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[00:00:03]

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

[Austin Fight Back for Reproductive Health Agenda Press Conference on May 19, 2022]

GOOD MORNING.

I'M VANESSA.

WHAT THIS AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL WOMAN REPRESENTING DISTRICT TWO.

I'M HERE TODAY WITH THE MAYOR, MY COLLEAGUES, COUNCILMEMBER ALTAR COUNCIL MEMBER, VILLA, AND COUNCIL HARPER, MADISON, AS WELL AS STATE REPRESENTATIVE DONNA HOWARD AND MANY ADVOCATES ARE JOINING US TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THREE IMPORTANT REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE POLICY ITEMS THAT COUNCIL WILL BE VOTING ON LATER TODAY, I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT EACH OF US SHOULD BE ABLE TO LIVE WORK AND MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT OUR FUTURE AND OUR HEALTH WITH DIGNITY AND ECONOMIC SECURITY IN ORDER FOR EVERY PERSON TO CONTROL THEIR REPRODUCTIVE LIVES, THEY MUST LIVE FREE FROM DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH NEEDS AND DECISIONS ABOUT WHERE THEY LIVE AND WORK.

WHAT I'M BRINGING FORWARD TODAY IS A POLICY THAT WILL PREVENT DISCRIMINATION BASED ON A PERSON'S REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH DECISION IN LIGHT OF THE RECENT LEAK OF THE U S SUPREME COURT OPINION THAT HAS BEEN WEIGHING HEAVILY ON THE HEARTS OF MANY AND ON THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF ONE OF WHEN SENATE BILL EIGHT WAS PASSED AT THE LEGISLATURE LAST YEAR, MY FIRST PROPOSED POLICY WILL MAKE OUR STANCE LOUD AND CLEAR THAT AUSTIN WILL ALWAYS FIGHT FOR THE HEALTH, SAFETY AND PERSONAL MEDICAL DECISIONS OF OUR RESIDENTS AND EXPLICIT PROTECTION AGAINST EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING DISCRIMINATION BASED ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH DECISIONS IS NEEDED NOW MORE THAN EVER, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT LOSING THEIR JOB OR THEIR HOUSING BECAUSE OF HEALTHCARE DECISIONS.

WITHOUT A DOUBT, THERE'S AN IMMINENT IMMINENT REVERSAL OF ROE V.

WADE WILL HAVE DEVASTATING IMPACTS ON OUR COMMUNITY.

WE KNOW THAT NEARLY ONE IN FOUR WOMEN WILL HAVE AN ABORTION IN THEIR LIFE.

AND AS THE STATE AND NATIONAL ENTITIES CONTINUE TO ENCODE ENCROACH AND RESTRICT REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM, IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY HERE AT THE LOCAL LEVEL TO DEFEND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS.

AND WHILE THE CITY OF AUSTIN IS POISED TO BE THE FIRST CITY IN TEXAS TO UPDATE OUR NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE.

I KNOW THAT WE'RE NOT THE ONLY ONES WORKING ON IT, AND THAT SOON ADDITIONAL CITIES WILL FOLLOW SUIT IN TANDEM WITH MY RESOLUTION.

I'M ALSO BRINGING FORWARD A POLICY TO PROVIDE FREE TAMPONS AND PERIOD PRODUCTS IN CITY OWNED FACILITIES LIKE LIBRARIES, RECREATION CENTERS, AS WELL AS OUR SHOWERS AND BATHROOMS ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS.

THE AVERAGE WOMAN HAS HER PERIOD FOR NEARLY SEVEN YEARS AND WILL SPEND CLOSE TO $18,000 ON PURCHASING MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS THROUGHOUT OUR LIVES, AND WHICH BY THE WAY, THE STATE OF TEXAS STILL CHARGES SALES TAX FOR PERIOD PRODUCTS.

AND I KNOW REPRESENTATIVE HOWARD HAS LEGISLATION THAT WOULD CHANGE THAT.

SO WE'RE HOPING THAT THAT GETS PASSED IN ORDER FOR WOMEN AND PEOPLE WHO MENSTRUATE TO PARTICIPATE FULLY AND EQUALLY IN SOCIETY.

MENSTRUAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS MUST BE SAFE.

THEY MUST BE ACCESSIBLE AND THEY MUST BE AVAILABLE TO ALL WHO NEED THEM.

AND SO THAT, UH, THAT WE'RE BRINGING THAT FORWARD BECAUSE WE'RE ABOUT TO NEXT WEEK IS THE GLOBAL AWARENESS DAY FOR MENSTRUAL EQUITY, MENSTRUAL HYGIENE AWARENESS DAY.

