Lest anyone think that there's no opportunity in this second special session to actually reduce unplanned pregnancies and the need for abortions in Texas, Senate Democrats filed a package of legislation that would accomplish just that.
However, don't expect Rick Perry to give the bills a hearing or let them see the light of day — his anti-woman agenda extends to sex education, fair pay, and healthcare for mothers and children.
The legislative package includes bills that would prevent unintended 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.
Read more about legislation that actually stands to protect Texas women below the jump.
Photo by Daniel Joyce.The package of legislation includes a number of measures that would actually help women avoid unwanted pregnancies and or be able to afford unplanned children and provide them the best possible start in the world.
- SB 24: Gives teen mothers who are 15-years-old or older the legal ability to consent to receiving contraception. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Texas leads the nation in repeat teen pregnancies.
- SB 25: Requires that sex education programs be based on actual evidence-based, scientifically verified research.
- SB 26: Requires sex education to be both evidence-based and comprehensive so that young adults know all they need to know about preventing pregnancy and avoiding sexually transmitted diseases.
- SB 27: Requires that parents be notified of the sex education curriculum that their children are being taught so that parents can be part of the process.
- SB 28: Ensures that women can pursue equal pay for equal work under state law. Identical to the Texas Lilly Ledbetter Act, which was passed by the legislature in the regular session but vetoed by the Governor last month.
- SB 29: Ensures more Texas women and families have the health coverage they need by expanding Medicaid as called for under the Affordable Care Act (this bill is related to Senate Joint Resolution 7, which would put Medicaid expansion requirements in the Texas constitution).
- SB 30: Extends Children's Health Insurance Program perinatal coverage from 60 days to 6 months after an infant is born.
Here's an idea from Texas Democrats: want to reduce abortion? Reduce unplanned pregnancies and make additional children less of an economic burden on women. Show the same regard for the born that is shown to the in-utero.
It's so crazy (read: based on science and fact, not snake-oil and cheaply printed pamphlets) that it just might work!
Because Governor Rick Perry controls what is on the call for the special session, he can refuse to add these items to the agenda. Thus, while it's clear that Texas Democrats are offering an alternative to SB 1, the back-door abortion ban that will shut down 37 of the 42 clinics in Texas, alternatives that will actually protect women and reduce the number abortions in Texas, Republicans want no part of it.
Clearly, all of this anti-choice legislation is about catering to a right-wing Republican primary electorate, shaming women, oppressing the poor, and forcing women to have children that the state has ZERO interest in providing a decent quality of life.
What's terrible is that actual Texas women will die as a result of SB 1 becoming law. But Republicans don't really care about that, now do they?