Em-URGE-ing Voices

Posts Tagged: legislation

5 Things I Learned From Lobbying at the Capitol

Yesterday I did something I wouldn’t have expected myself to do in a million years. I went to my Texas State Capitol and lobbied for a package of reproductive healthcare bills under the ‘Trust. Respect. Access.’ campaign. We had bills that addressed the need for comprehensive sex education in schools, to bills that addressed  the state-mandated 24-hour waiting period for abortions. But all the bills really simply fit into the platform of ‘Trust. Respect. Access.’ which means that we: Trust Texans to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions Respect the knowledge of healthcare professionals and their medical and ethical judgement about the care each patient needs. guarantee that everyone in Texas, if so chooses, gets Access to a safe, compassionate, and timely abortion. I learned so much from the training before… Read more »

Texas’ First Same-Sex Marriage: What Will Come Next?

Yesterday was a milestone day for Texans as the first same-sex marriage was performed in the Lone-Star State. It caused a lot of commotion (and rightfully so), however this does not mean that same-sex marriage is now legal in Texas. Seems a bit confusing right? Well it is, but let me break it down for you. Last February a U.S. district judge Orlando Garcia, ruled that the Texas ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. However, that was all that was ruled. Knowing his ruling would be appealed,  Garcia imposed a hold that prevented gays from immediately getting married until the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals would hear oral arguments. The 5th Circuit met on January 5, 2015 and heard from a 3-judge panel, but a decision is still yet to be… Read more »

Kansas Is Poised to Ban Second Trimester Abortions

Recently introduced in the Kansas Legislature was a bill that could shape up to be the strictest abortion law in the country. The proposed bill is a ban on a specific type of procedure that is primarily used in the second trimester, Dilation and Evacuation. Anti-choice advocates have been pushing to define this method as “dismemberment abortion.” If this bill were to pass, it could effectively outlaw any access to safe abortion care beyond 14 weeks of pregnancy. This past Monday, I attended an Advocacy Day at the Kansas Legislature that was hosted by URGE. Our focus for the day was a sex education bill that was recently introduced, outlined in my preview several weeks ago. However, in the days leading up to our trip, we were made aware of… Read more »

New Year, New Opponents: the Ohio 20 Week Ban

The year seemed to have ended positively in Ohio for reproductive justice legislation with the rejection of fetal “heartbeat” House Bill 248 in the House. This year does not seem to be shaping up to be any calmer for RJ advocates. The state of Ohio and the nation faces many more threats of legislation that attempt to restrict abortion. Earlier this week, we saw a proposal by abortion opponents to introduce a 20-week ban on care. This would mean that 20-weeks after gestation, a person would not be able to terminate their pregnancy. In 2011, Ohio’s governor John Kasich was able to pass a ban on abortions in the state after 24-weeks and the new push for 20-week bans continues a steady encroachment on the right to receive an abortion… Read more »

The battle for accurate history textbooks in Texas

View image | gettyimages.com Texas is often known for its political conservativeness; if you take a look at the bills that have been proposed during the 84th session of the Texas Legislature that began January 13 you see many examples of that. These bills include many attacks on reproductive justice. It is often forgotten though, just how important the power of testimony is when it comes to preventing some issues from making this far in legislation. In September of 2014 the State Board of Education (SBOE) held a public hearing to discuss possible changes that wanted to be made to Texas high school social studies textbooks. On the surface this doesn’t seem like that large of an issue, after all shouldn’t textbooks be updated with the most current and accurate… Read more »

Fighting Revenge Porn

Over the past several years, the problem of “revenge porn” has been growing. Revenge porn is commonly defined as sexually explicit material (usually photos or videos) posted online without the subject’s consent. This has been used as a tool to get revenge on a former partner, where usually this material was recorded consensually at the time, but is now a weapon to embarrass, harass, or humiliate the subject. It is an example of how sex crimes have adapted to the digital age. Any person can be the victim of this type of cyber sex crime, although it is far more likely for a woman to be the victim at the hands of her male partner. It can be devastating for the subject, with consequences not only for their mental and… Read more »

Kansas Sex Education Fight May Return in 2015

In 2007, the Board of Education in Kansas updated its policy with regard to sex education, removing the prior policy of recommending abstinence-only until marriage curriculum, and replacing it with a recommendation for an abstinence-based curriculum that includes factual information on STI and unintended pregnancy prevention. While this policy, which remains intact, does not have the ability to require any specific curriculum for an individual school district, it has helped improve young people’s access to the information they need. Many school districts have adopted an abstinence-plus curriculum, which falls in line with the recommendations from the Board of Education. This policy also does not include a requirement for any specific type of parental consent mechanism. Instead, the decision what type of parental consent is required has been left to individual… Read more »

Defeating Ohio’s “Heartbeat” Bill

HB 248, also known as the “Heartbeat” bill, which threatened to ban abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat (as early as six weeks) was thankfully defeated in the House of Representatives last week! The bill had the potential to make Ohio the most restrictive state in the nation for pregnancy termination. HB 248 was introduced in 2013, and is the second Heartbeat bill to pass through Ohio. The majority approval the Heartbeat bill in Ohio’s state Committee on Health and Aging shows the dangerous threats towards comprehensive reproductive care in Ohio at this time. This bill got defeated for many reasons, most importantly because it was unconstitutional. By regulating that the detection of a fetal heartbeat would end the right to an abortion, HB 248 violated the constitutional right of… Read more »