Texas Clips/ICYMI 11/16/21
I’m testing out a new way to send out clips so bear with me if you get multiple emails or other strange things happen/things don’t work
NPR: How the Texas ban on most abortions is harming survivors of rape and incest
The SAFE Alliance in Austin helps survivors of child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence. Back before Texas’ new abortion law went into effect, the organization counseled a 12-year-old girl who had been repeatedly raped by her father.
Piper Stege Nelson(link is external), chief public strategies officer for the SAFE Alliance, says the father didn’t let the young girl leave the house.
“She got pregnant,” Nelson says. “She had no idea about anything about her body. She certainly didn’t know that she was pregnant.”
The girl was eventually able to get help, but if this had happened after Sept. 1, when the state law went into effect, her options would have been severely curtailed, Nelson says.
In Texas, abortions are now banned as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The law, Senate Bill 8, is currently the most restrictive ban on the procedure in effect in the country. According to a recentNPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist national poll,(link is external) Texas’ law is unpopular across the political spectrum.
Notably, the law also makes no exceptions for people who are victims of rape or incest. Social workers in Texas say that’s causing serious harm to sexual assault survivors in the state.
Texas Tribune: Texas abortion law complicates San Antonio group’s mission to help undocumented immigrants — even those raped en route to the U.S.
Laura Molinar sounds very calm for someone expecting to be sued.
Her San Antonio-based organization, Sueños Sin Fronteras de Tejas, offers reproductive health education and assistance to asylum-seeking and undocumented women — including information and assistance for those seeking abortion.
Under Senate Bill 8, Texas’ new abortion law, if that education or assistance is perceived as “aiding and abetting” a person in obtaining an abortion, private citizens can sue them for up to $10,000.
“We’re going to do whatever we have to do to support someone in this decision,” Molinar said. “These are the laws, but these are things we believe in and what our organization is founded on.”
Molinar does what she does because she’s seen the desperation of women pregnant by their abusers and running out of options to build a safe and secure life.
So, no, she’s not going to stop talking about abortion or offering to assist those who want it — whether that means funding and arranging travel out of state or finding a way to get abortion medications to them
Already “whisper networks” and telemedicine providers in the U.S. and other countries, including overseas pharmacies, have emerged to get abortion pills into the hands of Texans who are not able to get them through mainstream service.
Medical abortion, also called medicated abortion, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use through the 10th week of pregnancy to induce an abortion without surgery. It is different from emergency contraception medication like Plan B, which is taken within three days of sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraception is still legal in Texas.
In addition to applicable restrictions under SB 8, another law, Texas’s 2021 Senate Bill 4, requires a physician to be present to administer the pills and explicitly prohibits mail or courier delivery inside the state, as well as the use of medical abortion after the seventh week of pregnancy.
“My heart goes out to anyone in Texas who has an unplanned pregnancy right now and wants to terminate,” said Elisa Wells, co-founder and co-director of the nonprofit organization Plan C. “The barriers are seemingly insurmountable.”
Plan C keeps a running list of telemedicine providers and pharmacies able to ship the pills anywhere, including Texas. No one option is perfect — sometimes the drugs can take weeks to ship, and some of the telemedicine providers must be paid out of pocket — but it is easier for many to access than an out-of-state clinic, Wells said.
For those who can get the medication, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders and Women First Digital created a series of online videos as a guide for self-managed abortions.
LA Times: A ‘War on Books’: Conservatives Push for Audits of School Libraries
During the last year, Mary Ellen Cuzela — concerned about students being indoctrinated about sex and “critical race theory” — successfully petitioned her suburban Houston school district of about 83,000 to remove two books from their libraries: The novel “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison and the graphic novel “Losing the Girl” by MariNaomi.
Cuzela, a mother of three who works for the district as a substitute teacher, said she was encouraged by Republican Texas lawmakers’ focus on critical race theory, an academic framework for examining systemic racism — which is not taught in any U.S. public school — that she considers “Marxist ideology” and “anti-American.” She has a list of more than a dozen more books she wants removed from schools along Houston’s rapidly growing and diversifying Energy Corridor, home to some of the world’s major oil and gas companies.
