The Associated Press notes that the religious right is preparing to use the November elections to push a radical legislative agenda in states across the country starting in January. The religious right's hit list includes women's reproductive rights, embryonic stem cell research, divorce laws and equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans. The Texas Freedom Network has already identified other likely battles coming when the legislative session opens in Austin in January, including reform of the State Board of Education and responsible sex education in public schools. You can help stop the religious right's radical agenda in Texas by signing up for a TFN Rapid Response Team. TFN will keep Rapid Response Team members updated on critical legislation as it moves through the state House and Senate. We will also provide the tools you need to take action to top attacks on religious freedom, equal rights and public education. But how does the Associated Press see the religious right's legislative agenda shaping up across the country? Read on. Read More

Texas Monthly’s Burkablog is reporting that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, has given up trying to include a ban on public funding for embryonic stem cell research in the state budget. Patricia Kilday Hart writes that Ogden announced this morning that a House-Senate conference committee “couldn’t come to a consensus” on whether to include the ban. So it’s out.

This is a huge victory for supporters of responsible medical research that gives hope to families struggling with debilitating medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, spinal cord injuries and cancer. Last month we called on supporters of stem cell research to call their House representatives and help keep Ogden’s ban out of the House’s version of the state budget. And you came through! The House refused to include the ban, and House negotiators on the conference committee also stood firm against it.

Ogden’s ban would have been a disaster for responsible and promising medical research. Although the state currently does not fund embryonic stem cell research, Ogden’s ban would have threatened even privately funded research at publicly funded facilities. Moreover, it would have discouraged medical researchers from coming to Texas and encouraged those already here to… Read More

The religious right in recent years has repeatedly argued that embryonic stem cell research isn’t sound science and has been a waste of time and money. Last week, for example, the Family Research Council once again argued that embryonic stem cell research “has not successfully treated a single person for any disease.” In testimony before Congress less than two years ago, David Barton of the Texas-based group WallBuilders also argued that such research hadn’t led to any cures. Just last month the Christian Coalition of America claimed that there have been “zero successes in human embryonic stem cell research.” Of course, politicians and far-right pressure groups in this country have put numerous obstacles in the way of this promising medical research.

Now comes important news from Britain:

British scientists have developed the world’s first stem cell therapy to cure the most common cause of blindness. Surgeons predict it will become a routine, one-hour procedure that will be generally available in six or seven years’ time. The treatment involves replacing a layer of degenerated cells with new ones created from embryonic stem cells.

This development offers new hope to millions of people who suffer from… Read More

The Texas House of Representatives today is taking up the state’s budget bill. Yesterday the Texas Freedom Network sent out the following Action Alert:

Upcoming House Budget Debate Will Include Critical Votes on Stem Cell Research and Vouchers

Two crucially important issues will be debated when the Texas House of Representatives takes up the state budget (SB 1) starting this Friday. Lawmakers need to hear from Texans like you encouraging them to do the right thing — and letting them know we are watching their vote on these issues. These could be the most important votes on these issues this session.

Please take a moment to call your own state representative, and ask her or him to:

– NO on all amendments to SB 1 that would ban funding for stem cell research in Texas.

– OPPOSE VOUCHERS by voting YES on any amendment that would prohibit the use of any state funds to pay private school tuition.

(Click here to find contact information for your representative.)

And after you call, contact Val or Judie in our Outreach Office to let them know how your representative responded. This information is extremely helpful as… Read More