Reproductive Rights

Texas has become a laboratory for bad ideas when it comes to reproductive rights. In recent years state lawmakers have passed some of the toughest anti-abortion measures in the country, essentially making the procedure almost inaccessible for many Texas women.

The Texas Freedom Network supports efforts to ensure women have access to abortion and other reproductive health care services. That access requires adequate state funding and broad availability of birth control, especially for low-income women.

Resources

Just Texas: Faith Voices for Reproductive Justice

Just Say Don’t Know: Sex Education in Texas Public Schools (2009 report)

Sex Education in Public Schools: Progress in the Lone Star State (2011 report)

Texans Stand Up for Access to Birth Control: Results from a Statewide Survey of Texas Voters (2013 report)

The Texas Freedom Network was grateful for the strong efforts of Texas legislators who worked in Austin this year on critical issues such as responsible sex education, medical research and public education. We had some important victories and some disappointing setbacks. But along the way we worked with legislators who fearlessly championed mainstream values and fought back against the far right’s divisive agenda in Texas. We were very happy to honor three of those key lawmakers at our San Antonio reception for TFN supporters last Tuesday (Sept. 22):

Senator Leticia Van de Putte Representative Joaquin Castro Representative Mike Villarreal

When others were reluctant to step forward, these three lawmakers challenged their colleagues to address one of Texas’ most pressing public health issues: the appallingly high rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Despite repeated attempts by opponents to stonewall their efforts, these San Antonio lawmakers were tireless in their advocacy for medically accurate, evidence-based sex education programs in our schools. Even though sex-ed legislation they championed did not ultimately win passage this year, TFN is optimistic about the possibilities for real change in coming years largely… Read More

Given the news earlier this month about shockingly high rates of multiple births to teens in Texas (see here and here), we thought we’d share (again) data from this year’s Texas Freedom Network Education Fund report about sexuality education in Texas public schools. What are Texas school districts teaching students about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention?

See the problem?… Read More

Texas isn’t the only state that is constitutionally challenged. In fact, Mississippi is giving us a run for our money when it comes to (willful?) ignorance about what the First Amendment means.

Earlier this summer, our friends at Advocates for Youth brought us the disturbing tale of an abstinence-only rally/evangelical prayer meeting sponsored by the state of Mississippi:

In May, the state of Mississippi threw a state-funded abstinence-only rally for students where they were told the value of not having sex until marriage (including a chant that went “Stop! Don’t touch me there! This is my no-no square!”). That in itself is legal, but not when the rally itself is from start to finish a blatant attempt at proselytizing students in Christianity.

The ACLU just brought forth a lawsuit against the state of Mississippi last week for violating the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from promoting one religion over another.

(You can read about the rally — and watch video clips — here. Suffice it to say, this rally didn’t simply brush up against the church-state boundary. It trampled right over it.)

Now Mississippi Senior Pastor Lt. Governor Phil Bryant weighs in… Read More

From a message being circulated to a far-right e-mail list in Texas today:

“(T)he teen pregnancy rate is certainly not the fault of abstinence-only sex education programs but is instead the outgrowth of prolific contraceptive sex education programs.”

The facts say otherwise:

Texas has one of the highest teen birth rates in the country (and that rate is rising) and ranks first in multiple births to teens. More than 9 in 10 Texas school districts teach abstinence-only when it comes to sex education. Just 2 percent teach medically accurate information about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention. Texas has received more abstinence-only federal funding than any other state.

The same e-mail says the Obama administration and members of Congress “are trying to kill your children” because they support teaching not just the importance of abstinence, but also medically accurate information teens need to make important life decisions and protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Don’t buy the lie. Ignorance won’t protect our kids.… Read More

A Texas Freedom Network Education Fund report released in February revealed that more than nine in 10 Texas school districts teach students nothing about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention when it comes to sex except for abstinence-only-until-marriage. One of the most common strategies in abstinence-only curricula, the study’s authors found, was wildly exaggerating the failure rate of condoms as a way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The goal of those programs, of course, is to persuade students that the only way to protect themselves is is through abstinence.

Countless medical studies have shown this approach to be fear-mongering fiction, not responsible education. Now we have another example — the fight against AIDS in Haiti:

In the early 1980s, when the strange and terrifying disease showed up in the U.S. among migrants who had escaped Haiti’s dictatorship, experts thought it could wipe out a third of the country’s population.

Instead, Haiti’s HIV infection rate stayed in the single digits, then plummeted.

In a wide range of interviews with doctors, patients, public health experts and others, The Associated Press found that Haiti’s success in the face of chronic political and… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

Is a crisis pregnancy center teaching sex ed at your kid’s school? bit.ly/2vOv9j7 pic.twitter.com/Qyba…

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