Tag Archives: restricting

Texas bill restricting transgender students' sports participation stalls in House

A bill that would prevent transgender Texas children from joining school sports teams that match their gender identity failed to advance out of a House committee Tuesday, signaling potential trouble for one of several anti-LGBTQ bills in the Legislature.The Senate has advanced a handful of bills that LGBTQ advocates say threaten the rights and mental health of transgender children in Texas, including restricting their access to school sports and medical care. Senate Bill 29, the sports bill, is the first anti-trans Senate bill to get a committee vote in the lower chamber.

House legislation banning gender confirmation health care for children, signed by 45 Republicans, was passed out of the lower chamber’s Public Health committee last week but has yet to reach the full House floor. Senate-approved legislation labeling the treatment as child abuse is set to go before the same committee, which is made up of six Republicans and five Democrats.

When members of the House Public Education committee – made up of six Democrats and seven Republicans – took up sports bill SB 29 on Tuesday, it failed to advance in a 5-6 party-line vote.

Opponents of the legislation cheered the vote.

SEE ALSO: Texas GOP files ban on transgender women, restricting them from girl sports

“We thank the members of the House Public Education committee for their votes today against SB 29,” said Zeph Capo, president of the Texas American Federation of Teachers. “We did the right thing today for all the children of Texas by standing up for trans kids.”

Jamey Harrison, deputy director of the University Interscholastic League, told the House Public Education Committee that the bill codifies current UIL rules, though there is one key distinction. The UIL mandates students in K-12 schools to compete on the team that aligns with the sex listed on their birth certificate. SB 29 adds that it must be the sex listed at or around birth. The change targets transgender Texans, who may change the sex listed on their birth certificate.

Supporters of the bill said that it was necessary to protect women’s sports, arguing that higher levels of testosterone may give transgender women an advantage over cisgender women athletes and could cause safety concerns.But Harrison testified it was already “not an issue in our state” under the current UIL rules.

Marjan Linnell, a general pediatrician testifying on behalf of the Texas Pediatrics Society, told the committee that transgender women often don’t have high levels of testosterone because of puberty suppression and hormone treatments – medications that could be banned under other anti-LGBTQ legislation winding through the Capitol. Linnell also highlighted that there are large gaps in physical capability within cisgender women and men.

Amalia Allen, a Texan student-athlete, testified that it felt “disparaging” to be told by legislators that she was inherently less capable than male athletes because of her gender.

“People are very concerned about me these days,” she said. “I’d like to ease that concern and respectfully decline that protection.”

LGBTQ advocates also said the bill could actually threaten cisgender female athletes, concerned that female athletes who may be masculine could be forced to go through intrusive investigations to prove that they were born female in order to be eligible to compete.

Last month, Heather Gothard won the women’s division of a competitive race in Cleburne. The day after the race, she was targeted by social media posts and emails insisting she was a transgender woman and should be banned from further races. At an Equality Texas rally last week opposing the bill, Gothard, a cisgender woman, spoke out against the incident, and advocates worried it would be the first of many.Disclosure: Equality Texas has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

Correction, May 4, 2021: This story previously stated that state Rep. Gary VanDeaver voted against advancing Senate Bill 29 out of a House committee. VanDeaver voted for advancing the bill.

The video above is from a previous story.

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Texas Senate bill restricting transgender students

Author: Megan Munce
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Bills restricting abortion, including one that bans procedure as early as six weeks, get initial Texas Senate OK

The Texas Senate gave initial approval Monday to a half-dozen bills that would restrict access to abortion, including a priority measure that could ban abortions before many women know they are pregnant.

The measures are among the earliest bills to be debated by the full Senate — whose presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick[1], has given two abortion proposals top billing[2] this session. Each piece of legislation must be voted on again in the upper chamber and then go through a similar process in the House before becoming law.

Senate Bill 8[3] would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected, which can be as early as six weeks, according to a legislative analysis[4]. The bill has an exception for medical emergencies but not for rape or incest.

The bill would also let anyone in Texas sue an abortion provider if they believe they violated state laws, regardless of whether they had a connection to someone who had an abortion or to the provider. A person who knowingly “aids or abets” others getting abortions prohibited under state law could also be hit with lawsuits, according to a bill draft.

