Millennials Lead a Texas-Sized Movement for Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice

By Adriano Perez, Campus Organizer (University of Texas at El Paso), Texas Freedom Network

Adriano Perez, Campus Organizer, Texas Freedom NetworkMy family moved from Mexico to the United States in 1993 shortly after I was born. My mother, father and three already-grown siblings did this so that I could grow up in the country that promised a better life. Texas became our home and there we built a life that was founded in perseverance and an unrelenting sense of hope. It is because of my family that I am an activist. It was their hope that made me realize a better life — a better Texas — would be something I’d have to fight for, and their perseverance has fueled me when faced with an onslaught of attacks from the Texas legislature.

In the fight for a better Texas, I joined the Texas Freedom Network and its army of young activists and organizers. Passionate, hardworking and dedicated to our goal of creating meaningful change in Texas, we have decided that we cannot continue to let other people decide our future. Together we form the backbone of Texas Rising — a project aimed at millennials (people ages 18-29) on our campuses and in our communities who are creating a more engaged and empowered generation of lifelong voters. In a state that ranks 48th in civic engagement, millennials are one-fourth of the electorate and are only projected to grow. The millennial vote carries enough power to decide every election, and that’s why we’re tapping into it through campus and community organizing.

One of the issues millennials are organizing around is the continuing legislative assault on reproductive health care, including access to abortion care. Everything is bigger in Texas, and Texas legislators have proposed more anti-abortion legislation — at least two dozen bills — than legislators in any other state. But where there are big problems, you can be sure that there’s a movement, just as big, fighting back. That’s why a coalition of progressive organizations across the state — including Texas Freedom Network, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, ACLU of Texas and many others — have come together to launch “Trust. Respect. Access.” This partnership campaign is intended to restore trust in Texans to make their own reproductive health care decisions, respect for health care professionals’ judgment and access for all people to the full range of reproductive health care in Texas.

On February 26, 2015, young activists from all over Texas came together at the state Capitol to present their representatives with a proposed set of bills intended to reverse the damage caused by anti-choice legislation and to ask for their support. To continue this work, Texas Rising formed a rapid response network designed to keep a watchful eye over the 2015 legislative session and help millennials take action immediately to kill or support bills, as needed. Across the state, activists have continued to work toward a better Texas by writing and collecting letters to our representatives to support the campaign’s slate of proactive legislation.

The journey to a better Texas, in which access to reproductive health care is a reality for all Texans, is an uphill battle. But we love our state more than we’re angered by our legislature – and we’re in it for the long haul.


cjus2473 | April 30, 2015
I am so glad that younger people have FINALLY stood will take a lot of you as it did us back in the 60's...very proud of you - young women need to understand what the 40's, 50's, 60's were like for women before Roe v Wade and if they are not careful, they will be in that situation today
eusebio | April 30, 2015
Happy to hear it
Barb | April 30, 2015
Good; we need to vote against legislators who are against abortion
Shirley | April 29, 2015
I believe in separation of church and state. I believe, also, in no separation of women from help that they might need. Having a safety net does not mean ALL women will use it, it means it is there, just in case. What people forget is, no woman WANTS to use it. But, otherwise, ALL Women Are Sex Slaves in the U.S.A. And, that, is not what this country should be about. God has given us freedom of choice, and so should our country. (And, yes, He has given us a freedom of choice! If He feels it was a wrong choice, He deals with us later. He does not deal with the country later.) I am 71, and Gina is correct. Everyone should have a right to health care regardless what the type of care it is. God Bless!
IsmaelRGV | April 29, 2015
It's such a pleasure alongside with Adriano and the rest of Texas Rising. I am at UTPA in Edinburg, TX. We'll be fighting until we win. Hasta la victoria!
Fred | April 29, 2015
We need more like you in Georgia, USA. Obstacles to abortion are just the the means of slicing the right to choose it into abolition.
Jerry | April 29, 2015
I know Texans at saloons, I began my military career in Texas; both sets of people agree that PRO-CHOICE is the America of our forefathers: to rid humankind of the shackles new-age republicans spit around. Traditional Republicans are rolling in their graves due to republican legislators in Texas and a number of other states fomenting American dreams, such as the freedom to find, evaluate, and use materials, doctors,and others to guide their reproductive goals. I have been an activist since the 60's helping misguided citizens see the tyranny and loss of rights new-age republicans are foisting on American citizens.
Podycat | April 29, 2015
Thank You! Thank You!!
KFanti2 | April 29, 2015
Glad to hear that young people are so engaged in Texas, afterall, they are the future and what they want and need is very important. Also, everyone should have the right to choose when it comes to their health and well-being.
john | April 29, 2015
Good for you, I have fought these issues up here in NH (and with a new GOP legislature) we are fighting it again. Women's health care is critical, and there is no legit argument against it. Keep up the pressure. I am 72 and we need a lot more help from your age group. thanx, john
gina | April 29, 2015
It is everyone's right to health care regardless what the type of care is.
barbaramott | April 29, 2015
Thank you, Adriano! This article makes me feel so much better about Texas, our sibling state (to Tennessee). Barbara Mott