AND IT IS A GLOBAL MOVEMENT TO NORMALIZE MINISTRATION.

AND SO THIS IS A PART OF THAT EFFORT AS WELL.

AND MIKE, UH, KALI COUNTERPART FOR MADISON WILL SHARE A LOT MORE ABOUT THE EXPERIENCES THAT OUR COMMUNITIES HAVE.

LASTLY, WHILE WE'VE SEEN REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS, CHIPPED AWAY AT THE STATE AND FEDERAL LEVEL, WE AS A CITY OR COMMUNITY ARE COMMITTED TO USING OUR LEGISLATIVE POWER AND TO ENSURE THAT ALL AUSTINITES HAVE THE FREEDOM TO CONTROL OUR OWN BODIES TO SAFELY CARE FOR OUR FAMILIES AND TO LIVE WITH DIGNITY WITH ALL THAT IS STACKED AGAINST US, IT MAY FEEL LIKE THERE'S LITTLE THAT WE CAN DO TO COMBAT THE ATTACKS ON ABORTION ACCESS.

YET WE AS CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS HAVE A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO MITIGATE A HOSTILE CLIMATE AND ENSURE THAT WE ARE THINKING OF INNOVATIVE WAYS TO ADVANCE REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM AS ELECTED OFFICIALS SO CLOSELY CONNECTED TO OUR COMMUNITIES AND OUR RESIDENTS STRUGGLES AND NEEDS.

WE ARE WELL-POSITIONED TO IMPLEMENT INNOVATIVE NEW POLICIES, FOCUSED ON HEALTH, FOCUSED ON SAFETY AND FOCUS ON THE ECONOMIC SECURITY OF OUR FAMILIES.

UH, WITH THAT, I DO WANT TO GIVE MY THANKS AND GRATITUDE, UM, TO COUNCIL MEMBERS, VELA ELLIS POOL, MAYOR PRO TEM ALTAR AND MAYOR ADLER FOR COSPONSORING ITEM 88, WHICH IS THE ONE REGARDING REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH DECISIONS AND OUR NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE.

AND I'D ALSO LIKE TO THANK COUNCIL MEMBERS, ELLIS KITCHEN, TOBO HARPER, MADISON MAYOR PRO TEM ALTER WE'RE COSPONSORING ITEM 89 REGARDING ACCESS EQUITY AND MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS.

WITH THAT, I WILL TURN IT OVER TO OUR MAYOR WHO WILL SHARE SOME REMARKS ON ITEM 35

[00:05:07]

THANK YOU FOR, UH, PICKING UP THE LABORING WAR AND HELPING TO LEAD ON THIS, UH, ISSUE.

ALWAYS PROUD TO STAND UP WITH MY COLLEAGUES AND OUR CHAMPION IN THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE REPRESENTATIVE.

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR, FOR BEING WITH US.

YOU KNOW, I BELIEVE THAT REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE MEANS PROTECTING THE HUMAN RIGHT FOR ALL PEOPLE TO DECIDE TO HAVE CHILDREN OR NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN AS WELL AS THE RIGHT OF PARENTS, TO BE ABLE TO PARENT OUR CHILDREN.

ACCORDING TO OUR WISHES, OUR STATE LEADERSHIP IS TRYING TO TAKE AWAY BASIC RIGHTS AND TO TAKE OVER FOR PARENTS, THE SERIES OF RESOLUTIONS ON TODAY'S CITY COUNCIL AGENDA, SEEK TO PRESERVE THOSE RIGHTS AND TO PROTECT AND SHOW RESPECT FOR TEXAS FAMILIES, WITH THE LEAK OF THE DRAFT SUPREME COURT DECISION HIGHLIGHTING THE RISKS WE FACE HERE IN TEXAS, THESE RESOLUTIONS TAKE ON ADDITIONAL MEANING.

FOR EXAMPLE, A FAMILY BUILDING BY MEANS OF, UM, UH, TOOLS SUCH AS IN VITRO FERTILIZATION MAY FACE LIMITATIONS IN TEXAS AS A RESULT OF THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE AND THE SUPREME COURT'S RECKLESS AND RADICAL OVERTURNING, OR JUDICIAL PRECEDENT ESTABLISHING THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND BODILY AUTONOMY IN VITRO FERTILIZATION HAS NOT BEEN THE FOCUS OF THE DISCUSSION, BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT.

