Abortion

Texas
8:18 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Texas Joins States Challenging Contraception Coverage

Texas is taking part in lawsuit challenging contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/thestarshine

Texas has joined six other states challenging the constitutionality of the federal mandate that requires contraceptive coverage in all employee healthcare benefits.

A fracas erupted earlier this month when Catholic organizations protested a requirement in the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health care reforms, that employer health insurance would cover contraception. The Texas Tribune reports:

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Texas
11:39 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Suehs Signs Rule Banning Abortion Affiliates

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

If there was any hope that the state was seeking a compromise with the federal government over Texas’ Women’s Health Program, it’s fading fast. At the direction of lawmakers and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Texas Health and Human Services commissioner signed a rule on Thursday that formally bans Planned Parenthood clinics and other "affiliates of abortion providers" from participating in the program — something the Obama administration has said is a deal-breaker for the nearly $40 million-per-year state-federal Medicaid program. 

The rule, signed by Commissioner Tom Suehs on Thursday, takes effect March 14.  

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Texas
4:01 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Perry Targets "Pro-Abortion Radicals" in CPAC Speech

Gov. Rick Perry with wife Anita at Williamson County Republican dinner in Round Rock, his first public speech since leaving the presidential race.
Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Texas Gov. Rick Perry targeted what he called “left-wing, pro-abortion radicals” in a speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, blaming the Obama Administration for the state’s stand-off over the Medicaid Women’s Health Program.

“President Obama has invalidated a waiver that provides health care for more than 100,000 women in my state,” he said, simply because Texas doesn’t want to “subsidize abortion.”

The Women’s Health Program is a joint state-federal program that provides well-woman exams, contraception and STD screenings — not abortions — for thousands of poor women in Texas. The majority of them have traditionally occurred at Planned Parenthood clinics.

This year, in an ongoing effort to force Planned Parenthood out of business in Texas, Republican officials asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a waiver — to continue the program but exclude Planned Parenthood from it.

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Top Stories
10:06 am
Sun January 29, 2012

Sunday Morning Headlines for January 29, 2012

Implementing the 'Sonogram Law'

The Texas Tribune has this look at the practicalities of implementing the state's sonogram law - which requires abortion providers to show a sonogram image and play the fetus' heartbeat for the mother within 24 hours of performing an abortion. Clinics say complying with the law has become a "bureaucratic nightmare".

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Austin
5:19 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Austin Passes Revised Pregnancy Center Law

At today’s City Council meeting, an ordinance requiring disclaimers at pregnancy centers was repealed. Pregnancy centers are religiously-motivated establishments that test for pregnancy but don’t provide abortions or refer to abortion providers.

But moments later, council approved a revised version of the ordinance, one they felt was on firmer legal ground.

Both measures passed on a unanimous, 6-0 vote (with Mayor Lee Leffingwell out of town for today’s meeting).

As we previously reported, the ordinance the council passed in 2010 required disclaimers at pregnancy centers stating they did not provide abortions, birth control, or medical devices.

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Austin
9:09 am
Thu January 26, 2012

City Council Preview: Austin Energy, Pregnancy Centers, PromiseLand

The Austin City Council convenes today, taking up an agenda with 73 items on it. But one familiar face will be absent from the dais: Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who's busy leading a consortium of tech companies across the pond to London, England’s Tech City start-up incubator.

Still, that hasn’t stopped the council from taking up some tough issues in the mayor’s absence. We’ve got a quick preview of some of the topics council will tackle today:

  • Amending Pregnancy Center Language: As we reported earlier this week, dueling resolutions are on tap regarding pregnancy centers. Critics charge the centers imitate family planning clinics, but don’t offer the same medical resources, including abortions. Citing legal challenges to a council resolution requiring disclaimers at the clinics, the Law Department has proposed repealing the resolution; in turn, the original resolution’s sponsor, Bill Spelman, has a new proposal that would amend the original language.

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Austin
12:50 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

End or Amend? Either Way, City to Change 'Pregnancy Center' Disclaimers

Following court challenges, laws requiring signs at Austin pregnancy centers may either be repealed or rewritten this Thursday.
Photo courtesy www.flickr.com/isnow

Two proposals pertaining to Austin City Council action requiring disclaimers at “pregnancy centers” appear to be on a collision course.

Pregnancy centers have emerged as a controversial concept in recent years. Medically-styled businesses that offer resources to pregnant women, the centers do not offer abortions, or refer clients to abortion clinics.

Critics have charged that such centers push an anti-abortion agenda on young and confused clients, and that the resources some clinics deliver are decidedly minimal – basic information, and referrals to other state or city resources.

In Texas, their emergence has become even more pronounced as the state recently released a dramatically reduced list of state-financed women’s health clinics.

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Politics
2:01 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

Sonogram Before Abortion Law Can be Implemented Immediately

Texas is told a controversial requirement for sonograms before abortions can occur immediately.
Photo courtesy www.flickr.com/msjacoby

A ruling earlier this week affirmed that Texas can implement its controversial law requiring a non-medically necessary sonogram prior to an abortion while the law is being challenged in court.

