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Birth Control

Politicians Should Stop Meddling in Texans' Private Lives

by: Texas Freedom Network

Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 11:07 AM CDT

(Thank you, Texas Freedom Network, for standing up against these absurd and unnecessary intrusions in Texans' personal lives. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Limiting access to birth control. Telling gays and lesbians who they should love and who they can’t. Opposing effective sex education for teens.

Politicians are way too interested in the private sex lives of ordinary Texans. Just who elected them to play Cupid, anyway?

Go to cupidorstupid.org to join a new Texas Freedom Network Education Fund campaign that respects the private and personal decisions of Texans.

With one month to go in the legislative session, there's still time to put a stop to several bills that fail to show all Texans the respect they deserve. Worse yet, there's little indication lawmakers will stop interfering when session ends. You see, there's a well-documented history.

Texas legislators have openly declared war on birth control. Some politicians even want to let employers impose their religious beliefs on workers by denying them insurance coverage for contraception.

Meanwhile, Gov. Perry says gays and lesbians should simply move to another state while he and other politicians attack and demean their relationships. And Texas State Board of Education members think the solution to soaring teen birth rates is to keep young people ignorant about birth control and disease prevention.

Had enough yet? Add your name at cupidorstupid.org to the growing number of people who agree that politicians need to get out of the business of telling Texans who and how they can love.

Cross-posted from TFN Insider.

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Rally To Restore Planned Parenthood To Women's Health Program Draws Hundreds to Capitol

by: Joe Deshotel

Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 07:30 PM CST

Several hundred people rallied at the Capitol today to support reinstating Planned Parenthood into the Women's Health Program. Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) is the author of HB 2819, the bill seeks to undo the changes made last session by Republicans seeking to ban clinics with any affiliation to abortion providers. Planned Parenthood was the intended target but the victims most hurt are low income women across the state. In her rally speech Rep. Thompson told the crowd, "I know if men could get pregnant, there would be birth control in chewing gum packages!". But, of course they can not and this ideological battle is costing the state millions of dollars in additional Medicaid expenses, a point Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) made the during her turn at the mic,

"More than half of the births today are Medicaid births. And so for my colleagues that are back there that do not like Medicaid and don't want to expand it and such they are taking the  fast track to make sure there are more people who need Medicaid."

Projections by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission estimate that low income women will give birth to as many as 23,760 babies in the 2014-15 biennium as a result of reduced access to birth control. That means the $73 million cut from the program will cost taxpayers $273 million in additional Medicaid services to those children.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 405 words in story)

Friday Wrap: Steve Toth, Taxes for Transportation, Beaumont, Birth Control, and Ted Cruz

by: Burnt Orange Report

Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:30 AM CST

It's Friday, and that means it's time for your Burnt Orange Reporters to comment on all the news that fits in a blockquote.

But first, a video because it's Friday and this video is awesome:

There's a lot going on this weekend:

The Texas Democratic Women hold their state convention in Austin this weekend, and the statewide Save Our Schools rally is Saturday at the Capitol.  

Below the jump, read more about Steve Toth, Taxes for Transportation, Beaumont, Birth Control, and Ted Cruz.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 433 words in story)

BOR POLL: Texans Deeply Divided on Rick Perry, Direction of Texas, Issues Facing State


Wed Apr 11, 2012 at 04:33 PM CDT

Today, Burnt Orange Report PAC (aka BOR PAC) is excited to bring you the results of our first statewide poll of Texas voters, and launch our series of six polls that we've contracted to run this year. We have partnered with People Calling People and VoterHistory.com to conduct these polls. The poll was paid for by BOR PAC, the arm of Burnt Orange Report that will be funding political expenditures.

Before we tell you the results, we have a few notes on our universe, and our results:

  • This is a poll of Likely Voters. Our Likely Voter screen skewed the universe towards an older, whiter, more Republican electorate than the registered voter population -- and general population -- of Texas as a whole. Additionally, because this was a poll of land-line phones, our respondents skewed even older and whiter than the likely voter screen.
  • Partisanship was determined by respondents' self-identification as more likely to vote for Democrats or Republicans. Those that chose "otherwise" are not included in the partisanship cross-tab, but are included in the "all."
  • There is no weighting of these results; however, weighting for sex or party ID would have only minimally impacted the results due to the sample size.
  • In our full results, posted below the jump, we have cross-tabbed each answer by age (under 60, 60 and up), sex, and party. We initially looked at sex vs. party, but found that a) the margin of error was too high to make the results meaningful, and b) there wasn't a huge degree of divergence between men and women of the same party identification.