IT IS JUST ONE OF WHAT I FEAR WILL BE TOO MANY CASUALTIES THAT WILL PROBABLY COME FROM THIS RADICAL STEP BACKWARDS SEVERAL WEEKS AGO.

UH, I ANNOUNCED THAT WE WOULD BE DRAFTING, UH, WHAT IS NOW RESOLUTION NUMBER 35 ON TODAY'S AGENDA.

FOLLOWING FROM THE WORK THAT WAS EARLIER DONE BY A COUNCIL MEMBER CO-SPONSORS ON THE COUNCIL BECAUSE I RECOGNIZE THAT FAMILIES ARE BUILT IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS, BUT NOT ALL OF THOSE WAYS ARE SUPPORTED BY OUR POLICIES AND OUR PROGRAMS. EMPLOYERS CAN AND SHOULD DO MORE TO SUPPORT COUPLES AND INDIVIDUALS WHO CHOOSE TO START A FAMILY AND TO NORMALIZE THE PRIORITIZATION OF CAREGIVING WHEN THOSE FAMILIES ARE FORMED.

THIS INCLUDES INDIVIDUALS THAT HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH INFERTILITY OR ANTICIPATE THAT CONDITION BECAUSE OF A TREATMENT FOR CANCER OR OTHER ILLNESS, OR BECAUSE THEY'RE SINGLE OR THEY'RE IN A SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIP RIGHT NOW, MEDICAL ASSISTANCE, OR THE ABILITY TO PRESERVE FERTILITY OPTIONS IS ONLY ACCESSIBLE TO THOSE, WITH THE RESOURCES TO PAY OUT OF POCKET INDIVIDUALS AND COUPLES THAT ARE DESPERATE TO START.

FAMILIES CAN FIND THEMSELVES IN THE IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE BETWEEN THE COST OF TREATMENT OR ADOPTION, AND IT CAN IMPACT HOW MANY RESOURCES CAN BE DEDICATED TO EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE.

THE EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL TOLL OF SOCIAL INFERTILITY SHOULD NOT BE INTENSIFIED BY THE FINANCIAL BURDEN THAT CAN COME WITH TREATMENT OR SERVICES THAT ARE NEEDED BY A FAMILY.

AND IT IS MY HOPE THAT OTHER EMPLOYERS WILL FOLLOW WHAT I HOPE TO BE THE LEAD TAKEN BY THE CITY OF AUSTIN TODAY IN ADVANCING THESE WORKFORCE EQUITY POLICIES AND SPECIFICALLY THE LIFE-CHANGING FAMILY BUILDING BENEFITS FOR IN VITRO FERTILIZATION, ADOPTION AND FOSTERING AND BEYOND AUSTIN, WE ARE ALSO ADVOCATING FOR THESE PROTECTIONS AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL.

AND I FILED A RESOLUTION TO BE CONSIDERED BY THE UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF MAYORS HERE IN JUST TWO WEEKS, ENCOURAGING BROADER ADOPTION OF THESE POLICIES.

NATIONALLY.

I AM PROUD TO STAND WITH MY COLLEAGUES ON THE CITY COUNCIL WITH ADVOCATES FROM ACROSS AUSTIN IN SUPPORT OF A FULL SPECTRUM OF REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE.

THE CHOICE TO SAY YES, THE CHOICE TO SAY NO.

AND THE CHOICE TO SAY NOT NOW THESE BILLS HELP AUSTINITES EXERCISE THOSE RIGHTS, PROUD TO STAND WITH MY COLLEAGUES AND MY SPONSORS ON THESE MEASURES.

THANK YOU.

WONDERFUL.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, MAYOR.

AND NEXT WEEK WE'LL HAVE COUNCIL MEMBER VELA.

THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE AND THANK YOU TO COUNCIL MEMBER FOR SPONSORING THESE TWO ITEMS FIGHTING FOR REPRODUCTIVE

[00:10:01]

RIGHTS IN THIS CRITICAL TIME.

THE LEAD SUPREME COURT DECISION IN ROE V.

WADE HAS GALVANIZED THOSE OF US WHO VALUE HUMAN RIGHTS, THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY STEMS FROM ROE V.

WADE, AND IS A BEDROCK OF SO MANY OF OUR CHERISHED RIGHTS, THE RIGHT TO CONTRACEPTION, THE RIGHT TO AN ABORTION, THE RIGHTS OF LGBT FOLKS TO MARRY, OR EVEN JUST LOVE WHOEVER YOU WANT.

