Equality, Civil Liberties Groups Denounce Shameful Deal Pitting Rights of Transgender Texans against Planned Parenthood Funding

by Dan Quinn

Last week Texas House members shamefully bartered over the lives of transgender Texans and women’s access to health care services. Today the Texas Freedom Network joined with our coalition partners to call out this outrageous bargain. Here’s the press release we sent out:

EQUALITY, CIVIL LIBERTIES GROUPS DENOUNCE SHAMEFUL DEAL PITTING RIGHTS OF TRANSGENDER TEXANS AGAINST PLANNED PARENTHOOD FUNDING

Texas House Members Used Discriminatory ‘Bathroom’ Amendment as Bargaining Chip to Defund Planned Parenthood’s Health Care Services for Low-Income Women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2017

AUSTIN – Leading equality and civil liberties organizations are expressing their disgust over a middle-of–the–night, backroom deal in which Texas House members last week bartered over the rights of transgender Texans and women’s access to reproductive health care services.

During debate over the House’s version of the state budget, lawmakers agreed not to vote on a proposed amendment to discriminate against transgender Texans in public restrooms in return for a vote to eliminate state funding for women’s health care services provided by Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is the primary health care provider for many low-income women. If passed as is, the House budget bill would bar state funds for cancer screenings, birth control and other reproductive health care services the organization provides to thousands of low-income Texans.

The deal does not bar future efforts by House members to pass SB6. That bill, which has already passed the Senate, would subject transgender Texans to legalized discrimination when they seek to use public restrooms. The House can still take up that discriminatory measure as a separate bill or as an amendment to other bills at any time.

Advocates denounced the deal as a clear example of the contempt many lawmakers have for the lives of transgender Texans as well as other people who rely on Planned Parenthood for health care services.

Rebecca L. Robertson, Legal and Policy Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas
“The women of Texas aren’t bargaining chips, and this isn’t a game. We depend on Planned Parenthood. Lawmakers need to know that we don’t need them in the exam room or the ladies room. Stop making cynical deals with women’s well-being.”

Chuck Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Equality Texas
“It is unconscionable that politicians in Texas are trading votes to advance their misinformed political agendas. LGBTQ people are among the people who need the very critical health care services Planned Parenthood provides. For many transgender Texans, Planned Parenthood serves as their primary health care provider. Targeting Planned Parenthood has a direct impact on access to competent health care for LGBTQ Texans.”

JoDee Winterhof, SVP for Policy and Political Affairs, Human Rights Campaign
“Countless Texas women depend on Planned Parenthood for things like prenatal care, cancer screenings, and birth control. Planned Parenthood also serves a crucial role for the LGBTQ community, and today they are one of the largest health care providers for transgender people. What’s more, they conduct millions of HIV tests per year. Defunding Planned Parenthood is not only an attack on those who depend on it — it’s a danger to public health.”

Kathy Miller, President, Texas Freedom Network
“Bartering over people’s lives by pitting the rights and dignity of transgender Texans against access to health care services that all women need is worse than despicable. It’s a shameful reminder of how lawmakers attempt to divide Texans against each other in pursuit of a crass, reckless agenda that puts the freedom and health of many people at risk.”

Lisa Scheps, Interim Director, Transgender Education Network of Texas
“The bottom line is, no laws protecting Texans should be used as bargaining chips in a late-night legislative poker game. Transgender Education Network of Texas stands with Planned Parenthood and supports the important work they do for ALL women in Texas and around the nation. In fact, what happened is all the more appalling because transgender Texans are among the many people who count on Planned Parenthood for health care services. We are disappointed in our state legislature for moves that seek to hurt Planned Parenthood and the health of Texas women.”

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is a guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, the Legislature and Texas communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution.

Equality Texas is the largest statewide organization dedicated solely to securing full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support religious freedom and individual liberties.

The Transgender Education Network of Texas works to further understanding of gender diversity in Texas and to end discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming Texans through social, legal, legislative and corporate education.

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