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 Latest on Reproductive Rights

Republican candidates in Wednesday night’s presidential debate threw out plenty of red meat for their base supporters. Among the biggest examples were attacks on women’s access to abortion care.

Candidate Carly Fiorina made one of the most bizarre claims when she said the deceptively edited anti-Planned Parenthood videos that anti-abortion extremists have been touting in recent weeks include this chilling scene: “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”

“Pure fiction,” writes Sarah Kliff at Vox:

Fiorina is wrong: Nobody watching the Planned Parenthood tapes would see those things. I know, because I recently watched all 12 hours of footage.

The videos were produced by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group that argues Planned Parenthood has profited from procuring fetal tissue for researchers. The videos do show Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue, sometimes in ways that are callous and jarring. But there is no moment where Planned Parenthood discusses procuring fetal tissue for profit, nor is there the scene that Fiorina describes.

There are two Planned Parenthood sting videos that were shot inside Planned Parenthood clinics (other videos exist, taped at conferences and… Read More

Faith leaders teach that lying is a sin. So why do religious-righters distort the truth so shamelessly in pushing their extreme political agenda? You can see at least two big examples in Texas right now.

One of the biggest falsehoods religious-right groups are pushing right now is the claim that Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood to help exterminate the African-American population through abortion and other methods. Today the right-wing Texas Pastor Council, a political front group run by odious hate-monger Dave Welch, tweeted a partial quote from Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger:

“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

We won’t help spread this nonsense by posting the full tweet here, but you can see it at the link above. The tweet includes a photograph and a phone number activists can call to demand that the Smithsonian Institution remove a bust of Sanger.

But wait. Did Sanger want to exterminate African Americans? Of course not. And PolitiFact has already debunked that claim as a ridiculous lie. It did so more than four years ago when checking a similar claim from Herman Cain, then a Republican presidential candidate. Cain had claimed that Planned Parenthood was guilty of genocide for planning to “kill… Read More

The Texas Home School Coalition is a religious-right front group more interested in promoting a political agenda and fighting the culture wars than in ensuring kids get a good education. An email today from the group’s leader, Tim Lambert, demonstrates that point pretty clearly.

The email to the group’s list touts a series of events around the state designed to rally opposition to protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from discrimination. As we reported last month, the tour also targets “adversaries” who support access to safe and legal abortion care for women in Texas. Neither of these issues has a thing to do with homeschooling.

Lambert’s email today focuses mostly on opposing the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as well as race, sex, age, military status and other characteristics. Lambert’s email claims that the ordinance represents a “radical homosexual position,” essentially arguing that protecting people from discrimination somehow threatens freedom:

I hope you will come to one of these gatherings in your area and listen to men and women of faith who are challenging Christians to become engaged in the battle for our culture and to protect our freedom.

Lambert also argues that passage of HERO last year and decisions in… Read More

Houston-based Conservative Republicans of Texas, run by the rabidly anti-gay Steven Hotze, announced today a list of events stretching from August into the fall that will target “adversaries” who support LGBT equality and abortion rights:

“Christian, it’s time for us to stand up and fight to take back our government from the godless Secular Humanists, Pro-Abortionists and Political Homosexual Movement. We will trust God! We will take action! We will fight to restore our Constitutional liberties based upon Biblical truth!”

The email includes a Bible verse warning that God “will tread down our adversaries.”

The events are set for eight cities from August 13 to October 1: Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, San Antonio, Tyler, Lubbock, Corpus Christi and Waco. The list of sponsors is a virtual “who’s who” of religious-right groups, including the equally venomous Texas Values and Texas Pastor Council as well as phony historian David Barton of WallBuilders and disgraced former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Hotze declares in his incendiary email today:

“Christians must rise up, organize, oppose and defeat those individuals and groups who are committed to bringing sexual and moral anarchy to our society. …

We have a duty to protect our children and our grandchildren from the evil tide… Read More

Listening to right-wing radio often leaves us wondering whether we need to get a rabies vaccine. It’s really that bad. But we monitor those programs so we can shine a light on the frothing, hateful nonsense they promote.

Case in point: today’s “Faith and Freedom” radio program from Liberty Counsel, the Florida-based organization so extreme that the Southern Poverty Law Center lists it as a hate group. Today’s program featured Liberty Counsel’s chairman Mat Staver talking to his colleague Matt Barber about one of their big obsessions: abortion.

Staver and Barber applauded politicians in the Texas Legislature for barring health clinics affiliated with abortion providers from participating in the publicly funded Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program for low-income and uninsured women. As the Dallas Morning News has reported, only providers in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program can enroll women in the Medicaid program that helps fund cancer treatment. And now Planned Parenthood and other clinics affiliated with abortion providers have been barred from participating in that critical screening program.

This is a continuation of the far right’s war on women’s reproductive health care. Four years ago state lawmakers threw away tens of millions of federal dollars by barring Planned Parenthood from participating in the… Read More

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