Reproductive health care

by Jake Patoski

Trust. Respect. Access.

trust-respect-access-logo-377pxThe Texas Freedom Network is working with a coalition of local progressive organizations on a long term campaign to promote policies that restore trust in Texans to make their own reproductive health care decisions, respect for health care professionals’ judgment about patient care and access to the full range of reproductive health care in Texas. Extremist politicians have gone too far in restricting reproductive health care, and today, a diverse group of Texans comes together to demand lawmakers take the first steps toward a better Texas.

You can get involved by joining the Texas Rising campaign. When you sign up we’ll keep you up to date on relevant bills that are moving in the Texas legislature and send you calls to action when we need you to use your voice.

TRUST.

Trust Texans to make their own reproductive health care decisions.

• Polling shows that an overwhelming majority of Texans agree that it is important for students to get comprehensive, age-appropriate and medically accurate sex education that includes information on birth control as well as abstinence.1
• Studies indicate that young people who receive comprehensive sex education are 50 percent less likely to have an unintended pregnancy than those who receive abstinence-only education.2
• We trust young parents to make health care decisions for their children, but we deny them the right to consent to their own reproductive health care.
• Evidence suggests that parental consent requirements for contraception can deter young people from seeking care for other important reproductive health services, including testing and treatment for STIs.3
• Texas has the highest rate of repeat teen births in the United States. Allowing young parents to access contraceptives will help reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies and allow young parents to plan and space their pregnancies.4
• A study by the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that Colorado teens who had access to no-cost, long-acting, reversible contraception were five times less likely than teens nationwide to get pregnant.5
• Giving young people the ability to plan and space their pregnancies reduces the risk of fetal, infant and maternal mortality6 and helps them achieve their educational and career goals.7

RESPECT.

Respect health care professionals’ medical and ethical judgment about the care each patient needs.

• The current Women’s Right to Know Act forces health care providers to choose between violating their ethical obligations and violating the law. Physicians are forced to tell patients seeking abortion that the procedure might increase their risk of breast cancer, a claim that is not supported by credible evidence and is rejected by leading reproductive health and cancer experts.8
• The promotion of a false link between breast cancer and abortion is a scare tactic that attempts to deter people from obtaining a safe and legal abortion.
• Leading medical organizations, including the American Cancer Society, have concluded that abortion does not cause breast cancer.9  Politicians should not force providers to give patients false information intended to coerce or shame patients into changing their minds.
• Patients don’t ask politicians for medical advice; they trust their doctors to provide individualized care and medically accurate information about their health.
• Politicians should not interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and must respect health care professionals’ medical decision making.
• Texans do not want politicians in the examining room. For example, a strong majority of Latino voters in Texas agree that “a woman has a right to make her own personal decisions about abortion without politicians interfering.”10

ACCESS.

Guarantee access to safe, timely, abortion care for all Texans.

• Studies show that mandatory waiting periods create additional burdens for patients who have to visit abortion clinics multiple times, take more time off work and incur the expense of additional travel.11
• The increased financial and logistical burdens caused by the 24-hour waiting period prevent Texans from obtaining a safe and legal abortion.12
• Research shows that the mandatory waiting period does not change patients’ minds about having an abortion, but does have a negative effect on their emotional well-being.13
• Laws that make it difficult to access abortion disproportionately impact low-income Texans, rural Texans, immigrant communities and Texans of color.14


[1] http://www.tfn.org/site/PageNavigator/issues_religious_freedom_2013poll.html

[2] Kohler et al. “Abstinence-only and Comprehensive Sex Education and the Initiation of Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy.” Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(4): 344-351.

[3] http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/08/4/gr080406.pdf

[4] http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6213a4.htm?s_cid=mm6213a4_w

[5] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/12/25/want-to-reduce-teen-pregnancy-and-abortion-start-with-long-term-birth-control-2/

[6] American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, The Importance of Contraceptive Care to Women’s Medical Care (Feb. 2012).

[7] http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/social-economic-benefits.pdf

[8] http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Gynecologic-Practice/Induced-Abortion-and-Breast-Cancer-Risk

[9] http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/is-abortion-linked-to-breast-cancer

[10] http://latinainstitute.org/sites/default/files/NLIRH%20Research%20Memo_Final%20%281%29.pdf

[11] http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/MandatoryCounseling.pdf

[12] http://www.utexas.edu/cola/orgs/txpep/_files/pdf/TxPEP-ResearchBrief-ImpactofAbortionRestrictions.pdf

[13] http://www.utexas.edu/cola/orgs/txpep/_files/pdf/TxPEP-ResearchBrief-ImpactofAbortionRestrictions.pdf

[14] http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/17/1/gpr170109.html

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