FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2013
In response to House Bill 2, legislation that would reduce access to critical women's health care services, including abortion services, Senator Sylvia R. Garcia filed legislation to reduce unplanned pregnancies and provide extended postpartum care for low income mothers and joined in a statewide Stand with Texas Women tour.
Senator Garcia joined Senate Democrats in a statewide Stand with Texas Women tour to connect with Texans who have been shut out of the ongoing women's health debate in Austin and to outline legislative alternatives that will reduce abortions without endangering women's health or undermining their rights.
"The supporters of HB 2 have it all wrong. If they truly cared about the health of women - and children - they would have filed preventative health care legislation like my SB 39 that would reduce unplanned pregnancies and abortions and SB 30 that ensures women who decide to move forward with their pregnancy and give birth can be healthy mothers to their child," said Garcia.
Senate Bill 30 would extend postpartum health coverage from 60 days to six months for low income mothers on the CHIP Perinatal program who become pregnant but are not eligible for Medicaid.
Senate Bill 39 directs the Health and Human Services Commission to conduct a comprehensive marketing campaign to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and the rate of sexually transmitted diseases.
Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus filed a package of bills that would reduce the number of abortions and unplanned pregnancies in Texas with common-sense strategies that don't block access to safe and legal abortion procedures. The Caucus' legislative package includes bills that would prevent unplanned pregnancies and provide better prenatal and early-childhood healthcare to mothers and babies who need it but often can't afford it. It also would protect women in Texas and ensure that they have access to the healthcare they need to make the best decisions about their lives and their bodies.
The Texas Senate is scheduled to take up HB 2 on Friday afternoon.
Democrats successfully blocked this legislation in the regular legislative session and the first special session, but those in control of the Capitol called a second special session and threw out traditional Senate rules to push the provisions into law. Thousands of Texans have come to the Capitol to speak on the bill, but far too many have been turned away without being able to testify at legislative committees.
Senate Democrats also had requested hearings on this issue in other Texas communities. However, those in control of the legislature denied such hearings outside the Capitol. Senate Democrats hope the Stand with Texas Women tour will allow more Texans to make their voices heard on the issue.
"The women of Texas and the world cannot be silenced," Senator Sylvia Garcia, of Houston, concluded. "Senator Davis and her Democratic colleagues will continue to fight for women's constitutional rights until the will of the people is heard in the rallies, the hearings, the floor votes and, most important, the ballot box."