Target: Texas Governor, Rick Perry
Goal: Stop the bill that would effectively end safe, legal abortion in Texas
Recently, Texas lawmakers proposed a new bill that aims to severely restrict accessibility to safe, legal abortions in the state. Senate Bill 537 comes on the heels of the statewide termination of the Women’s Health Program, a program that provided insurance to over 100,000 women as well as helped to fund Planned Parenthood. The new bill, backed by Governor Rick Perry, targets remaining health centers by only allowing abortions in facilities that meet certain restrictive criteria, namely that they must have operating rooms for minor surgeries. To meet this specification, health facilities that currently offer abortion services, including abortion-inducing medication, would have to take steps to become Ambulatory Surgical Centers, licensed under Texas law. This, in itself, comes with a long list of regulations as well, including specific rules concerning ventilation systems, flooring, and size of operating rooms. These stipulations, while vital to the safety of a sterile operating room, are excessive and unnecessary for abortion procedures, which are presently carried out safely in health centers. The long list of rules outlined for licensed Ambulatory Surgical Centers would be extremely difficult for most health facilities in Texas to adhere to, resulting in their eventual closures. In fact, sponsors of the new proposed bill readily admit to the fact that only 5 of the state’s 38 clinics would be able to meet all of the new requirements.
According to the CEO of Planned Parenthood of West Texas, Carla Holeva, the bill is nothing more than a “part of Governor Rick Perry’s plan to end safe, legal abortion in Texas, and not about protecting women’s health or safety.” The shutdown of more than half of Texas’s health clinics would leave the vast number of women living in rural areas without many options, as only those facilities in major cities would likely survive. These centers provide many important health services to women other than abortion, including breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings, birth control and basic reproductive care. In addition, if passed, the bill could lead to an increased number in unsafe abortions performed by unlicensed practitioners, something that is known to contribute to the spread of disease and life-threatening infection. Take a stand against this attack on women’s reproductive rights in Texas by demanding that Governor Rick Perry throw out the proposed bill and instead focus on reinstating important programs that allow Texas women access to health services.
Dear Governor Rick Perry,
In recent years, the rights of Texas women have been severely restricted through the shutdown of programs that allow them access to healthcare. The termination of the Women’s Health Program and cuts in funding to Planned Parenthood, along with excessive requirements imposed upon currently standing abortion clinics, has made it extremely difficult for women to utilize these facilities. The proposed Senate Bill 537 that requires health centers to become licensed Ambulatory Surgical Centers would do nothing but further restrict access to basic reproductive healthcare. The requirements demanded by this bill are unnecessary to the safety of abortion procedures and serve only to push complicated requirements on already limited clinics across the state. The passing of this bill would likely result in the closure of the majority of Texas’s women’s health centers, making it incredibly difficult for women, especially those living in the state’s abundant rural areas, to access the few remaining facilities.
These clinics provide valuable and often life-saving services for women, and are an important part of women’s reproductive rights and basic health. By passing this bill, and the resulting closure of many of the state’s clinics, you are responsible for revoking women’s rights to reproductive health. I urge you to reconsider Senate Bill 537 in regards to its many negative impacts on Texan women, and to instead work toward reinstating the many important programs and services geared toward easing women’s accessibility to healthcare.
[Your Name Here]