ALL STEM FROM THE PRIVACY GUARANTEES CONTAINED IN ROE V.

WADE.

IF ROE V WADE FALLS, ALL THOSE RIGHTS ARE THREATENED, UH, AS AN ATTORNEY, UH, VERY MUCH VALUED CIVIL RIGHTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS.

IT'S DEEPLY TROUBLING TO BE FACING THAT POSSIBILITY.

I'M SADDENED THAT WE HAVE TO STAND UP HERE TODAY, DEFENDING PEOPLE FROM DISCRIMINATION BASED ON THEIR MEDICAL AND REPRODUCTIVE DECISIONS.

THESE ARE PRIVATE ISSUES THAT SHOULD HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR GOVERNMENT, YOUR HOUSING OR YOUR EMPLOYMENT.

THE PROSPECT OF FACING CIVIL LAWSUITS BASED ON YOUR REPRODUCTIVE CHOICES IS AWFUL ENOUGH.

BUT TO KNOW THAT A MONTH FROM NOW ABORTION SEEKERS AND PROVIDERS COULD FACE FIRST DEGREE FELONY CHARGES THAT IS TRULY HORRIFIC AUSTIN RESIDENTS, PLEASE KNOW THAT WE ARE SEARCHING FOR ANY WAY WE CAN TO DEFEND YOU FROM THIS ATTACK ON YOUR HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL MEMBER FUENTES.

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR INITIATING THIS CRUCIAL PROTECTION MEASURES.

I'M COMPLETELY IN SUPPORT OF THESE ITEMS. THANK YOU, COUNCIL MEMBER, VILLA, AND NEXT WE WILL HAVE MEMBER HARPER, MADISON.

GOOD MORNING EVERYBODY.

UM, MY NAME IS NATASHA HARPER MADISON.

I'M THE PROUD COUNCIL MEMBER FOR DISTRICT ONE THAT'S EAST AND NORTHEAST AUSTIN.

UM, MY OTHER COLLEAGUES AND I ARE HERE TODAY TO, TO BASICALLY FACE EFFECT FACT TO FACE THE FACT THAT JUST OVER HALF OF THE HUMAN POPULATION DOES OR WILL MENSTRUATE.

IT'S A BODILY FUNCTION THAT IS NATURAL AND NORMAL AS NATURAL AND NORMAL AS SNEEZING BREATHING, BLINKING, OR GOING TO THE BATHROOM YET BECAUSE OF A WAY, WAY, OUTDATED TRADITIONS.

IT'S COMPLETELY STIGMATIZED IN OUR CULTURE.

THIS STIGMA DOES ACTUALLY DO HARM TO REAL PEOPLE.

AND AS USUAL IT'S LOWER INCOME PEOPLE WHO SUFFER THE MOST PERIOD PRODUCTS COST MONEY.

AND I'LL GO OFF SCRIPT JUST A LITTLE BIT HERE AND TELL YOU HOW I CAME TO, YOU KNOW, BEING A PART OF THIS CONVERSATION.

I HAD THE GREAT OPPORTUNITY.

I HAVE RATHER THE GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE MULTIPLE INCOME RESTRICTED HOUSING COMPLEXES WITHIN A VERY CLOSE PROXIMITY TO ONE ANOTHER.

AND I LIKE TO VISIT THE LAUNDRY ROOM BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE PEOPLE SPILL THE TEA.

AND SO I WAS IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM AND WE'RE HAVING A CONVERSATION.

AND SOMEBODY SAID, LUCY'S, I DON'T KNOW IF Y'ALL KNOW WHAT THE TERM LUCY'S MEAN.

NORMALLY WHEN THEY SEE LUCY'S, THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT SELLING A LOOSE CIGARETTE AND THEY GENERALLY SAY SEWING CITIES LIKE BALTIMORE AND NEW YORK, PEOPLE WERE TALKING ABOUT BUYING LOOSIES AND REFERENCE TO TAMPONS, MAXI PADS, AND DIAPERS.

THAT MEANS SOMEBODY GOES TO THE STORE AND BREAKS, OPEN A PACKAGE OF TAMPONS, MAXI PADS, OR DIAPERS, AND SELLS THEM ONE AT A TIME.

THAT WAS A CLEAR AND DISTINCT REMINDER TO ME THAT IT IS VERY EXPENSIVE TO BE POOR.

IT IS VERY EXPENSIVE TO BE POOR AND PURCHASE THE THINGS THAT YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED.

IT IS VERY EXPENSIVE TO BE POOR AND PURCHASE THE THINGS THAT YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED.

