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 Sen. Ted Cruz has insisted that the vile rhetoric of anti-abortion extremists played no role in the mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. In fact, speaking at an event for his presidential campaign on Sunday in Iowa, Cruz bizarrely characterized the alleged gunman as a “transgendered leftist activist.”

But it’s important to know that Cruz has closely associated with — and has touted endorsements from — anti-abortion activists who are so extreme that they have advocated for and justified the killing of abortion providers.

As the Huffington Post reports, just last month Cruz touted the endorsement of Troy Newman, who heads the radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. Right Wing Watch notes that Newman, in his book “Their Blood Cries Out,” called for the execution of abortion providers:

“In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people.”

The same Huffington Post story also points out that Cheryl Sullenger, currently Operation Rescue’s vice president, was convicted with her husband in 1988 for

“Last I checked we don’t have a rubber shortage in America. When I was in college we had a machine in the bathroom, you put .50 cents in and voila! So yes, anyone who wants contraceptives can access them, but it’s an utterly made-up nonsense issue.”

That’s Texas Senator Ted Cruz at a presidential campaign event in Iowa Monday night, answering a question about “making contraception available to women who want to control their own bodies.” Cruz doesn’t see why women have a problem so long as men can get cheap condoms. Seriously.

Even more stunning is that Cruz also used the question to claim that the “war on women” is a myth. So all the right-wing efforts to cut funding for women’s reproductive health and family planning services and to make abortion care almost impossible to obtain? All the efforts to prevent women from controlling their own bodies? “Made-up nonsense,” he says.

Polls show that Cruz’s support for the Republican presidential nomination is rising.… Read More

Here are some of the week’s most notable quotes culled from news reports from across Texas, and beyond. Read More

Today the Texas Freedom Network joined with partner organizations in raising the alarm about the harmful effects of anti-abortion legislation passed two years ago in Texas. Here’s the joint press release that just went out:

Independent research confirms that Texas is already seeing the harmful consequences reproductive rights organizations warned would happen following the passage of draconian anti-abortion legislation, leaders of those organizations said today. A new study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP), released on Monday, reveals that widespread clinic closures are substantially increasing wait times for abortions, pushing women seeking abortion care later into their pregnancies.

Nan Little Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Texas Equal Access Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance for abortion said, “Access to abortion shouldn’t depend on where a person lives or how much money they have, but this is the Texas we live in today. If a person is traveling from Lubbock to Fort Worth and facing waiting periods of 20 days or longer, the level of financial and life stress caused by the combination of finding time off of work, the cost of travel, finding childcare, and the higher cost of a second trimester procedure… Read More

Texas politicians like U.S. Senator (and Republican presidential candidate) Ted Cruz have been leaders of the effort to — as they call it — “defund” Planned Parenthood because that organization provides abortion care services (although not with federal dollars). In other words, they want to end Medicaid and other government payments for reproductive health care services — like “well-woman” checkups, STD treatments, cancer screenings and birth control — that Planned Parenthood clinics provide to millions of women (and men) across the country.

Sen. Cruz and other religious-righters have even insisted that congressional Republicans should shut down the government rather than allow that health care funding to continue.

But a review of national polling shows they are seriously out of touch with the desires of most Americans on this issue. Most Americans strongly oppose cutting off funding for health care services at Planned Parenthood clinics. An even larger majority opposes shutting down the federal government as a means to that end. Here are some of the poll results:

Suffolk University/USA Today. Sept. 24-28, 2015. N=1,000 likely voters nationwide. Margin of error ± 3. “Do you think all federal funding for Planned Parenthood should be cut off: yes or no?” Yes: 29% No: 65% Unsure: 6%

Equality Texas

Any bill that carries the expectation that every Texan needs a birth certificate to use the restroom is an unenforceable bill. #TXLege

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