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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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… Read More

Let’s see if we have this right. The Texas Legislature adjourned last week without passing legislation to keep five state agencies — including the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Insurance — operating after Sept. 1, 2010.

So now Gov. Rick Perry says he is going to call lawmakers back for a special session to renew those agencies and deal with other legislation he considers critical. And here is what far-right pressure groups like Free Market Foundation Focus on the Family-Texas say:

If there are any transportation related issues addressed in the Special Session, then we will want to see the Choose Life License plate on the agenda.

This much should be clear about Texas politics: the radical right — which has the support of the governor — is far more interested in promoting fringe political agendas than in dealing with the real issues that working families care about. Instead of letting lawmakers focus on critical issues like transportation and insurance oversight, right-wingers want yet another divisive, distracting battle over turning license plates into platforms for promoting political agendas.

The same thing is happening in education. StateRead More

Sunday’s murder of George Tiller, a doctor who performed abortions in Kansas, has brought condemnation from many, including some anti-abortion groups and activists. But not all the “condemnations” have been particularly convincing.

Doug Phillips of San Antonio-based Vision Forum Ministries, released a statement:

“Tiller the Killer” is dead. Who will mourn for this man? . . . It is not a tragedy that Tiller will never be a killer again. Will anyone argue that it is a tragedy that the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will never again be dishonored by this church-going Sweeney Todd of the medical profession?

Randall Terry, who founded Operation Rescue, spoke at a press conference:

The point that must be emphasized over, and over, and over again: pro-life leaders and the pro-life movement are not responsible for George Tiller’s death. George Tiller was a mass-murderer and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed.

. . . Thank you for coming, unless there’s any other questions. And I truly am sorry that we had to meet under these circumstances. I like Guinness for those of you who want to have a beer somewhere. I prefer my chicken… Read More

The Texas House failed today to pass a measure that would require information in public school sex education classes be medically accurate. Texas Freedom Network sent out the following press release:

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller decried today’s failure by the Texas House to require that public schools teach only medically accurate information in sex education classes.

An amendment requiring that information in sex ed classes be medically accurate was blocked by a point of order claiming that the measure was not germane to Senate Bill 283. Yet SB 283 sets meeting and reporting requirements for School Health Advisory Councils, which advise local school boards and administrators on health education instruction, including sex education. Moreover, the House had just unanimously passed an amendment to the same bill requiring that districts notify parents about the content of sex education instruction in their schools.

“It’s absurd for lawmakers to hide behind parliamentary tactics so they can avoid requiring that students get medically accurate information in their sex education classes,” Miller said. “No wonder a teenager gets pregnant every 10 minutes in Texas. Grownups in the Texas House are scared to even talk about how to prevent it.”

Texas ranks third… Read More

It’s very important that supporters of responsible, medically accurate sex education in public schools keep calling their Texas House members. Texas Freedom Network is sending out the following Action Alert:

Far-right pressure groups – like James Dobson’s Focus on the Family affiliate in Texas – have launched a “fear and smear” campaign against proposals to help ensure teens learn medically accurate information on responsible pregnancy and disease prevention. That campaign has already led the Texas House to postpone action until Wednesday on Senate Bill 283. The bill would strengthen the role of School Health Advisory Councils in developing policies on health education in local school districts.

Why would anyone oppose common-sense amendments to that bill requiring schools to teach medically accurate information, inform parents about what those schools are teaching students and ensure effective community input on sex education policies?

The answer is simple: lobbyists for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are basing their opposition on ideology, not facts. Here are just some of the lies lawmakers are hearing: the amendments would “outlaw abstinence-only sex ed,” “censor information” about contraceptive failure rates and “promote recreational and gay sex.” These blatant falsehoods are outrageous!

We Need Your Help!

Don’t let far-right groups… Read More

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