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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Garrett Mize is the Youth Advocacy Coordinator at the Texas Freedom Network and heads up TFN's Youth Leadership Council, the Texas portion of Advocates for Youth's Cultural Advocacy and Mobilization Initiative. Garrett writes below about Texas Gov. Rick Perry's tortured defense of abstinence-only sex education programs. "It worked for me," is essentially all that our governor could half-jokingly mutter about the statewide failure of abstinence-only sex education when grilled by the editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune recently. Gov. Rick Perry, widely suspected of having presidential aspirations, has been in office since George W. Bush left the Governor's Mansion back in 2000 (after his own election to the presidency). Gov. Perry is currently the longest-serving governor in Texas history. Unfortunately, this also means his policies on sex education are also the longest-serving in Texas. Read More

Pull up a seat and watch this two-minute clip of Texas Governor Rick Perry mounting the most tortured defense of abstinence-only education you'll ever encounter. Watch live video from Texas Tribune on Justin.tv For those of you who lack the stomach to watch the clip for yourself, here's the gist. When asked why he continues to support abstinence-only education in Texas schools, Perry gets personal: "I'm going to tell you from my own personal life, abstinence works!" First of all, TMI!…… Read More

We reported some good news last week about sex education in Texas: various evidence-based, sex education programs in Texas are getting a total of more than $7.4 million in new federal grants. But there was bad news as well: Texas also got $5.4 million for abstinence-only programs that refuse to teach medically accurate information about condoms and other forms of responsible pregnancy and disease protection. Even worse: the Texas Tribune reports that the Texas Department of State Health Services decided not even to apply for $4.4 million in additional federal money that would have paid for programs that teach students about both abstinence and contraception.

A spokeswoman for the department said the decision was made after consultation with Gov. Rick Perry’s office. Regarding the $5.4 million in federal abstinence-only funding that the state sought (and will receive), the same spokeswoman said the state’s “first choice is that teens choose not to have sex.”

Well, that’s just swell, but too many teens clearly are skipping that choice. Texas has one of the high teen birth rates in the nation. We think a better “first choice” is to help ensure that teens have the information they need to… Read More

Once again, Texas leads the nation in federal funding for abstinence-only programs that don't teach young people medically accurate information about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced how much each state will receive in abstinence-only funding under the recently passed Affordable Care Act. Programs in Texas -- the state that got more federal ab-only funding than any other during the Bush administration -- will get $5.4 million of the $33 million in new such funding. New York was a distant second at just less than $3 million. Florida programs got the third-highest total with $2.6 million. No other state had more than $2 million in ab-only funding. The obvious question: why in the world does Texas get so much abstinence-only funding when it has one of the highest teen birthrates in the nation (and the highest rate of multiple births to teens)?…… Read More

We are seeing more evidence every day that policy-makers are finally waking up from the nightmare that is abstinence-only sex education. The latest case-in-point: Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst will deliver the keynote address at the Oct. 26 state conference for the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. This is significant because the Texas Campaign is a leading proponent of evidence-based, comprehensive sex education (i.e. teaching students more than just abstinence). It's right on the group's homepage: The most effective health and sexuality education is abstinence-first, age-appropriate and comprehensive. The use of evidenced-based, effective curricula and programs reduce teen pregnancy. …… Read More