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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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

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

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The Week in Quotes (Feb. 11 – 17) bit.ly/2oea2zP

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