I WANT Y'ALL TO LOOK UP ON YOUR OWN.

I DON'T WANT TO GIVE YOU STATISTICS.

I WANT YOU TO MAKE THE INVESTMENT ON YOUR OWN TO FIGURE OUT HOW MANY DAYS AND PRODUCTIVITY OF EDUCATION, ACTIVE EDUCATION AND WORK THAT WOMEN AND GIRLS MISS BECAUSE OF A LACK OF ACCESS TO MENSTRUATION PRODUCTS, IT'S REAL, AND IT AFFECTS EVERYTHING, OUR GDP AND EVERYTHING ELSE.

SO I WANT FOLKS TO DO SOME RESEARCH ON THEIR OWN AND OTHER THAN DE-STIGMATIZING THE FACT THAT WOMEN AND GIRLS DO IN FACT MENSTRUATE.

I WANT YOU TO RECOGNIZE THAT YOUR, YOUR PEERS, PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST LIKE YOU IN EVERY OTHER WAY, PHYSIOLOGIC PHYSIOLOGICALLY WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE FACT THAT THEY DO.

IN FACT, MENSTRUATE ARE AT A DISADVANTAGE.

I'LL GO ON PEOPLE WHO CAN AFFORD MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS.

THEY SUFFER MORE OF THE EMBARRASSMENT AND MORE OF THE INCONVENIENCE OF THAT LACK OF ACCESS.

THEY MISS SCHOOL, THEY MISS WORK.

THEY MISS OTHER IMPORTANT ENGAGEMENTS AND THEY PUT THEIR OWN HEALTH AT RISK BY USING HOMEMADE SOLUTIONS.

I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY FOR SOMEBODY TO SHARE WITH ME.

I SAID, WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE ACCESS, WHAT DO YOU DO? AND SHE SHARED WITH ME, AND SOME FOLKS WILL THINK THIS IS CRASS, BUT I'M GOING TO TELL YOU THE HONEST TO GOD TRUTH.

SHE SAID, SHE CUTS UP OLD.

T-SHIRTS THE CAPITAL CITY AND THE GREAT STATE OF TEXAS, THE 11TH LARGEST CITY IN THE NATION.

SHE CUTS UP OLD T-SHIRTS.

I WANT Y'ALL TO LET THAT SINK IN.

THERE'S A GROWING MOVEMENT TO END THE STIGMA AND TO DO MORE, TO DO MORE, TO EXPAND AWARENESS AND ACCESSIBILITY.

THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE PUSHING TO SNAP, COVER PERIOD PRODUCTS.

THEY HAVE FIGHTING AND UPSIDE DOWN SYSTEM WHERE THE PRICE OF PERIOD PRODUCTS INCLUDES A SALES TAX.

I'M HAPPY TO KNOW THAT MY COLLEAGUES ARE WORKING ACTIVELY AGAINST THAT.

UM, BUT THE PRICE OF OVER HALF OF

[00:15:01]

THE PRICE OF OVER THE COUNTER MALE LIBIDO BOOSTERS, DOESN'T HAVE A SIMILAR TAX.

AND I'M PROUD THAT OUR MAJORITY WOMAN COUNCIL IS A PART OF THIS PARTICULAR MOVEMENT.

THIS HAS BEEN AN ISSUE THAT HAS BEEN A PRIORITY FOR ME SINCE I CAME INTO OFFICE AND WE HAVE A RESOLUTION BEFORE US, THANKS TO MY COLLEAGUE COUNCIL MEMBER.

FUNFEST WE REALLY APPRECIATE YOU BRINGING THIS FORWARD.

UM, THAT BUILDS ON A PILOT THAT I SET UP WITH THE AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND THE AUSTIN DIAPER BANK JUST LAST YEAR.

AND I HAVE TO SAY THAT AS I WAS APPROACHING THE CONVERSATION, I WAS PLEASED TO RECOGNIZE THAT OUR COMMISSION FOR WOMEN HAD ALREADY BEEN WORKING ON THE PROJECT FOR YEARS PRIOR TO ME BRINGING IT TO THEIR ATTENTION.

I DIDN'T IN FACT BRING IT TO THEIR ATTENTION.

I JUST JOINED THE CONVERSATION THAT PROGRAM DELIVERED MORE THAN 130,000 PERIOD PRODUCTS TO LOW-INCOME AUSTINITES ACROSS THE SPAN OF SIX MONTHS.

