For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, NARAL Pro-Choice America announced its endorsement of Jessica Cisneros in her campaign to represent Texas’ 28th Congressional District and unseat anti-choice Democratic incumbent Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX). Cisneros is NARAL Pro-Choice America’s first candidate endorsement of the 2022 midterm election cycle.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Chief Campaigns and Advocacy Officer Christian LoBue released the following statement
“We are proud to endorse Jessica Cisneros at this critical moment in the fight for reproductive freedom, and our members in Texas are excited to roll up their sleeves and help send her to Congress. We need leaders like Jessica Cisneros in Congress to fight for our values and safeguard access to abortion care to ensure that every body—no matter who they are or where they live—can access the care they need. Jessica Cisneros will take bold action to fight back against unyielding attacks from anti-choice politicians in Texas and across the country and work to secure a future where reproductive freedom is truly a reality for all of us.”
Candidate Jessica Cisneros released the following statement:
“I am so proud to have the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice America at a time when the fight to protect the constitutional right to abortion care is more urgent than ever. When we talk about healthcare as a human right that includes reproductive healthcare. As the only anti-choice Democrat left in the House of Representatives, Henry Cuellar continues to stand in the way of our reproductive rights and consistently sides with his Republican allies to make healthcare even more inaccessible in South Texas. Now more than ever, South Texas families deserve a representative that will fight tirelessly for affordable healthcare and their reproductive freedom, and Rep. Cuellar is not fighting for us.”
Jessica Cisneros is challenging anti-choice incumbent Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX) for the second time. Cisneros is an immigration and human rights attorney from Laredo, Texas, and previously earned NARAL Pro-Choice America’s endorsement in her 2020 primary bid where she received 48% of the vote and lost by a very narrow margin.
During his time in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Cuellar has consistently voted to undermine reproductive freedom and access to abortion care. He has voted in support of the Trump-era domestic gag rule that attacked the Title X family planning program—threatening access to affordable birth control and other critical healthcare, including cancer screenings and STI testing, for millions of people. He was also the only Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee to support the discriminatory, anti-choice Hyde Amendment which bans coverage of abortion care for those who receive their health insurance through Medicaid. Abortion coverage bans, like the Hyde Amendment, fall hardest on people of color working to make ends meet.
Rep. Cuellar also voted in support of the Trump administration’s denial of care rule, which emboldened healthcare providers and others involved in patient care to put their personal beliefs ahead of patients’ health and safety. He previously voted for an anti-choice bill to dramatically expand federal denial of care policies to allow individual providers and healthcare companies to refuse to participate in, facilitate, or make arrangements for abortion care.
This endorsement comes as reproductive freedom and the future of legal abortion face unprecedented threats. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court failed to block Texas’ blatantly unconstitutional SB 8, a law banning abortion at approximately six weeks, before many people even know they are pregnant. This cruel law grants almost any person the power to sue someone for “aiding and abetting” a pregnant person seeking abortion care and offers a $10,000 or more reward for this vigilantism. The ban went into effect on September 1, allowing Texas to effectively render Roe meaningless in the state of Texas. And although Roe exists nationwide in name, for now, the reality is that its promises have long gone unfulfilled for many. While Jessica Cisneros has worked to sound the alarm about SB 8, Rep. Henry Cuellar has been silent about Texas’ abortion ban and its harmful impact.
Texas’ SB 8 is part of a broader onslaught of attacks on abortion access in Texas and across the country. This draconian ban on abortion joins over 90 other restrictions on abortion access that have been enacted at the state level in 2021, making it the worst year for abortion rights since Roe was decided. In the midst of these attacks, the anti-choice, anti-freedom supermajority on the Supreme Court solidified by the confirmations of Trump’s justices agreed to take up Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly threatens the future of Roe v. Wade.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, paid family leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support safe, legal abortion.