TX coalition aims to turn protesters into political movement

Published 1:55 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2017

By Mark Richardson

Texas News Service

AUSTIN, Texas – A coalition of justice and reproductive rights groups aims to organize into a cohesive political movement the hundreds of thousands of Texans who protested at rallies last month.
The groups have formed a campaign called Trust. Respect. Access. to pursue a reproductive health, women’s rights and justice policy agenda aimed at Texas lawmakers.
Lucy Stein, advocacy director of coalition member Progress Texas, says the group is advocating the issues backed by those who took to the streets after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
“The groups that have come together are a really broad coalition, and we represent a lot of diverse voices from across the state,” she states. “We know that these are the issues that a growing majority of Texans want their representatives to fight for.”
The coalition includes a dozen groups, among them ACLU of Texas, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Texas Equal Access Fund, Texas Freedom Network and Whole Woman’s Health.
Stein says the coalition plans to take the fight for women’s reproductive rights to the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature.
She says despite the Supreme Court’s landmark reversal of a restrictive Texas abortion law last year, conservative lawmakers remain relentless in their anti-abortion campaign.
“We’re operating in the Texas Legislature, which is a pretty hostile climate,” she states. “There’s already been almost 20 anti-abortion bills filed this session, but what’s really important to us is the coalition to lay the foundation for our vision of the future of Texas.”
Stein says what’s going on in Texas also is happening in many other states and in Washington.
“And so I think what we’re seeing now is these anti-abortion lawmakers are emboldened by a federal administration that shares a lot of their goals in punishing women and curtailing access to reproductive health care,” she points out.
Stein says the coalition aims to promote trust in Texans to make their own health care decisions, respect for medical professionals and access to all reproductive health care options.