Open Letter to Rep. Sergio Munoz Jr.

 

TX State Rep Sergio Muñoz Jr. is a democratic representative of District 36. His constituency lies in South Texas, primarily in a small town called Palmview.

Rep. Muñoz was among the small number of democrats who voted in favor of HB2. Muñoz has a history of voting for anti-women legislation.  Muñoz believes that women are incapable of making their own decisions while simultaneously recognizing the bill severely limits the reproductive health choices of women. Nevertheless, he voted for HB2 and preferred to find solutions for the bill after it was passed.

Instead of sitting through the entire special sessions browsing through his phone, Rep. Muñoz should have stood up for his constituents. Constituents like me, who waited eagerly for him to call out the gaping holes of GOP logic that were the Texas Special Sessions.

 

Representative Sergio Muñoz Jr.,

My name is Nancy Cardenas and I was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley in a small town called Palmview.

Alongside thousands of activists that testified during the special sessions, I testified about the effects the abortion restrictive legislation would have on marginalized communities in Texas. Specifically, I spoke about the Rio Grande Valley.

I am writing today in the hopes that you will take some time out of your schedule to listen as an elected official and respond to one of your constituents. I am writing in regards to the statement you submitted to the House Journal after HB2 passed. I have taken the liberty to post your statement below:

 

“Although I am strongly in support of the provisions contained in the

Legislation and am pro-women s health, there are several concerns about the bill ’

and process. Without some of the amendments to advance the bill, we did not

allow the legislative process to take its course. At different stages in committee or

on the floor we prevented the body from adopting amendments that could have

impacted the legislation in various ways. I am in favor of provisions of the bill;

however, we cannot in good conscience legislate at the expense of impacting

access to legal health care services. If clinics close in regions throughout the state,

this could result in limiting access to critical services. As a legislature,

we need to focus on women s health care and prenatal care by making it more

accessible and ’affordable. We also need to improve and facilitate adoption

procedures for the benefit of the children affected and families. I will continue

to work to ensure we accomplish the goals set out for the betterment of

our communities.”

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 HOUSE JOURNAL — 3rd Day 63 Munoz

 

You can also find it online: http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/832/pdf/83C2DAY03FINAL.PDF#page=13

Your statement talks about the lack of legislative process during the special sessions. I can personally testify to that. I was among those that were silenced during the House State of Affairs Committee. Many of your constituents, who drove hundreds of miles to testify that night, were also silenced. Your message states that you understand the consequences of HB2. But do you? Do you actually understand the consequences this bill will have over low income areas like the RGV and El Paso? Your vote says otherwise. Furthermore, you never once spoke about these concerns during the special sessions. Instead, you submitted your statement to the house journal so you could put in your two cents and hope that thousands of women would forget about it all and go home quietly.

Your effort to reduce reproductive healthcare to the RGV will be costly. You are not only jeopardizing the women who live in your district, but have continuously undermined the women of Texas.

The abortion restrictions undermine women in Texas, but further disenfranchise women of color who reside in low income areas.

Quite frankly, you are not pro-women’s health. I would like to dismantle the confusion between a bill that is actually pro-women’s health and one that is not.

When you are leaving the women of South Texas to fend for themselves, that is not pro-women’s health.

When the woman who has to choose between a safe abortion and paying her bills opts out and chooses a cheap and dangerous alternative like an abortion pill that is not pro-women’s health.

When you advocate on the side that will gleefully close all but five clinics in the state of Texas, that is not pro-women’s health.

When you know that women who are undocumented cannot cross checkpoints into major metropolitan cities, that is not pro-women’s health.

When clinics that provides lifesaving reproductive health exams at an affordable price will close, that is not pro-women’s health.

I think it goes without saying how critical your vote was. You represent one of the poorest counties in the US. Yet you are complacent with voting for a piece of legislation that not only prohibits women from getting a safe abortion, but strips their access to reproductive health exams. Latinas are the highest uninsured in the state of Texas. Latinas also have the highest rates of cervical cancer.  Women need more access to reproductive healthcare, not less. I have yet to hear how you will actually help the women in your district. If you foresaw that this bill’s grave consequences for the women in your district, why did you vote for it? Of course prenatal care and adoption should be available to women. But why are those two the only options? Why not mention contraceptives or comprehensive sex education? Why not empower women with every available option?

I urge you to support the clinics located in the Rio Grande Valley. Talk to your constituents. Talk to the women who will be affected by this bill. Their stories are real and they deserve to be heard just as much as anyone else.

 

Thank You,

Nancy Cardenas

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