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Lege Week 13 Wrap-up: Healthcare under attack
Posted on April 9, 2021 at 5:28 pm

It’s time for our community to act. This coming Monday and Wednesday, the Texas legislature will hear 4 anti-LGBTQ+ bills; bills that restrict healthcare for transgender youth, empower healthcare providers to turn away anyone who “violates” their “moral, ethical or religious beliefs,” and further deepen the stigma for those living with HIV. To prepare, we invite every Equality Texan to take part in our Weekend of Action. 

There are so many ways to get involved to defeat these bills and have your voice heard. Every action truly makes a difference. In an op-ed about why he vetoed his party’s ban against best practice medical care for trans youth, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said “I acted on my convictions and based on what I learned in discussions with families, health-care professionals, faith leaders and transgender individuals…I came to the conclusion that this is a time to show compassion and to resist the temptation to severely restrict private family health-care decisions.”

The Arkansas legislature overrode the Governor’s veto and the bills in Arkansas became law. That’s why it’s so important for us to share our stories before these bills get to the Governor’s desk. Bill hearings are the only part of the legislative process where public testimony is collected for the official record. This is our greatest chance to show everyone watching what these bills will actually do to our kids, our friends, our neighbors, and our community. 

As part of our Weekend of Action, we’ll be highlighting specific actions to take each day leading up to the hearings on Monday.

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW

  • Sign up to testify in-person Monday, Wednesday, or both. By signing up at the links below, we’ll make sure you have talking points, logistics information, and access to a Sunday afternoon training on what it’s like to testify at the Capitol.
    • Sign up here to attend Monday’s hearing on SB 1646, which would add transition-related care to the definition of child abuse in the state of Texas and would target parents, guardians and anyone involved in administering that care. The hearing starts at 9:00 AM CST.
    • Sign up here to attend Wednesday’s hearing on HB 1399, which would primarily target medical professionals’ liability insurance if they provide transition-related care, and HB 1424 which would allow any medical professional to object to any medical procedure that violates their “ethical, moral, or religious beliefs” even if the procedure in question is live-saving care. The hearing starts at 8:00 AM CST.
  • Send in a virtual testimony if you cannot be at the Capitol in person here. 
  • Send in written testimony here – you will have to write separate testimony for each bill (bill summaries can be found below)
  • Call/email members of the House Public Health Committee and share your story

All of these actions are helpful, and we ask folks to do as many as you have capacity for. 

The bills next week target our community in a very tangible, visceral way. SB 1646 (Perry) and HB 1399 (Krause) ban or limit best-practice, life-saving healthcare for transgender youth. HB 1424 (Oliverson) allows healthcare professionals and their staff to deny life-saving medical treatment. With their focus on limiting or denying healthcare these bills are explicit about their disregard for LGBTQ+ lives.

 

TAKE ACTION

These bills will not erase us — LGBTQ+ Texans exist and will continue to live full robust lives in the state they call home. But we need to let lawmakers know that this legislation is far more than just words on a page. Share your story now and remind legislators, human to human, what it feels like to fight against bills that devalue our community’s lives. 

The bills:

  • Monday: 
    • SB 1646 (Perry) This bill adds the administering or supplying of life-saving transition-related health care, as directed by medical or mental health professionals, to the statutorial definition of “child abuse,” including related penalties. This bill targets anyone involved in transition-related care, including parents and guardians.
    • HB 369 (Craddick) – This bill adds increased penalties to crimes when a defendant is “afflicted with a communicable disease.” It would impact those living with HIV and deepen the stigma associated with it, and likely deter people from getting tested or accessing treatment. This bill does not account for a person’s undetectable viral load and similar laws have been shown to disproportionally impact transgender people and people of color. 
  • Wednesday: 
    • HB 1399 (Krause)This bill discourages doctors from providing best practice transition care by prohibiting professional liability insurance from covering transition related care. This bill primarily targets medical professionals.
    • HB 1424 (Oliverson)This bill allows any medical professional to object to any medical procedure that violates their “ethical, moral, or religious beliefs” even if the procedure in question is live-saving care.