“I don’t want to ban books. I don’t want to be a book burner. My goodness, no,” said Cuzela, 49, whose children have attended public school for years in Katy. “I’m not into censoring. That is not what this is about. We filter students’ internet access. We have keywords, trigger words, that we know people shouldn’t have access to as a minor. So why isn’t that same process in the school libraries?”
Liberal parents have also pushed to remove books from schools in recent years: Burbank schools last year removed the classics “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Of Mice and Men” after parents complained their depictions of race and racism were harmful to students (they were among the top banned books nationwide last year).
But the latest uproar over school libraries comes as conservatives attempt to ride a wave of “white backlash” among Trump supporters to victory in next year’s midterm election. The strategy appeared to work in the closely watched Virginia governor’s race Tuesday, where Republican newcomer Glenn Youngkin beat former Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe after promising to ban critical race theory in schools.
KAMR/KCIT: Is my kid getting porn from their public school library?
As the governor’s letter may lead some to ask – are children in areas like Amarillo being exposed to pornography through their school libraries?
According to Amarillo ISD in a previous statement on the ongoing audit, books that are apart of AISD’s curriculum “are generally vetted through a process that includes teachers, district and school administration, and any other individuals who offer specific content expertise to evaluate whether the material is age, grade, and content appropriate.”
The Amarillo Public Library has multiple databases for scholarly works, classroom discussion, research, and entertainment for students of all ages that can be accessed and filtered using school information and school ID or library-card-based login. Despite MyHighPlains.com spending hours searching through the databases, there was no graphic pornography readily available.
Also: KAMR/KCIT: Gov. Abbott sends another letter to TEA, doubles down on claims of porn in public schools
Texas Tribune: Penguin parents, anti-bullying tips, teen romance: What we found inside three books flagged by a Texas lawmaker’s schools inquiry
When Justin Richardson set out to write “And Tango Makes Three,” along with his now-husband Peter Parnell, his goal was to create a simple story. He and Parnell gleaned inspiration from a New York Times article that chronicled the story of two male penguins, Roy and Silo, who together take care of a fertile egg that’s set to hatch.
But along with its release in 2005 came pushback and repeated attempts to remove it from library shelves. More than 15 years later, the book keeps getting flagged.
“And Tango Makes Three” is one of nearly 850 works at the center of an investigation spearheaded by state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, into the type of books that Texas school districts keep in their libraries and classrooms.
“Avoiding Bullies?: Skills to Outsmart and Stop Them”
By Louise A Spilsbury. Amazon.com Recommended Grade Level: 4th-6th grade.
This book is a quick guide that teaches kids and teens how to identify bullying and its different forms.
You may be asking yourself, why would Krause be against an Anti-Bullying book? Well…
Texas Tribune: How a YA oral-sex scene touched off Texas’ latest culture war
“OMG, OMG, this book,” her friend said, alerting May to a book found by another parent in the library catalogue of Keller Independent School District, where their kids go, called “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” by Maia Kobabe.
“I felt sick and disgusted,” May said, recalling text messages her friend sent her showing sexually explicit illustrations from the book. She was angry that any kid could access that kind of book in a public high school without their parents’ knowledge.
The 239-page graphic novel depicts Kobabe’s journey of gender identity and sexual orientation. Kobabe, who is nonbinary, said it was written to help others who are struggling with gender identity to feel less alone. The book also explores questions around pronouns and hormone-blocking therapies.
“I can absolutely understand the desire of a parent to protect their child from sensitive material. I’m sympathetic to people who have the best interest of young people at heart,” Kobabe, the 32-year-old author based in California, said in an interview with The Texas Tribune. “I also want to have the best interest of young people at heart. There are queer youth at every high school — and those students, that’s [who] I’m thinking about, is the queer student who is getting left behind.”
