, and you must drop the card before testimony is heard on the bill. We suggest doing this between 7 AM – 12 PM on Wednesday. If you are willing to come to the Capitol to do so, follow these instructions:

  • You can access House Witness Registration site one of two ways, either on your own device through the Capitol’s Wi-Fi OR by using one of the touch screen kiosk stations inside of the Capitol Extension building. 
    • To use your own device, you can access House Witness Registration anywhere on Capitol grounds, including outside the building, as long as you are connected to the Capitol’s public wireless network. The best device to use will be your laptop computer, but a tablet will work as well. Your cell phone might not work with the online portal. 
    • To use the indoor kiosks, registration stations are located in the Texas Capitol Extension on levels 1 and 2. A map to locate these kiosks can be found here.

  • Once you have the House Witness Registraion site open (on your own device or at the kiosk), simply use the site to register as a witness against each anti-abortion bill by their House Bill (HB) number. 
    • To start, you will click “Begin,” select “Find a Bill,” and search for the bill by its number (ie. “HB 1515”).
    • Once you have the bill number up, you will click “Register.”
    • A pop-up window will then appear. You will select “Against” and then you can either select “Testify” or “Not Testify,” depending on whether or not you can stay and enter the building to testify during the hearing. Then press “OK.”
    • You will now see your stance in the blue button for the particular bill. You can now select “Next.”
    • You will now enter all of your contact information and select “Next” when completed. 
    • Unless you have the explicit permission to be representing an organization, you will select “No.” It will ask for your occupation, so just put whatever simplified name of your position is easiest. 
    • You will then acknowledge that all of the information you have submitted is correct and that you are in fact the person registering to testify. This is legally binding, so please don’t drop a card on behalf of someone else!
    • Repeat this process for all 6 of the anti-abortion bills.
    • Press “Finish”!

  • Voila, you have dropped a card!

Sample Comment or Testimony Format:

  • “My name is [XXXX] and I oppose House Bill [XXXX].”
  • [Add 1-2 lines about why you personally oppose this bill.]
  • [Incorporate one or two of the primary talking points (see below) against the bill.]
  • [Share why you care about abortion access.]
  • [Remind them why you oppose the bill, and urge them to reject this legislation.]

Anti-Abortion Bills

This bill is an unconstitutional, near total ban on abortion that creates a civil cause of action that allows anyone, regardless of whether or not they were connected to the abortion patient, to sue an abortion provider and anyone who helped a person get an abortion for a perceived violation of any abortion restriction. 

  • HB 1515 is an extreme and dangerous bill that would outright ban abortion in the state before many Texans even know they are pregnant, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Most abortions can’t even happen at 6-weeks gestation because of the time it typically takes a person to become aware of a potential pregnancy, confirm the pregnancy, consider their options, schedule the medical procedure and comply with the numerous existing restrictions, including a 24 hour waiting period, on abortion in Texas. 
  • HB 1515 creates frivolous and harassing lawsuits against doctors and anyone who helps patients access care by creating a cause of action that would allow anyone to sue both a doctor who performs an abortion and also anyone who “aids or abets” the performance of an abortion. 
  • HB 1515 is unconstitutional and has been struck down in every state where it was passed. Zero states are currently enforcing similar 6-week bans, because of court challenges. This bill will open our state up to expensive and time consuming legal challenges.
  • Medical experts, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose 6-week abortion bans.

This is an extreme bill that would ban abortion in Texas with few exceptions in the case that Roe v Wade gets overturned, while also subjecting doctors to criminal and civil penalties and disciplinary actions. 

  • This bill is so extreme that it makes essentially no exceptions for an abortion, including in the case of a lethal fetal diagnosis, which can be a heart-breaking situation for any family. 
  • Denying access to abortion care has a lasting impact on the patient and their family. Forcing someone to carry a pregnancy to term compounds existing economic hardships and significantly increases the odds of the patient and her children living in poverty. Each Texan deserves the right to decide what is best for themselves and their families.

This bill places extensive restrictions on how and when a provider can provide medication abortion. Mifepristone, the medication used in a medication abortion, is already subject to FDA restrictions and has a proven safety record.

  • Medication abortion is extremely safe and effective and gives patients the option to end their pregnancy at home or in another setting in which they feel comfortable, while still providing them with the medical support and information they need. 
  • Any attempt to restrict medication abortion is clearly motivated by politics, not science.
  • This bill is in direct conflict with the FDA label. In April 2019, the FDA approved the first generic form of mifepristone, following a review of the evidence that medication abortion is a safe, effective way to end an early pregnancy — with a safety record of over 99%.
  • This bill takes enforcement decisions out of the hands of local governments. 

This bill violates the privacy of Texans by creating a record and two-factor authentication of people and seeking abortions and forcing them to reveal their medical decisions to unlicensed strangers who are not their healthcare providers.

  • This bill requires inappropriate interference by a third party into the doctor-patient relationship. The bill requires a patient to receive counseling or a “resource access assistance offer” from state contractors, often Crisis Pregnancy Centers, before an abortion. In addition to the information the abortion provider must provide.
  • Abortion providers are already required to obtain informed consent and be trained to identify coercion, family violence and human trafficking, in addition to the already state mandated counseling and sonogram 24 hours before a procedure.

This bill unconstitutionally bans abortion based on a person’s private decision-making and alleged reason for having an abortion, and forces people to carry nonviable pregnancies against their will until they miscarry.

  • The state cannot be the arbiter of whether a person’s reasons for seeking pre-viability abortion are worthy or justified. 
  • Decisions about whether and when to continue or end a pregnancy or raise a child are best made by pregnant people, their families, and their health care provider. Politicians should never force anyone to make particular decisions about reproduction or to become a parent against one’s own will.
  • This bill is particularly cruel in that it is designed to shame and coerce a person who is facing a diagnosis of a lethal fetal anomaly. Contrary to what proponents may say, this bill does not protect anyone. This is about coercing women into carrying their pregnancies to term, even in cases where the fetus cannot survive.

This bill is an omnibus style bill that adds additional unconstitutional restrictions and hurdles for both patients and medical professionals.

  • This bill requires that abotion providers document that they’ve received information on giving birth and caring for a pregnancy in the case of a fetal anomaly and criminalize a provider if they don’t comply with the state’s proposed recordkeeping. 
  • This bill is an extreme and dangerous bill that would outright ban abortion in the state before many Texans even know they are pregnant.
  • This bill will create  frivolous and harassing lawsuits against doctors and anyone who helps patients access care.

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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!