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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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

Did you miss our live-blogging of the Texas House Public Education Committee hearing on reforming sexuality education in the state with the nation’s third-highest teen birth rate? Well, we offer this gem from Kyleen Wright of the Texans for Life Coalition, which insists on abstinence-only-until-marriage education in public schools:

9:49 – Wright: “You offend parents far less by giving less information than (by) giving (teens) more.” 

Good grief. We can’t remember a more absurd argument for keeping teens ignorant.… Read More

Texas has the nation’s third-highest teen birth rate yet receives more federal abstinence-only funding than any other state in the country. What’s wrong with this picture?

We just finished a briefing for Capitol reporters about two very important bills under consideration by the Texas House Public Education Committee this afternoon. House Bill 741 by Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, would require that Texas public schools teach comprehensive, “abstinence-plus,” sex education. HB 1567 by Rep. Michael Villarreal, D-San Antonio, would require that all information taught about condoms and other forms of contraception and disease prevention be medically accurate.

A Texas Freedom Network Education Fund report about sexuality education in public schools shows why these bills are so important. More than 9 in 10 Texas school districts teach nothing about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention, taking instead an abstinence-only approach. And most abstinence-only programs are plagued with errors and misinformation and rely on fear, shame and stereotypes to teach teens about sexuality and health. Moreover, public polling shows that support for comprehensive sexuality education is overwhelming.

So what’s the problem? Need you ask?

The abstinence-only pressure groups are out in… Read More

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