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

This week the Huffington Post featured 14 posters from bygone days apparently aimed at deterring young folks from premarital sex. While the rather peculiar messaging on these old-time posters might provoke a brief smile, that approach to sex education is about as effective as the so-called abstinence-only programs used in most Texas public schools today -- and that is no laughing matter. In 2009 the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund's groundbreaking study, Just Say Don’t Know: Sexuality Education in Texas Public Schools, provided conclusive, research-based evidence that Texas is failing families and students when it comes to providing the complete and reliable information young people need to make responsible life decisions. Currently, the Education Works! campaign with our coalition partners is providing a vehicle for concerned Texans to support comprehensive sex education in public schools. This approach, which encourages abstinence while also providing evidence-based information on contraception and disease prevention, is urgently needed in a state with one of the highest teen birthrates -- and the highest rate of multiple births to teens -- in the nation. Read More

At the end of the day, what they really want is control. Far-right groups complain loudly about intrusive government, of course, but don't believe it. Those same groups are often fine with "big government" -- especially when they want to control the private lives of other people. As the contraceptive pill marks its 50-year anniversary, yesterday's press release from the Pro-Life Action League offers another clear example of our point. Read More

Community Impact News has asked Republican incumbent Ken Mercer, Democrat Rebecca Bell-Metereau and Libertarian Mark Loewe about issues important in their District 5 State Board of Education race. District 5 covers and expansive area, including parts of San Antonio, Austin and the Hill Country and even extending all the way up to Bell County. Check out the interviews here (for Mercer), here (for Bell-Metereau) and here (for Loewe). But we wanted to highlight an especially misleading response from Mercer regarding a question about sex education: When I talk to parents in my district, they want their kids to understand the consequences of the choices. If they choose to abstain, if they choose to become sexually active, parents want kids to know the consequences. It’s called personal responsibility. What they do not want is a comprehensive, how-to class. The complaint I’ve heard from parents is that there is an agenda to promote a how-to class, and it’s not about how to have sex; it’s about what are the consequences of your decisions. Parents and groups I talked to consider ‘comprehensive’ a code word to teach about sex…… Read More

From today’s TFN News Clips:

“Forcing our schools to instruct children on how to utilize contraceptives encourages our children to engage in sexual behavior, whether as a victim or an offender. It is akin to teaching children about alcohol use, then instructing them on how to make mixed alcoholic drinks.”

— Juneau County (Wisconsin) District Attorney Scott Southworth, in a letter to local schools threatening criminal charges against teachers following new sex education programs telling students how to use condoms and other contraceptives. One of the writers of the law called Southworth’s letter laughable.

Stay informed with TFN News Clips, a daily digest of news about politics and the religious right. Subscribe here.Read More

Bill Ames, appointed by Texas State Board of Education member Don McLeroy to a social studies curriculum writing team, has commented on our post about the relevance of abortion politics to the state board. We are reposting Mr. Ames’ comment here in its entirety:

I will explain exactly what abortion politics have to do with the SBOE.

In 2004, the SBOE adopted an abstinence-based sex education curriculum, in accordinance with the state education code.

Planned Parenthood was a substantial lobbyist for the anti-abstinence sex education curriculum demanded by TFN and other members of the education political lobby.

Planned Parenthood requires thousands of sexually active teens in Texas in order to keep its abortion mills profitably humming along.

Thus it supported the curriculum proposal that encourages teen sexual activity.

Abortion politics has lots to do with the SBOE………

So there you have it. According to Mr. Ames, people who oppose abstinence-only programs that keep students ignorant about how to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are simply trying to drum up profits for Planned Parenthood’s “abortion mills.”

The importance of rescuing the education of Texas schoolchildren from that kind of political hysteria and extremism… Read More