Overall, the results demonstrate sharp polarization in Texas between Democrats and Republicans in terms of their approval of Perry and opinion of the major issues facing our state. On nearly every issue, Democrats and Republicans disagree. However, what's most interesting is how out-of-touch Republicans are from the majority opinion of Texans.

Other key take-aways:

  • Texans are split on whether or not Texas is moving in the right direction. Republicans say yes and Democrats say no, by almost the identical percentages.
  • While Texans as a whole disapprove of the job Perry is doing, Republicans approve of Rick Perry by a 2-1 margin.
  • On the whole, Texans disapprove of the mandatory sonogram law, and of potential laws that would allow employers to deny employees insurance coverage of birth control.
  • 26% of Republicans say they are willing to raise taxes to fund public education. Don't tell Grover Norquist!
  • Texans support using the Rainy Day fund to restore cuts to public education. Republicans oppose this, but only marginally.

Republicans really are the party of "No." Unfortunately for the rest of us, they so overwhelm the electorate -- and our elected bodies -- that the rest of us are left to suffer at the hands of their policies.

The poll was in the field April 4-5, 2012. We targeted Likely Voters, defined here as voters who cast a ballot in at least 2 of the last 3 November partisan general elections (2010, 2008, 2006). Margin of error ranges from 4.1 to 4.4%.

BOR PAC Issues Poll: April 2012

"Do you think Texas is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction?"
Texans as a whole are split on this issue; however when viewed through the lens of party identification it is clear that Democrats and Republicans have vastly divergent ideas of whether or not things are going well in the Lone Star State.


"Overall, do you approve of the way that Rick Perry is handling his job as Governor of Texas?"
Here we see that the majority of Texans disapprove of the way Perry is handling his job as Governor; again, however, Republicans approve of him by an almost two-to-one margin. The man knows his base!


"The Legislature passed a law that requires women to undergo a sonogram before an abortion. Do you support this law?"
A majority of Texans oppose the sonogram law. This is good news, and likely a reflection of the intense media attention surrounding the law. Yet again, however, we see that Republicans are out of touch with the rest of Texans on this crucial issue for women's reproductive rights.


"Proposed new laws could allow employers to refuse to cover their employees' prescription birth control."
Again here we see a majority of Texans opposing laws that would allow employers to deny insurance coverage of birth control for their employees. And yet again, we see Republicans supporting these measures, though by a slightly narrower margin than they do the sonogram law.


"Marriage equality laws allow gays and lesbians to get married."
While this is not exactly a shocking result here in Texas, from a progressive standpoint it is good to see Democrats tilting towards "support" on this issue. Maybe the SDEC should reconsider whether this issue can be in the resolutions section of our primary ballot, since clearly, if narrowly, Democrats support marriage equality.


"In 2011, the Texas legislature cut 5.4 billion dollars from the public education budget. Some lawmakers want to raise taxes to restore funding to education."
The big shocker here is that one quarter of Republicans support raising taxes to fund public education and restore the draconian cuts of last session. Take note, however, that Texans as a whole oppose this move, suggesting that the decimation of public education has not fully registered with likely voters.


"There is currently almost ten billion dollars in the state's Rainy Day fund. Some lawmakers want to use this money to restore funding for public education."
This is perhaps the most important result from this poll: by an almost 2-to-1 margin, Texans support using the Rainy Day Fund to restore cuts to public education. What is likely boosting this number is the overwhelming Democratic support for this effort, as well as the marginal Republican opposition. This could be a very good issue for Democrats to campaign on this cycle, and a difficult question for Republicans to answer: why won't Republican candidates commit to using the Rainy Day fund to restore cuts to education? And in case you are curious, yes, we did ask the tax question before the Rainy Day fund question.


"Some lawmakers have proposed an independent redistricting commission, which would take the process out of the hands of the Legislature."
While Texans as a whole support an independent redistricting commission, Republicans do not. Hey, makes sense -- they make out like bandits under the current system. You know who doesn't? People in Texas who want fair representation, and think the Legislature's time could be spent on better things than drawing maps to protect themselves.

Full crosstabs are available below the jump. Thanks again to People Calling People for partnering with us on this project!

Support more polls and more projects like this. Make a donation to BOR PAC today!

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 35 words in story)

Stand Up Men

by: Glenn Smith

Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 10:29 AM CDT

Stand up, men, women's contraception is our contraception too. The assault on women's health care by the Misogynistic Armies of the Right is an assault on men as well. Think about it. If Rush Limbaugh called your wife or girlfriend a slut, wouldn't you want to break his nose? In a sense, that's what he's done, and it's time we recognized our moral and political responsibility.

Jim Moore and I co-authored a piece on this subject this morning at Huffington Post, "Where the Boys Aren't." We included a new ad, "Stand Up Men."

