House Bill 1171 is an appalling bill that would allow the appointment of a guardian or attorney ad litem for the fetus in a judicial bypass proceeding. HB 1171 has a public hearing this Wed, March 31 at 8am in the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence committee. We need your help to stop HB 1171.

Use the Texas House online public comment website to submit your written opposition to HB 1171 by Wednesday 3/31 at 5pm CST. Use the drop down menu on the website to select the March 31st Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence hearing and oppose HB 1171. You must be a Texas resident to submit a comment. Here’s talking points you can include in your comment:

  • HB 1171 threatens the confidential of judicial bypass. It risks the safety of teens seeking abortion care.
  • A similar bill was passed in Alabama in 2014 and a federal court found it unconstitutional. HB 1171 violates young people’s Constitutional right to a confidential, expeditious bypass process.
  • HB 1171 makes g the judicial bypass process even more stigmatizing and burdensome for Texas teens.

If you have never submitted a public comment before. Here are the steps for navigating the website for the first time:

Step 1: Go to comments.house.texas.gov/home and scroll down.

Step 2: Confirm that you are a resident of Texas.

Step 3: Fill in your personal information. It’s important to remember that your public comment will be recorded. If you are concerned for your safety by disclosing your identity, it’s okay to use a pseudonym.

Step 4: Scroll down and select “HB 1171 by Sanford.” There are a lot of bills and it is a long scroll. If you feel overwhelmed use the command “ctrl +f” and type in “minor” this will pull up 2 results. The second result will be HB 1171.

 

Step 4: Type in your public comment about this bill and why you oppose the bill. See a sample of what you should include in your public testimony:

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My name is [XXXX] and I write to oppose House Bill 1171. HB 1171 allows a court to appoint an attorney ad litem or guardian ad litem to represent a fetus in judicial bypass hearing. This is an egregious politicization of a legal proceeding and harms the health and safety of young people.

[Add 1-2 lines about why you personally care about youth’s abortion access!]

The majority of young people who can safely involve a parent in their reproductive healthcare decisions chose to do so. As a result, young people seeking confidential care through the judicial bypass process are in very challenging situations. These minors  risk being kicked out of their homes for being pregnant or being forced to carry a pregnancy against their will. Parental involvement laws disproportionately impact Texas’ most marginalized youth, including young people of color, young people experiencing homelessness, young people in foster care, immigrant youth, and LGBTQ+ youth.

[Add 1-2 lines about why you think young people need confidential abortion care]

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that minors have the right to consent to abortion care. States with parental involvement laws, like Texas, must provide a judicial bypass process and that process must be expeditious and confidential. HB 1171 violates the confidentiality of the judicial bypass process and seeks to stigmatize the healthcare decisions of young people. Allowing a court to appoint an attorney or guardian ad litem creates more legal barriers and adds trauma to what is already an incredibly burdensome process. For all these reasons, I oppose HB 1171.

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Thank you for fighting for young people’s reproductive rights and opposing HB 1171 with us!