By Laila Khalili TFN Student Activist UPDATE: On Oct. 14 the Supreme Court temporarily barred Texas from enforcing the ambulatory surgical center requirement. Additionally, Texas may not enforce the admitting privileges requirement on the clinics in McAllen and El Paso. In the summer of 2013, Texans flocked to the state capitol in unprecedented numbers to give testimony on an omnibus anti-abortion bill known as HB2. More than two thousand Texans signed up to testify, most of whom were denied a chance to speak. State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, filibustered the bill for 11 hours and was able to do so because she had one thing: binders full of personal abortion stories, each one distinctly remarkable and powerful beyond measure. HB2 is just one of many pieces of legislation specifically designed to restrict access to reproductive healthcare. In 2003, Texas passed the Women’s Right To Know Act, requiring abortions after 16 weeks to be performed in an ambulatory surgical center (ASC), and creating a 24-hour waiting period. In 2011, this legislation was amended to include mandatory ultrasounds in which the patient must hear the heartbeat and a description of their pregnancy, which can be an incredibly traumatizing experience. The Texas Legislature also cut funding to the state’s Women’s Health Program (WHP) in 2011, shuttering over forty health clinics. According to the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition, this move cut off “preventive care, including well-woman examinations, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and contraception for 147,000 low-income women.” Read More

By James Carneiro (writer bio) TFN Student Activist Assembling in San Marcos, six student activists from Texas State University spent the evening dialing their peers. Except they weren't joking about obnoxious professors or making plans for the weekend. These activists were telling college kids to vote. During a Texas Rising phone bank, activists call other young people. The point: to make sure people are registered to vote, and help them achieve that if they are not. For those who are already registered, activists check if they have the proper voter ID and are actually heading to the polls. If they're hesitant to vote, the activists try to push them towards embracing their civic duty. A solid majority of those called were already registered, but a few were not. In this situation, activists ask people for their e-mail address so they can receive a link to the Rock the Vote website. Once they're online, a form can be printed, filled out, and mailed to the state. It's easy as that. A common stumbling block among those who were called was being registered to vote. Since many college students forget to re-register in the county they attend school in, this becomes an issue. If a student wants to vote in her home county, she'll have to either drive there or use something called a “ballot by mail.” This postal ballot can be requested from the government to vote, but it must be sent by Oct. 23. Some of those called were aware of the new voter ID law, but were a little unsure about the details. They can't really be blamed for this; the law is a byzantine mess of rules that make little sense. Read More