Rick Perry is busy claiming that he's gonna find a way to fund the Women's Health Program while keeping up his aggressive attacks on Planned Parenthood. It's a dodge, of course. Perry and his cronies have already cut 70 percent of family planning money in Texas. Planned Parenthood is the only source of health care for tens of thousands of Texas women. In a sense, women are being sacrificed to promote a barbaric ideology that makes women second class citizens.

It won't be enough, though, to just make our argument and move on. The Right won't stop their attacks. That much ought to be obvious. Sometimes we think our arguments are so just and rational that when we make them all thinking people will simply agree. Doesn't work that way. If voters are going to hear our point of view, we're going to have to speak just as loudly as the Right. So step up, stand up, and tell Rick Perry to shut up.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Hundreds of Texas Women Seeing Red Over Cuts to Family Planning

by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 03:31 PM CST

Texas women are mad, and they're not going to sit quietly and take the Republicans' destruction of women's health and family planning in our state.

In addition to the Planned Parenthood bus that is criss-crossing the state to hold rallies and raise awareness about the cuts to women's health programs, today Grammy-nominated singer and beloved Austinite Marcia Ball organized an impromptu grassroots rally at the Capitol. She wrote in an email,

Next Tuesday, March 6, and the following two Tuesdays, between noon and 2:00 PM, I am going to put on a red shirt and stand in front of the Texas State Capitol at the corner of Congress Avenue and 11th Street holding a sign decrying the defunding of women's health services. I am calling my effort SEEING RED and it may be just me and a few friends or a few hundred. This is my own personal response to the outrage of the Texas Taliban's war on women and, peripherally, my sadness over the death of foreign correspondent Marie Colvin who gave her life to tell us about the inhumanity and injustice of those who target the powerless. My vigil is in honor of Molly Ivins who said nothing will change until we get out in the streets and bang on pots and pans. I'm just going to stand there and hold a sign (and a broadsheet with talking points).

Her call for red shirts and signs spread around Austin, and a friend of hers posted her missive on Facebook. This is what happened:

A huge crowd, hundreds of women and men of all ages, waving signs, banging pots and pans together, and sounding the alarm that they're mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!

Traffic is heavy around downtown at lunchtime, and the rally received deafening honks and cheers of support from the cars that passed by. Entire CapMetro buses of Austinites cheered, and many a pedestrian and driver gave the thumbs up or fist shake of solidarity.

By the time I got there to take this picture, organizers said the crowd had thinned out considerably. It was an impressive showing, and to have such a big turnout in the middle of the day on just 48 hours' notice demonstrates the fury women feel as the Legislature slashes and burns family planning, access to care, funding for Planned Parenthood, and screenings for cervical and breast cancer. Enough is enough!  

Marcia Ball & Friends will be back the following two Tuesdays from noon until 2 p.m. Got a red shirt, suit, or ensemble? Then put it on and get down to the Capital to help sound the alarm. If ever was the time to get bad about the Republican war on women across our country and across our state, this is it!  

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

VIDEO: "I'm Pretty Sure We Know What's Best For You"

by: Katherine Haenschen

Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:00 PM CST

This is BOR's Video of the Day, or VOTD, our nightly video clip segment that hopefully provides you with a laugh at the end of the day.

Hey ladies, stop worrying your pretty little heads about your women's health issues, because a bunch of men that won't ever be pregnant, get an abortion, or have a pap smear are here to tell you what to do with your bodies. From Funny or Die, here's a video that could actually be played at the Republican National Convention without a hint of irony and actually receive a standing ovation.

It's actually kind of great to see a bunch of dudes mocking the Republican Party's attack on women -- it helps drive home the absurdity of the situation to folks who might not otherwise understand the sheer ridiculousness and scale of the war on women.

Check out all of our BOR videos of the day on the VOTD tag.  

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Senators Cornyn and Hutchison Vote Against Birth Control

by: Katherine Haenschen

Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 02:05 PM CST

Not a shocker: our two Republican Senators voted in favor of the Blunt Amendment in the Senate today, which would have allowed any employer to refuse to allow employer-provided health insurance to cover specific services. The amendment was designed to combat Obama's efforts to force employers to cover birth control costs in their employee health insurance plans. The amendment failed, with Republican Olympia Snowe joining 50 Democrats in voting against it, while Democrats Ben Nelson, Joe Manchin, and Bob Casey voted for the amendment with every other Republican.

Of course, had it succeeded, employers could not only have decided not to cover birth control in their insurance, but also any other service they find "morally questionable" -- from blood transfusions to breast exams to strep tests. Employers could have used this provision to avoid covering costly services (maternity care, end of life care) if they argued that such medical services were "immoral" and thus able to spend less on insurance by seeking out cheaper plans that don't cover these costly services.