ACCORDING TO A SURVEY, NEARLY HALF OF THE RECIPIENTS SAID THAT THEY HAD TROUBLE BUYING PERIOD PRODUCTS EACH MONTH.

THE NEXT TIME YOU GO TO THE CVS OR THE HEB, I WANT YOU TO MAKE YOUR WAY DOWN THE AISLE AND TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT THAT EXPENSE IS.

EVEN IF YOU DON'T NEED THEM, JUST TAKE A LOOK, TAKE IT INTO CONSIDERATION.

WHAT PEOPLE MIGHT BE SPENDING THE SIX MONTH PILOT ALSO HELPED NEARLY THREE OUT OF FOUR RECIPIENTS TO ATTEND SCHOOL OR GO TO WORK.

SO WE KNOW THAT THERE'S A NEED IN OUR CITY, AND WE KNOW THAT IT'S SIMPLY EXPANDING AND ACCESS IS SIMPLY EXPANDING AND WE NEED TO GET RESULTS.

I APPRECIATE COUNCIL MEMBER FLINT, THIS FOR BRINGING TODAY'S RESOLUTION FORWARD.

AND I LOOK FORWARD TO WHOLEHEARTEDLY VOTING TO APPROVE IT.

WE HAVE TO END THE STIGMA.

WE HAVE TO END IT TODAY AND WE HAVE TO STAND UP FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AND FOR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH.

I APPRECIATE EVERYBODY WHO'S PAYING ATTENTION THIS MORNING, AND I REALLY, TRULY, I ENCOURAGE YOU.

I IMPLORE YOU TO INVEST THE TIME THAT IT TAKES TO RECOGNIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SUBJECT MATTER.

IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT HALF OF THE POPULATION.

IT'S ABOUT ALL OF US.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

COUNCILMEMBER HARPER, MADISON.

NEXT, WE HAVE A REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE MENSTRUAL EQUITY COALITION, PRISCA PARAMIS FEEHAN.

HELLO EVERYONE.

MY NAME IS AND I'M A STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN.

UM, I AM A PROUD CO-FOUNDER AND ORGANIZER WITH THE TEXAS MENSTRUAL EQUITY COALITION.

UM, I WOULD LIKE TO START BY THANKING COUNCIL MEMBER OF NSF AND COUNCIL MEMBER, NATASHA HARPER, MADISON FOR THEIR EFFORTS AND ADDRESSING ALL OF THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH INEQUITIES AND SYSTEMIC BARRIERS THAT INHIBIT MENSTRUAL EQUITY TO FLOURISH AT THE LOCAL LEVEL.

ADDITIONALLY, I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO THANK FELLOW CO-FOUNDER AND ORGANIZER ANDREA ALISANDO FOR LEADING THIS INITIATIVE AND BRINGING THIS INTO THE EYES OF BOTH OUR ORGANIZATION AND TO THE COUNCIL MEMBERS.

SO TO BEGIN, I WANTED TO INTRODUCE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE TEXAS MENSTRUAL EQUITY COALITION.

THE COALITION IS A TEXAS BASED ORGANIZATION LED BY PEOPLE ALL ACROSS TEXAS TO ADVOCATE FOR EQUITY IN REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, FOR ALL MANY DIFFERENT COALITION MEMBERS ORGANIZE AND LEAD LOCAL ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO THE CAUSE IN THEIR RESPECTIVE CITIES ALL ACROSS TEXAS.

AND WE SERVE AS A COALITION TO BUILD POWER AND COMMUNITY AND ADVOCATE CIVICALLY AMONG EACH OTHER.

THIS MENSTRUAL EQUITY TO DEFINE IT IS THE AFFORDABILITY ACCESSIBILITY AND THE SAFETY OF MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS.

SEVERAL STATES IN THE UNITED STATES HAVE SUCCESSFULLY ABOLISH THE TAMPON TAX.

HOWEVER, AS WE STAND TODAY IN TEXAS, THAT IS NOT THE CASE.

UM, WE HOPE THAT WE CAN MAKE THIS HAPPEN IN TEXAS AND HAVE ADVOCATED IN THE PAST LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO MAKE THIS PROGRESS, BUT HAVE NOT SEEN THE EFFECTS THAT WE WANT AND WE'LL CONTINUE TO PURSUE THIS ACTION AS WELL.

UM, BUT I BELIEVE THAT IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT MENSTRUAL EQUITY IS NOT JUST ABOUT PRODUCTS.

IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT BEING ABLE TO ACCESS THESE MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS, BUT IT'S ALSO ABOUT THE EDUCATION AND REPRODUCTIVE CARE THAT COMES ALONG WITH BEING MENTALLY EQUITABLE IN THE LIGHT OF THE RECENT NEWS THAT WE HAVE HEARD WITH THE LEAKED DRAFT AND THE THREAT PLACED ON THE ACCESSIBILITY FOR FUNDAMENTAL REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS, UM, SUCH AS ABORTIONS AND PLAN B AND SEXUAL EDUCATION.

I THINK IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT PEOPLE ACROSS THE UNITED STATES HAVE NOT ONLY FEAR ABOUT THEIR LACK AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, BUT THEIR LACK IN ACCESSING DIFFERENT, UM, CRITICAL EDUCATIONAL ASPECTS SUCH AS MENSTRUAL EQUITY.

UM, SO IN THIS SLIDE, ALONG WITH THE TEXTUAL MENSTRUAL EQUITY COALITION, I STRONGLY URGE THE CITY OF AUSTIN TO TAKE PROACTIVE STEPS IN DECREASING REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH INEQUITIES BY PROVIDING FREE MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS IN ALL CITY OF AUSTIN LOCATIONS.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU SO

[00:20:01]

MUCH.

ALL RIGHT.

AND OUR LAST SPEAKER FOR TODAY, WE HAVE A REPRESENTATIVE WITH JANE'S DUE PROCESS.

ROSEANNE MERIT, PURIM.

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

MY NAME IS ROSEANNE MARIA PRIM.

I USE SHE HER PRONOUNS AND I AM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT JANE'S DUE PROCESS.

JOHN'S DUE PROCESS IS A STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION AND HELPS ANYONE WHO'S UNDER 18 ACCESS, BIRTH CONTROL AND ABORTION CARE CONFIDENTIALLY.

UM, JANE'S DUE PROCESS IS ALSO THE RECIPIENT OF THE CITY OF AUSTIN'S GRANT FOR PRACTICAL SUPPORT SERVICES FOR ABORTION, ALONG WITH FUND TEXAS CHOICE TODAY, I'M SO PROUD TO BE HERE IN SUPPORT OF THESE RESOLUTIONS AND POLICY ITEMS TO SUPPORT REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, INCLUDING MENSTRUAL EQUITY.

I HAVE TO SAY THE HONEST TRUTH, WHICH IS THAT IT HAS BEEN A DEVASTATING PAST NINE MONTHS IN TEXAS FOR ABORTION ACCESS ABORTION RATES FOR ADULTS SEEKING CARE IN TEXAS DROPPED BY 50% IN SEPTEMBER OF 2021.

AND FOR YOUTH, IT DROPPED BY 70 TO 90%.

THAT MEANS THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT GETTING ABORTION CARE IN TEXAS.

THAT IS WHY WHEN WE HEARD ABOUT THE LEEK SUPREME COURT DRAFT, WE WERE SO CONCERNED.

AND ALSO NOW I'M SO PROUD TO LIVE IN A CITY.

THAT'S GOING TO PUSH BACK AND FIGHT FOR REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM.

THE REALITY IS THAT FOR THOSE WHO CAN TRAVEL, IT'S INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE.

AND IN SOME WAYS THE EXPENSE ITSELF STOPS THEM FROM TRAVELING.

FOR EXAMPLE, WE WORK WITH ORGANIZATIONS LIKE FUND TEXAS CHOICE, WHICH 99% OF ITS CLIENTS ARE GOING OUT OF STATE AND IT'S COSTING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO DRIVE OR FLY TO OTHER STATES.

AND AS WE FACE A FUTURE WHERE ROE V WADE MAY BE OVERTURNED, IT'S NOT JUST CROSSING ONE STATE LINE, IT'S CROSSING SEVERAL.

THIS IS NOT THE FUTURE THAT WE DESERVE, NOR IT IS, NOR IS IT A TRUE ITERATION OF WHAT PEOPLE BELIEVE IN OUR COUNTRY OR IN TEXAS, THE MAJORITY OF TEXANS SUPPORT ABORTION CARE, THEY SUPPORT THE RIGHT TO REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE AND FREEDOM.

TODAY'S RESOLUTIONS ARE AN IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD BY OUR CITY TO AFFIRM THE RIGHT TO REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM, INCLUDING ABORTION CARE AND ACCESS TO MENSTRUAL EQUITY, PRODUCT PRODUCTS.

