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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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

UPDATE: The House has postponed action on SB 283 until Wednesday. Keep up your calls and e-mails to House offices in support of responsible sex education.

Having made a fetish out of failed abstinence-only programs that lie to students, far-right pressure groups are also lying directly to voters. Texans for Life Coalition has sent out an e-mail blast that employs more lies in its reckless campaign to keep teens ignorant. The group includes ridiculous claims that amendments under consideration in the Texas House today would “outlaw abstinence-only sex ed,” “censor information about limitations of condoms and contraception,” “promote birth control as a health benefit,” “refer students to Planned Parenthood,” and “promote recreational and gay sex.” (If all else fails, drag homosexuality into it, right? You can almost feel the hate from these people.)

Such nonsense. We told you yesterday what the amendments would do. They would require that information taught about human sexuality and pregnancy and disease prevention be medically accurate. Abstinence-only programs would no longer be able to exaggerate failure rates of condoms and other forms of contraception to discourage their use. School districts would be required to tell parents what they’re actually teaching about human sexuality.… Read More

Texas Freedom Network is sending out the following Action Alert. Please forward this link to anyone interested in supporting responsible sex education.

More than decade of stubborn commitment by policy-makers to failed abstinence-only programs in Texas schools have had disastrous consequences:

Texas ranks third in teen births and first in multiple births to teens. Parenthood is the top reason teen girls drop out of school. Teen pregnancy cost Texas taxpayers $1 billion in 2004.

A number of promising bills were filed this legislative session to respond to this appalling situation, but as the legislative session draws to a close, it appears they have all been blocked by abstinence-only supporters who are satisfied with the status quo. On Monday, however, several lawmakers will make a final push to respond to the epidemic of teen births in our state and improve sex education in Texas classrooms. But they need our help.

The Texas House is taking up important legislation on Monday that could help ensure Texas teens learn responsible information on pregnancy and disease prevention. The House will consider Senate Bill 283 by Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound. Sen. Nelson’s bill strengthens the… Read More

Do you know young folks who want to advocate for responsible sexuality education in Texas? The Texas Freedom Network is now accepting applications for our 2009 Summer Summit Activist Training. The summit will be in Austin June 12-13, and participants must be ages 15-24. The application deadline is May 26.

Participants will learn how to get involved in local school districts to promote sexuality education that emphasizes abstinence while also including medically accurate information on responsible pregnancy and disease prevention. They will also learn strategies for motivating their peers and encouraging them to join the cause.

Why is this so important? Texas has among the nation’s highest rates of teen births and sexually transmitted infections. Yet a recent TFN Education Fund report revealed that Texas classrooms are perpetuating a “conspiracy of silence” that robs young people of the reliable information they need to make responsible life decisions when it comes to sexuality and health. Even worse, the information students do receive is often grossly distorted or simply wrong.

The Summer Summit will be held at the University of Texas campus in Austin and is free for participants. Participants will stay at a private dormitory… Read More

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