The following press release is from the Trust. Respect. Access coalition, of which the Texas Freedom Network is a part.
ADVOCATES PUSH FOR BIRTH CONTROL ACCESS FOR YOUNG PARENTS
Speakers: Trust Teens Who Are Already Parents to Make Their Own Decisions about Birth Control
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUSTIN – Two years after lawmakers promised to address the high number of unintended pregnancies in Texas, reproductive health advocates are calling today for passage of common sense legislation making it easier for teens who are already parents to obtain birth control.
The Texas House State Affairs Committee is set to hear testimony today on House Bill 468 by state Rep. Mary González, D-Clint. HB 468 would allow teen parents ages 15 and over to obtain birth control without having to get the consent of their parents or guardians.
"We trust teen parents with making health care decisions for their own children, but currently we don’t respect them enough to make their own decisions about birth control,” state Rep. González said. "In a state with rates of teen births and multiple births among teens that are among the highest in the nation, that simply has to change.”
Dr. Brook Randal, an emergency physician, explained that access to birth control is an important part of reproductive health care for teen mothers and their families.
"Texas can no longer afford the social, economic, and personal costs of the current level of unplanned births,” Dr. Randal said. "Repeat and unplanned births among teens are associated with higher levels of medical complications for mothers and infants than planned births. By refusing to act, we are blighting their future individually, as well as the future of their families and of society. Texas needs to adopt proven methods of reducing unplanned births, starting with improved access to contraception for young people."
Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller reminded lawmakers about past promises to address unintended pregnancy in Texas.
“When the Legislature passed one of the most extreme anti-abortion bills in the nation two years ago, lawmakers promised that this year they would come back and genuinely address the issue of unintended pregnancy in Texas,” Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said. “This common sense bill offers an important first step toward fulfilling that promise.”
Ana R. DeFrates, Texas director of policy and advocacy for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, explained the importance of giving teen mothers the ability to plan and space their pregnancies.
"We work every day to change the discourse surrounding pregnant and parenting youth in order to eliminate stigma and shame,” DeFrates said. "Young parents, like all parents, deserve good health, dignity, support, and respect – including the ability to consent to their own family planning needs.”
TRUST. RESPECT. ACCESS. is a multi-year campaign supporting policies that restore trust in Texans to make their own reproductive health care decisions, respect for health care professionals, and access to safe, timely abortion care. Organizations working together on this campaign include ACLU of Texas, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Texas Freedom Network, Texas Research Institute, and Whole Woman’s Health.