In practice, however, this amendment was designed to allow employers to deny birth control coverage to their female employees. Religious universities and hospitals want to deny coverage of birth control to their female employees, regardless of the woman's faith, and regardless of why the woman takes birth control -- reasons that may have nothing to do with preventing pregnancy and everything to do with endometriosis, acne, or other medication that causes birth defects and thus is co-prescribed with hormonal birth control. Prescription birth control can be very expensive when not covered by insurance. Even generics can be out of reach for low-income women. But that's no concern to Republicans.Republicans think that employers have the right to decide for their female employees whether or not they should be able to have insurance provide birth control.

From Politico, emphasis mine:

Democrats said the Obama administration - which last month told religious-affiliated employers that insurance companies would have to pay for the contraceptives if they had a problem with it - reached a fair compromise. They accused Republicans of trying to ban contraceptives and putting the decision of whether to use birth control in the hands of employers.

"Imagine that, your boss will decide whether you're acting morally," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) "It's appalling we're having this debate in the 21st century."

Had the Republican bill become law, the nearly 80 million women who receive coverage through their employers could have lost access to birth control.

Guess Republican State Rep. Wayne Christian wasn't kidding when he said Republicans' efforts are a "war on birth control."

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VOTD: "I've Got So Many Miles on Transvaginal that I Always Get Updated to LadyBusiness."

by: Katherine Haenschen

Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 08:00 PM CST

Introducing Video of the Day, or VOTD, our nightly video clip segment that hopefully provides you with a laugh at the end of the day.

This weekend on Saturday Night Live, Amy Poehler joined Seth Meyers on Weekend Update to discuss last week's Republican hearing on reproductive rights and birth control. You may have heard about it: it only featured dudes. Here's the video:

"It seems like they have even less rhythm than we thought!"

Just goes to show that often humor can do more to prove a point than any well-crafted argument.  

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Planned Parenthood Rally In Austin Draws Hundreds

by: Adam Schwitters

Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:28 PM CST

About 200 people braved the rain in Austin today to support Planned Parenthood and affordable access to birth control for all women. The keynote speaker was Cecile Richards, current president of the Planned Parenthood For America Federation, former staffer to Nancy Pelosi, and daughter of former Texas Governor, Ann Richards. There were also about 20 anti-choice activists in attendance as well.

Richards spoke about the urgent need to support all women’s access to medical care given the current madness sweeping the Republican primary.  She said, “somehow in this country, in 2012, this election might turn on whether women should have access to birth control.”

She also told of a recent phone conversation she had with President Obama who told her “all women should have access to birth control without expensive co-pays,” and that birth control is “an issue of health care and economics for women.”  

Richards closed her rousing talk saying, “it is time that the people who actually use birth control are heard in Congress.  We’ve got to speak up.  We’ve got to educate other people. We’ve got to vote.  This is the time to take action.”

Other speakers included Terri Givens, a University of Texas professor who was diagnosed with endometriosis in her 20’s and would have lost the ability to have children without having her hormones regulated by oral contraceptives.  Despite her very real disease, her health insurance provider initially turned her down for coverage of the medication.  With the help of birth control, in fact, she was eventually able to become a mother to two boys.  She concluded her statements with a nod to her career at the LBJ School of Public Affairs saying, “study after study has shown that being able to control one’s own fertility directly leads to economic and political success.”

Shelby Alexander, a St. Edward’s University student activist, McKenzie Massey, Student Chapter President of the Texas Freedom Network, and Dyana Limon-Mercado, Public Affairs Coordinator for Planned Parenthood Texas, all spoke about the dangerous political climate that is threatening access to birth control.  

Speaking about the notorious House of Representatives hearing on birth control, Alexander warned, “those few men that were testifying on Capitol Hill have the power to affect a whole lot of us.”  In the same vein, Limon-Mercado added, “unlike Congress, I’m glad we have some women here today.”  

Massey spoke of the increasingly hostile political climate.  “The religious right’s agenda threatens access to contraception,” she said.  “This is a war on birth control. A war on women.”

The event was organized by UT’s University Democrats, Voices For Reproductive Justice, Law Students For Reproductive Justice, and the Texas Freedom Network.

Finally, there is a great post from Garry Willis of the New York Review Of Books you should read that eviscerates the “religious freedom” argument against access to contraception (hint: the Catholic Church’s opposition to birth control stems from a single edict written by Pope Pius XI in 1930.  Yes, he’s the same Pius XI that maintained friendly relations with Hitler and the Japanese Empire.  Great guy).  Highly recommended.

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