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

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%

As soon as this week, the U.S. Supreme Court could decide whether it will hear a challenge to Texas’ restrictive anti-abortion law. Also this week, far-right politicians will continue to push the notion that Planned Parenthood should be defunded even if it means shutting down the federal government, a move that retiring Speaker John Boehner has suggested ignores political realities and is deeply unpopular with the American public.

So here, attempting to talk some sense into those same politicians by using facts, is our friend Bill Nye the Science Guy.

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With all of the damage culture warriors on the State Board of Education have done — or tried to do — to the education of Texas public school students in their science and history classrooms, it can be easy to forget what they’ve also done on sex education. Today the online news magazine Slate posted the above video, which examines how two high school health textbooks from the same publisher address sex education — one submitted for adoption in Texas in 2004 and the other a decade earlier. That abstinence-only textbook from 2004, which doesn’t include a shred of information on contraception, remains in classrooms today.

Slate focused this video on the health textbooks from just one publisher, Holt, Rinehart and Winston. But publisher Glencoe/McGraw-Hill’s health textbooks were also abstinence-only. Holt and Glencoe essentially split the Texas health textbook market between them in 2004-05.

The State Board of Education hasn’t set an adoption date for the next generation of health textbooks for Texas public schools. We’re likely about five years away, at least. Meanwhile, Texas has the  one of the highest teen birth rates among the nation’s 50 states — the fifth highest, in fact, as of 2013. And the Texas Legislature still refuses to encourage school districts… Read More

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

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