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.

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Scott Braddock of the Austin-based online political website Quorum Report has come across a stunningly callous and offensive comment state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Fort Worth, made some years back in an online forum:

“Rape is non existent in marriage, take what you want my friend!”

Stickland, a hero of tea partiers and religious-righters, apparently made the shocking comment seven years ago in an online forum discussion about a guy whose wife wasn’t interested in performing a particular sexual act. His comment included a smiley face, suggesting he made it as a joke. Joke or not, the remark would appear to reinforce Stickland’s reputation as a politician with a callous disregard for women.

During the 2015 legislative session, he and other anti-abortion lawmakers posted “Former Fetus” signs on their office nameplates. Stickland also tried to pass a measure that would have banned abortion even in cases of severe fetal abnormalities, thus requiring a pregnant woman to carry a nonviable fetus to term. Earlier in the session he filed a bill that would have had Texas taxpayers reimburse employers fined for refusing to provide coverage for birth control in their employee health insurance plans.… Read More

The only issue that matches the far right’s obsession with gay sex is abortion. Let’s take a look at what we heard from the right this year about women and reproductive health care. The right’s contempt for women (including from other women!) was evident in other areas as well. (Click here for previous posts on what we heard from the right in 2015.)

“People ask me all the time. ‘Well, I just don’t understand why God wouldn’t protect our nation and he would allow these radical Muslims in 2001 to kill 3,000 of our citizens and why God doesn’t protect us. Surely, God doesn’t use pagans to bring judgment upon his own people, does he?’ Just read the Bible. God will not allow sin to go unpunished and he certainly won’t allow the sacrifice of children to go unpunished.”

– Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, suggesting that the horrific terrorist attacks on 9/11 were God’s judgment on America for legal abortion.

“To find out that this culture of death is now leading to the sale — this is no different than what happened in Nazi Germany. No different than doing the experiments on the old men and old women… Read More

Just Texas, a project of the Texas Freedom Network, sent out the following press release today:

Clergy from diverse faith traditions across Texas are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to stop interfering with the freedom of women to see providers of their choice for health screenings, family planning and other reproductive health care services.

“Women have a moral and legal right to decide for themselves which health care providers they will see,” said the Rev. Valda Jean Combs, an associate minister at Brentwood Baptist Church in Houston. “As faith leaders in our communities, we cannot be silent when politicians interfere with that freedom and risk leaving vulnerable women without access to the basic care they need and deserve.”

Combs is one of more than 50 faith leaders who have signed on to an open letter to Gov. Abbott on the issue. Today’s public release of the letter, which is available here, comes as Gov. Abbott tries to enforce a ban on Medicaid funding for health care services provided at Planned Parenthood clinics. Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit challenging the funding ban. An initial hearing in the federal court case is pending.

Gov. Abbott and other… Read More

“Now listen, I have been a conservative my entire life. I have never met anybody, any conservative who wants to ban contraceptives.”

That’s Texas Sen. Ted Cruz again, complaining about people who point out Republicans and other conservatives who want to make it harder for women to get access to birth control. But Sen. Cruz either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or is deliberately trying to mislead his audience. In fact, he wouldn’t have to look very far to find conservatives who want to get rid of birth control.

Four years ago, for example, Wayne Christian, then a Republican state representative from East Texas, proudly declared that he and his fellow conservative lawmakers at the Texas Capitol were engaged in a “war on birth control”:

“Of course it’s a war on birth control, abortion, everything — that’s what family planning is supposed to be about.”

Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania and a fellow Republican candidate for president alongside Cruz this year, said in 2012 that states should have the authority to ban birth control:

“The state has a right to do that, I have never questioned that the state has a right to do… Read More

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has insisted that the vile rhetoric of anti-abortion extremists played no role in the mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. In fact, speaking at an event for his presidential campaign on Sunday in Iowa, Cruz bizarrely characterized the alleged gunman as a “transgendered leftist activist.”

But it’s important to know that Cruz has closely associated with — and has touted endorsements from — anti-abortion activists who are so extreme that they have advocated for and justified the killing of abortion providers.

As the Huffington Post reports, just last month Cruz touted the endorsement of Troy Newman, who heads the radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. Right Wing Watch notes that Newman, in his book “Their Blood Cries Out,” called for the execution of abortion providers:

“In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people.”

The same Huffington Post story also points out that Cheryl Sullenger, currently Operation Rescue’s vice president, was convicted with her husband in 1988 for

Tx Freedom Network

The House State Affairs hearing today has been moved to room E2.028. #txlege

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