Dear Coalition Members:images (12)

Thank you all very much for signing on to our past letters. All finalized Sign-on Letters are available for viewing on our website athttps://secularpolicyinstitute.net/advocacy-campaigns. Please feel free to share with your organization.

As the United States Supreme Court deliberates two cases involving reproductive freedom in Texas, the Secular Policy Institute regards this current term all the more important to remain committed to opposing faith-based resistance to reproductive rights. Texas, in particular, has been at the center of the intersection between religion and women’s reproductive rights. A growing public health concern, we continue to advocate for female empowerment by means of providing sex and birth control education.

The deadline to sign on is Tuesday, May 17, 2016; just reply to this email and send us your organization’s name. We will send one reminder next week.

Thank you,
Edwina Rogers

 

 

May 19, 2016

The Honorable Greg Abbott
Governor of Texas
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711

Dear Governor Abbott:

The Secular Policy Institute stands firm in its commitment to promote reproductive  freedom and oppose faith-based resistance. Reproductive freedom is a hard-won and rarely secure victory of civil rights. In the State of Texas there are laws that exemplify the cruelty and the burdens placed upon the recipients of the ire of certain social, political, and religious attitudes. There are currently two cases involving reproductive freedom and the State of Texas being decided this term by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court examined restrictions on abortions. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court opposed state laws placing a “substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability,” otherwise known as an “undue burden.” Yet, this is what many anti-choice organizations have successfully implemented. These burdens include waiting periods, two visits before services can be provided where the first includes a “forced ultrasound” where if the mother averts her eyes, the description is read to her, and mandating that physicians performing the procedure have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. When Texas passed its 2013 Abortion Omnibus Bill, the number of clinics offering such services reduced from 40 to 19. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently deciding on applying a “substantial burden” test to these restrictions.

While affordable access to contraception increased via a mandate to provide “preventative coverage” in the Affordable Care Act (ACA, 2010), a 2014 challenge in the Supreme Court by Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. undermined the spirit of the law by applying First Amendment religious exercise privileges to closely-held, private for-profit corporations. The Court is now hearing the case of Zubik v. Burwell to determine if non-church religious organizations are exempt. While losing in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals alongside seven other similar Appellate Court defeats, East Texas Baptist University’s claim on an exemption is being included in Zubik.

These Texas statutes are just some examples of the “TRAP” laws enacted in 22 states. “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Procedures” (TRAP), reducing the availability of and access to contraception or other family and reproductive planning methods, and general safer-sex education being substituted by abstinence-only curriculum are harmful, cruel, and disproportionately affect those below the poverty line. The Secular Policy Institute is committed to promoting public health and reproductive freedom.

Yours sincerely,

Edwina Rogers
Secular Policy Institute
401 Ninth St., NW, Suite 640

Washington, DC 20004
edwina@secularpolicyinstitute.net
(202) 430-1888