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The night of June 20, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a devastating budget that blocks low-income women from accessing free breast and cervical cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (BCCS). This follows years of hostile policies that have left tens of thousands of Texas women without access to cancer screenings, birth control, HIV tests and other preventive care (read more from the Guttmacher Institute).

This came as women's health advocates rallied outside the governor's mansion alongside 20 year old Sadie Hernandez, who was on day 17 of a "people's veto" protest outside the governor’s mansion calling for a veto of the measure. Polls consistently show that the majority of Americans support access to affordable birth control and access to safe and legal abortion.

For some communities, like Waco, Planned Parenthood is the only provider women can turn to for these lifesaving services. In the words of Gay Norman a Planned Parenthood and BCCS patient from Waco: “If I hadn’t come to Planned Parenthood, there was no way I could have had care with no insurance...I would be dead if it hadn’t been for this program.” Here's more about Norman and the care Planned Parenthood provides through this critical program for Texas women.

This new law signed today comes on the heels of a devastating decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to uphold a 2013 state law that could leave the 5.4 million women of reproductive age in Texas with only 9 or 10 health centers in the entire state that provide safe legal abortion — and approximately 900,000 of those women with no health center within 150 miles of their home.

“It’s 2015 — a woman living in Texas should be able to access basic health care. Instead, because of Abbott’s action, women across Texas will suffer--women like Gay Norman, who is alive thanks to care she received at Planned Parenthood, said Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America."

“At Planned Parenthood we never give up — and we will continue fighting on all fronts to protect women’s access to health care in Texas and across the country. We’ve seen an outpouring of support from thousands of people who are enraged and want to take action — that’s how we were able to open a new, state-of-the-art health center in Dallas," Richards continued.

“Governor Abbott has a clear vision for Texas — and it leaves women out in the cold. We have a different vision for Texas, one where women are able to receive the health care they need — no matter what. And Texans are with us, including a new generation of activists like Sadie Hernandez, who’s spent weeks protesting outside the Governor’s mansion through pouring rain. She represents a whole generation of women who refuse to let these attacks go unnoticed.”

Tags: Abortion, Texas, Greg Abbott, cancer screenings

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With S.B. 8 now in effect, politicians, neighbors, and even complete strangers can sue anyone who helps a person access an abortion in Texas after six weeks.

This is a red-alert moment for sexual and reproductive rights. And that's why we need your help.

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