May didn’t read the book, but what she saw — a few pages of explicit illustrations depicting oral sex — was disturbing to her. It took less than a day for May and other parents to get the book removed from the district. May tweeted that same day that after school officials had been notified, the book was removed from a student’s hands.
“Gender Queer” has become a lightning rod both nationwide and in Texas among some parents and Republican officials who say they’re worried public schools are trying to radicalize students with progressive teachings and literature.
Kobabe also believes “Gender Queer” in particular became a flashpoint because it is an illustrated comic instead of just text, and that it would not have been singled out so quickly had it been released before the era of social media.
“A person can more quickly flip it open, see one or two images that they disagree with and then decide that the book is not good without actually reading it,” Kobabe said. “To people who are challenging the book, please read the whole book and judge it based on the entire contents, not just a tiny snippet.”
But for parents like May, they say their opposition to the novel isn’t about the LGBTQ community. It’s about whether these materials and images are appropriate for children.“The only reason is because they are sexually explicit for minors,” May said.
But the scrutiny over school library books, which is largely being driven by white parents, is already a nationwide political phenomenon.
Emboldened by the debate around “critical race theory,” while piggybacking off of a furor by many conservative parents over school mask mandates, Moms for Liberty, was founded in Florida in January 2020. It has grown rapidly with about 60,000 members across the country, aiming to “stand up for parental rights at all levels of government.”
Malloy said the pandemic sending kids home for virtual learning gave many parents a better look at what they were being taught.
“2020 is behind it. I think it was a gift,” Malloy said. “It gave us all time to pay attention to what’s going on, what our kids are being taught — what they were seeing.”
Mary Lowe, chair of the Moms for Liberty Tarrant County chapter, said the main focus of her chapter right now is to get rid of sexually explicit books in schools regardless of whether “the content aligns with one sexual preference over the other.”
“Moms for Liberty has a strong stance that there are an enormous amount of literary books that are more aligned with academics and expanding the mind without such a heavy focus on sexual content,” she said.
The broader issue, including what’s to come of those statewide standards in the coming weeks, is a concern for some LGBTQ advocacy groups that argue this is just the latest example in a pattern of Republican officials attempting to single out LGBTQ kids in the state — and how that may impact families and workers.
“If you have a kid who’s part of the LGBTQ community, you could have them asking: Is this a safe place for my kid?” said Jessica Shortall, managing director of Texas Competes, a coalition of more than 1,200 Texas employers, chambers of commerce, tourism bureaus and industry association that advocates for equality. “And then you have people who know and love LGBTQ people but maybe aren’t in that community asking themselves: Does this place represent my values?”
Texas Tribune: State Rep. Ryan Guillen switches to GOP in latest blow to South Texas Democrats
FLORESVILLE — Longtime Democratic state Rep. Ryan Guillen of Rio Grande City is switching parties as Republicans press to make new inroads in South Texas and after redistricting made his district much more favorable to the GOP.
Guillen made the announcement Monday morning at a news conference here where he was joined by Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont.
“Friends, something is happening in South Texas, and many of us are waking up to the fact that the values of those in Washington, D.C., are not our values, not the values of most Texans,” Guillen said. “The ideology of defunding the police, of destroying the oil and gas industry and the chaos at our border is disastrous for those of us who live here in South Texas.”
Guillen’s decision to run for reelection under the GOP banner is a boon for Republicans who have been working to show new strength in South Texas after President Joe Biden underperformed there in 2020. The decision also comes after the GOP-led redistricting process turned Guillen’s district, already Republican-leaning, into a solidly red one.
The last state lawmaker to change parties was Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, in 2012. He was also a South Texas Democrat who made the decision to join the GOP after redistricting.
Democrats said Guillen was caving to Republicans who redrew his district.
“Republicans cynically gutted Rep. Guillen’s district in the redistricting process, showing complete disrespect for both him and his constituents,” the head of the House Democratic Caucus, state Rep. Chris Turner, said in a statement. “Usually, people in Ryan’s position would choose to fight. Instead, he has chosen to join them.”
Leave a Reply