I'M SO GRATEFUL TO ALL OF OUR LAWMAKERS WHO ARE STANDING WITH US TODAY AND ALL THE ADVOCATES WHO HAVE FOUGHT SO HARD FOR THIS, BUT THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING AND WE DESERVE TRUE FREEDOM, INCLUDING ABORTION ACCESS.

THANK YOU.

AND WE HAVE ONE MORE SPEAKER.

WE HAVE KRISTIN HARRY, WHO'S GOING TO SHARE HER ABORTION STORY STORY.

HAVE YOU EVER FELT A LIFE AND A SPIRIT GROW INSIDE OF YOU? HAVE YOU EVER FELT A STRONG SPIRIT FROM THAT LIFE GROW DEEP INSIDE YOUR BODY, THEN SLOWLY FADE AWAY UNTIL THERE'S NOTHING LEFT, BUT YOURSELF, I HAVE, I'VE HAD TO CARE FOR ANOTHER CHILD WHOSE BIRTHDAY IS JUST A FEW DAYS.

AFTER OUR DUE DATE, THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE SISTERS.

WHEN MY HUSBAND AND I GOT PREGNANT, WE KNEW THAT THERE'D BE A HUGE POSSIBILITY OF A MISCARRIAGE BECAUSE OF MY CHRONIC ILLNESS, BUT WE NEVER EXPECTED TO BE LIED TO BY MEDICAL PHYSICIANS.

I WAS LIED TO BY MY DOCTORS INSISTING MY HEMORRHAGE AT 13 WEEKS WAS NORMAL.

WE WERE HEALTHY AND THERE WAS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.

I FOUND OUT BY ANOTHER DOCTOR ON THE LAST DAY OF WEEK 19 THAT OUR DAUGHTER HAD MULTIPLE FETAL ABNORMALITIES GIVING HER A 1% CHANCE OF SURVIVAL.

I WAS AT RISK OF INFECTION DUE TO INTERNAL BLEEDING.

I WAS DEVELOPING PLACENTA PREVIA, MY HUSBAND AND I HAD NO CHOICE.

OUR DAUGHTER WAS DYING INSIDE OF ME BECAUSE THE BODY THAT HAD BEEN CREATED FOR HER WAS, WAS INCOMPATIBLE WITH HER SPIRIT.

SHE COULDN'T SURVIVE IN THAT BODY.

AND BY FORCING HER TO, I COULD LOSE MY LIFE AS WELL.

THE ONLY CHOICE WE HAD WAS TO LET HER GO IN PEACE SO WE COULD CREATE A HEALTHY BODY FOR HER SPIRIT TO LIVE IN.

NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO BE FORCED TO LIVE, JUST TO DIE IN PAIN IN MY WOMB WAS WHERE SHE WAS CREATED AND SHE WILL RETURN ONE DAY.

IT'S BEEN FOUR YEARS SINCE THE LOSS OF OUR DAUGHTER AND DUE TO THE TRAUMA OF GOING THROUGH ALL OF THE ANTI-ABORTION LAWS, WE HAVE BEEN TOO TERRIFIED TO TRY AGAIN.

WHAT IF I, ONCE AGAIN, START OUT HEALTHY AND HEMORRHAGE AT 13 WEEKS WHEN THERE WAS A BAN ON MATERNAL HEALTH AT JUST SIX WEEKS, I'D HAVE TO DRIVE OUT OF STATE JUST FOR, JUST TO GET HEALTHCARE.

I'M SHARING MY STORY BECAUSE THERE ARE MOTHERS LIKE MY WAS STORIES LIKE MINE, BUT THE ONLY

[00:25:01]

DIFFERENCE IS THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF THEIR FAMILIES SENDING THEM THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS LIKE MINE HAD DONE FOR ME, MOTHERS LIKE ROSIE JIMENEZ HAVE DIED AND CAN'T BE HERE TO EXPLAIN.

THEY NEEDED TO USE ABORTION CARE ON THEIR UNHEALTHY PREGNANCIES.

HEALTHCARE PROCEDURES MIGHT HURT YOUR FEELINGS, BUT YOU NEED TO RISE ABOVE YOUR SENSITIVITIES AND REALIZE THAT ABORTION CARE COMES IN MANY FORMS, BUT IT IS ALWAYS HEALTHCARE.

THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY.

OKAY.

WE HAVE TIME JUST FOR A FEW QUESTIONS AND THEN I BELIEVE, UM, COUNCIL MEMBERS AND ADVOCATES WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWS.

ANY QUESTIONS? OKAY.

WELL, THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY.

I REALLY APPRECIATE IT.

THANK YOU.

* This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Speech-to-Text.