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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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

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

Texas Freedom Network

Texas Takes Millions From Low-Income Families to Give to Anti-Choice ‘Virtual’ Clinic bit.ly/2MxzyOs pic.twitter.com/lD74…

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