Listening to right-wing radio often leaves us wondering whether we need to get a rabies vaccine. It’s really that bad. But we monitor those programs so we can shine a light on the frothing, hateful nonsense they promote.

Case in point: today’s “Faith and Freedom” radio program from Liberty Counsel, the Florida-based organization so extreme that the Southern Poverty Law Center lists it as a hate group. Today’s program featured Liberty Counsel’s chairman Mat Staver talking to his colleague Matt Barber about one of their big obsessions: abortion.

Staver and Barber applauded politicians in the Texas Legislature for barring health clinics affiliated with abortion providers from participating in the publicly funded Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program for low-income and uninsured women. As the Dallas Morning News has reported, only providers in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program can enroll women in the Medicaid program that helps fund cancer treatment. And now Planned Parenthood and other clinics affiliated with abortion providers have been barred from participating in that critical screening program.

This is a continuation of the far right’s war on women’s reproductive health care. Four years ago state lawmakers threw away tens of millions of federal dollars by barring Planned Parenthood from participating in the… Read More

We just sent out this message on behalf of Kathy to our friends and supporters. If you’re in the Austin area next Thursday, we encourage you to join us.

They promised to hear us on women’s health. Let’s make sure they do.

Next Thursday, Feb. 20, state Sen. Jane Nelson will convene the committee she chairs, Senate Health and Human Services, to ostensibly talk about women’s health. This is the only scheduled hearing on the matter this year.

But strangely, there are a few things missing from the agenda. There’s no indication the committee intends to talk about abortion care, sex education or the disastrous consequences of legislation passed over the last two legislative sessions. Make no mistake, a serious conversation about women’s health includes all of the above.

So I ask you to do one of two things, or both, to show your support for all aspects of women’s healthcare:… Read More

The Texas Department of Public Safety has finally released documents, requested by various media outlets, regarding claims by DPS officials, politicians and religious-right activists that demonstrators brought jars of feces and urine to the Capitol in July to protest extreme anti-abortion legislation. The Texas Observer reports:

What the documents show is that DPS collected and shared information, including rumors and off-hand Twitter remarks as well as Facebook postings, about pro-choice protesters during the showdown in the Senate in July. “Per Lt. Esquivel, rumors are out there saying that the orange women will be taking off their clothes, urinating and defecating in the Senate gallery today,” wrote Susan Fafrak, an analyst in the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division of the Texas Fusion Center, in an email on Friday, July 12. “I am still searching form [sic] some sort of confirmation of this.”

Based on the documents released by DPS today, their hottest sources of intel are tweets from pro-life activists orRepublican legislative staffers, or pro-choice protesters joking about the rumors’ absurdity. The documents suggest a law enforcement agency joining in the echo chamber….

The documents also demonstrate that DPS director Steve McCraw was upset about press coverage… Read More

The Texas Observer reports that the Texas Department of Public Safety will release documents the Observer and other media outlets have requested regarding allegations that pro-choice activists brought jars of feces and urine to the Capitol when protesting extreme anti-abortion legislation this summer. Religious-right groups and Republican politicians like Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst have used those allegations — for which the DPS and Dewhurst have provided no evidence — to attack pro-choice activists as an unruly mob.

The DPS had earlier asked the Texas Attorney General’s Office for an official opinion on whether it must turn over any such information. The department now appears to have reversed course and says it will release that information, the Observer reports.

From the Observer story:

“Republicans have complained that Poopgate is silly. Here’s the thing: This is a ridiculous scandal. And it’s one that exists (and continues on and on) because of DPS and Dewhurst. In the heat of an unprecedented moment at the Texas Capitol, the state law enforcement agency issued a press release accusing citizens of bringing jars of ‘suspected’ feces and urine into the Capitol but has been unable to point to any evidence to back up… Read More

TFN Insider is pleased to present this guest post from Rev. Beth Ellen Cooper of Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church in The Woodlands north of Houston. Rev. Cooper participated in TFN’s clergy gathering in March in support of women’s access to birth control and state funding for family planning. She blogs regularly for the Houston Chronicle at Keep the Faith. Rev. Cooper also posted on TFN Insider about her experience in being lectured on morality by legislative staffers at the Texas Capitol.

Last Thursday, I attended a meeting of the Montgomery County Texas Eagle Forum, which featured reports on the latest special sessions of the Texas Legislature from state representatives Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands; Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe; and Cecile Bell Jr., R-Magnolia. This forum of ultra-conservatives was a proverbial lion’s den for a religious progressive like myself. But I am firm believer that there is no progress without dialogue, and no dialogue is possible if you don’t show up to ask the questions.

Besides. They sent an invitation to my church. It seemed rude not to accept.

So I went, in clerical collar, prepared to… Read More

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