The Quickie: TX's Largest County Announces Reproductive Health Care Access Fund
For Immediate Release: March 15, 2023
Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day. You can read “The Quickie'' online here.
In today’s Quickie: PP press call today on mifepristone hearing – RSVP here, largest TX county proposes $6m in SRH funding, KY advances anti-trans omnibus bill, MN advances bill defending abortion access, and companies need to stand up for abortion rights.
TODAY AT 3:45 PM ET: PP OFFICIALS TO HOLD PRESS CALL ON FEDERAL MIFEPRISTONE CASE, WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT: Today, Planned Parenthood officials will hold a press call on recent developments in the abortion access crisis, stemming from lawsuits filed in Texas. In light of today’s scheduled hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on an unprecedented request to reverse the FDA’s more than 20-year approval of mifepristone, representatives from local Planned Parenthood organizations in Texas and Planned Parenthood Federation of America will discuss anti-abortion extremists’ continued efforts to undermine reproductive health care, including the recent filing of a first-of-its kind civil lawsuit against three Texas women, two of whom allegedly helped their friend obtain abortion pills.
- Wendy Davis, Senior Advisor, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes
- Dr. Bhavik Kumar, Medical Director of Primary and Trans Care, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast
- Carrie Flaxman, Senior Director, Public Policy Litigation and Law, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
WHEN: Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at 2:45 p.m. CT / 3:45 p.m. ET
WHERE: RSVP here.
HARRIS COUNTY OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE $6 MILLION REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE ACCESS FUND: On Monday, officials in Harris County — the most populous county in Texas, which includes Houston — announced a $6 million, two-year pilot program to fund reproductive health care in the wake of Texas’s abortion bans and devastating rates of maternal mortality and uninsured people. One in five Harris County residents between ages 14-44 are uninsured, and Texas’s uninsured rate is twice the national average. The Harris County funding would support community health organizations, increasing capacity particularly in zip codes with the most uninsured residents to expand access to services like contraception, health screenings, family planning education, and STI testing and prevention.
"Years of attacks on sexual and reproductive health and education, a lack of comprehensive health education in our schools and the most recent gutting of abortion care in this state have left the people of Texas in an avoidable and unnecessary predicament as they struggle to find the health care and information they deserve," said Dr. Bhavik Kumar, Medical Director for Primary and Trans Care at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. "Today, as Planned Parenthood has done for decades, Harris County is stepping up to fill the gaps in care that the state has created, affecting our most marginalized people."
Read more at Houston Chronicle and Houston Public Media.
KY LAWMAKERS ADVANCE ANTI-TRANS OMNIBUS BILL: Yesterday, anti-trans lawmakers in Kentucky amended HB 470, which has already been described as one of the worst attacks on gender-affirming care, to become an omnibus bill with a number of additional anti-trans provisions packaged in. These provisions include:
- A ban on gender affirming care for people under 18 years old with additional restrictions to block health care providers and mental health professionals from providing support and affirmation for trans youth;
- “Don’t Say Gay” provisions that prohibit teachers from providing “any instruction or presentation that has a goal or purpose of students studying or exploring gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation” at any grade level;
- Preventing social transition by banning districts from requiring educators to respect trans or gender non-conforming students’ gender identities and prohibiting courts from granting requested name or gender changes on birth certificates if the purpose is to affirm a young person’s gender identity;
- “Forcing outing” provisions which require schools to give parents access to a student’s educational or health records without the child’s consent and mandatory reporting to the parents when the students receives certain health or mental health services ;
- A sex education ban that prohibits any instruction on human sexuality before 5th grade and requires parents to opt-in to sex ed after 6th grade;
- “Bathroom bill” provisions that require students to use restrooms or locker rooms that align with their sex assigned at birth rather than the student’s gender
The bill has already advanced out of the Senate committee and is expected to receive a House vote soon.
“HB 470 takes the worst attacks on transgender youth that we’ve seen across the country and combines them into one bill designed specifically to attack trans youth in Kentucky,” said Tamarra Wieder, Kentucky State Director for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates. “All children in Kentucky deserve access to health care, support in their classrooms, and respect from our institutions – trans youth are no exceptions.”
Read more at the Courier Journal.
REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM DEFENSE ACT ADVANCING IN MINNESOTA: Minnesota lawmakers are on track to pass the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act (RFDA), legislation that would protect patients in Minnesota, patients coming to Minnesota from a state that bans abortions, and doctors who practice in Minnesota or outside of Minnesota. Earlier this year, lawmakers also enacted the Protect Reproductive Options Act, which codifies into state law Minnesotans’ right to make their own reproductive health care decisions.
“Since June, I’ve cared for patients from everywhere – from nearby states like South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin and from far away states like Texas, Alabama, Wyoming, and Oklahoma,” Dr. Sarah Traxler, Chief Medical Officer at Planned Parenthood North Central States, said in a statement. “We need the RFDA so that Minnesotans and all patients and doctors know that they are welcome here.”
COMPANIES NEED TO STAND UP FOR THEIR CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES: Over the weekend, at South by Southwest (SXSW), Dawn Laguens, Chief Global Strategy and Innovation Officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, spoke on a panel about corporate responsibility in the face of the abortion access crisis. Laguens emphasized that it’s imperative for companies to stand up for abortion rights on behalf of their customers and employees. Laguens said that corporate actions must also be thoughtful, such as being mindful of where employees are asked to travel to or relocate to, especially if those states have restrictive abortion bans. A pregnant Planned Parenthood employee, for example, traveled to Texas for work and started bleeding and was advised by her doctor to leave the state immediately to ensure she received proper care as Texas has an extremely restrictive abortion ban.
“Companies need to communicate clearly what you can expect, especially for new employees,” Laguens said. “We also need companies to consider: Are you expanding in a state or sending your employees to a state to work and live where they’re in danger?”
According to Fast Company, more than 700 companies have signed onto the Don’t Ban Equality pledge, which supports abortion rights, and many major companies have begun offering travel benefits for employees who may need to travel out of state to get an abortion.