“We’re setting loose an army of people to go sue somebody under a bill that will likely be held unconstitutional,” state Sen. Nathan Johnson[5], D-Dallas, said. “They could be sued over and over and over again having to pay $ 10,000” which is the minimum proposed damages in the bill.

Similar “heartbeat bills” have been passed in other states but have been blocked by the courts.

State Sen. Bryan Hughes[6], R-Mineola, the lead author of SB 8, said unique legal language in the bill makes him believe it will be upheld. It’s intended to “protect our most vulnerable Texans when the heartbeat is present,” he said.

Senate Bill 9[7], another Patrick priority, would bar nearly all abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision or otherwise altered abortion laws. It would create a possible fine of $ 100,000 for doctors who perform abortions after the law goes into effect. Sen. Carol Alvarado[8], D-Houston, said the fine for sexual assault in Texas has a $ 10,000 maximum.

“Why would we punish a doctor who performs an abortion on a victim of rape or incest more than the actual rapist?” she asked.

“I would say that the problem here is not the amount of the fine on the doctor but on a rapist,” state Sen. Angela Paxton[9], SB 9’s author, responded.

Other legislation given initial approval Monday would bar later-term abortions in the case of severe fetal abnormalities — closing what the bill’s authors have likened to a “loophole[10]” and forcing people to carry ill-fated or unviable pregnancies to term, according to experts and advocates. Women in that situation would be provided with information about perinatal palliative care, or support services, which they may not have been aware of, the bill’s author said.

Another bill, Senate Bill 394, would bar pill-induced abortions after seven weeks. Guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration approve the use of abortion pills up to 10 weeks. Nearly 40% of abortions performed on Texas residents in 2019 were medication-induced, according to state statistics.

Most abortions in Texas are banned after 20 weeks. Women seeking an abortion must get a sonogram at least 24 hours before the procedure, and their doctor must describe the sonogram and make audible any heartbeat.

Dozens of abortion-related measures have been filed this legislative session, including one that would open up abortion providers to criminal charges that carry the death penalty. Anti-abortion activists have urged lawmakers to challenge the Roe v. Wade decision, citing the new conservative makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court. Nearly every Republican in the Senate has signed on as an author of SB 8, one of Patrick’s priorities, as has Brownsville Democrat Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr[11]., who said Monday he believes life begins at conception.

A seventh abortion-related bill debated by the Senate on Monday would require a contractor to offer counseling and other resources to a person seeking an abortion. That person would receive a pin to verify she received the offer, and the pin would then be destroyed, said Paxton, the bill’s author. Earlier bill drafts said the woman would get an identifying number that would be stored in a state database.

Sen. Sarah Eckhardt[12], D-Austin, asked what services the women would be referred to — pointing to how poor most parents must be to qualify for Medicaid in Texas. A parent with one child would need to make less than $ 200 a month to qualify, the strictest criteria of any state, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation[13].

“So we’re going to spend $ 7 million annually for somebody who is less qualified than their doctor to give them advice on something that they probably aren’t eligible for?” she asked Paxton.

Paxton said the bill could connect women to support services like housing, resume development, child care and adoption services, and said it could help women who would prefer to carry their pregnancy to term if the circumstances were different.

“If she wants to call” and ask for her code, she can get it and just hang up, Paxton said.

References

  1. ^ Dan Patrick (www.texastribune.org)
  2. ^ billing (www.ltgov.texas.gov)
  3. ^ Senate Bill 8 (capitol.texas.gov)
  4. ^ a legislative analysis (capitol.texas.gov)
  5. ^ Nathan Johnson (www.texastribune.org)
  6. ^ Bryan Hughes (www.texastribune.org)
  7. ^ Senate Bill 9 (capitol.texas.gov)
  8. ^ Carol Alvarado (www.texastribune.org)
  9. ^ Angela Paxton (www.texastribune.org)
  10. ^ loophole (capitol.texas.gov)
  11. ^ Eddie Lucio Jr (www.texastribune.org)
  12. ^ Sarah Eckhardt (www.texastribune.org)
  13. ^ Kaiser Family Foundation (www.kff.org)

Shannon Najmabadi