Today, an order from a federal appeals court states the procedure can be required immediately, without the customary waiting period accompanying judicial decisions.

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Texas
2:25 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Abortion Sonogram Law Cleared by Court

Photo courtesy www.flickr.com/meredithfarmer

Texas can enforce a controversial abortion law while it’s being challenged in court. The ruling came this morning from a federal appeals court in New Orleans. The law requires doctors to perform a sonogram on a woman seeking an abortion and to read her the description of it.

The Texas Tribune’s Emily Ramshaw writes:

In an opinion, the judges said the measure's opponents "failed to demonstrate constitutional flaws" in the measure, which they said was "fatal" to their effort to prevent it from taking effect.

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Austin
2:07 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Pregnancy Resource Center Sues City of Austin

An Austin pregnancy resource center is suing the City of Austin over a city ordinance passed in the spring.
Photo courtesy of William J. Serson via Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/people/wjserson/

The City of Austin is facing a lawsuit from a pregnancy resource center. The lawsuit is over a city ordinance passed in April. It requires pregnancy resource centers that don’t offer or refer women to abortion or birth control services to post notices saying that they don’t.

The city was concerned that some pregnancy centers were representing themselves as medical or therapeutic counseling centers when they were religious organizations. The lawsuit from these groups claims that the city ordinance is violating their constitutional rights.

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News Brief
5:38 am
Wed August 31, 2011

Top Morning Stories August 31, 2011

Williamson County commissioners approved a budget for fiscal year 2012 Tuesday.
Image courtesy of Wilco.org

Williamson County Approves Budget, Holds Taxes Steady

Williamson County Commissioners approved the county's 2011-2012 budget yesterday. The nearly $127 million budget keeps property taxes about the same for the average homeowner even though home values are up. That's because commissioners lowered the tax rate a bit. 

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News Brief
5:34 am
Fri August 12, 2011

Top Morning Stories August 12, 2011

Governor Rick Perry will be in South Carolina and New Hampshire this weekend. The Perry campaign says he will seek the Republican presidential nomination.
Photo by KUT News.

Perry: A Presidential Profile

Now that Rick Perry's spokesman has made clear that the Texas Governor will be running for president, people across the country want to know more about him. During Morning Edition today, KUT News took a look back at how Perry got to where he is today, and how he may campaign for president:

“He’s got a tremendous personality. He likes people. He can talk to an individual one on one,” political operative Reggie Basher said. “He gives a good speech. He carries a strong message, and that’s all proven by his success that he’s had,  never losing an election.”

You can read or listen to KUT's Ben Philpott's entire profile on Gov. Perry here. Perry will be in South Carolina and New Hampshire tomorrow. Ben will bring us the latest coverage over the weekend on KUT 90.5 and KUT.org.

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Politics
2:36 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Combs Switches, Says She Opposes Abortion

Comptroller Susan Combs giving the biennial revenue estimate in Austin January 10, 2011.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Comptroller Susan Combs has switched her position on abortion rights, from pro-choice to pro-life, she said in an interview with The Texas Tribune this morning.

Combs and her husband Joe also contributed $5,000 to the South Austin Crisis Pregnancy Center. Combs said the state needs to focus its policies on more counseling for young women.

Combs said flatly that she has changed her position on the abortion issue, moving from a "pro-choice, but not pro-abortion" position to opposition to abortions. "I’m unequivocal about it. I was wrong," she said.

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News Brief
6:42 am
Tue June 14, 2011

Top Morning Stories June 14, 2011

Today's the last day to vote early in the Austin City Council runoff election for Place Three.
Photo by KUT News.

Last Day to Vote Early

Today is the last day to cast an early ballot in the Austin City Council runoff election for Place Three. On the ballot: incumbent Randi Shade and challenger Kathie Tovo. So far 4.77 percent of registered voters in Travis County have cast a ballot. Election Day is Saturday June 18. 

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Politics
1:26 pm
Mon June 13, 2011

Abortion-Rights Group Files Lawsuit Over Sonogram Bill

Photo by Daniel Lobo, Texas Tribune

The Center for Reproductive Rights, a national abortion-rights advocacy group, has filed suit over Texas' newly-signed abortion sonogram law, alleging it violates the First Amendment rights of the doctor and the patient. 

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Politics
1:02 pm
Tue May 24, 2011

Perry Signs Sonogram Bill Into Law

Texas Governor Rick Perry signs legislation requiring women to get sonograms before they get an abortion.
Photo courtesy the Texas Tribune

Governor Rick Perry signed held a formal signing ceremony today for the state’s so-called “sonogram bill. ” It requires women seeking an abortion to undergo a sonogram before terminating their pregnancy. Doctors will have to make an image of the fetus and the sound of its heartbeat available.

Houston Republican, Senator Dan Patrick, says if this new procedure changes the mind of 20% of women who go in for an abortion, it would mean 10,000 - 15,000 additional births in Texas each year.

The law goes into effect September 1st.

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Politics
3:41 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

This Week In Texas Politics

In case you couldn't keep up, our buddies at KUT's political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune, have got you covered.

News Brief
5:20 am
Fri May 6, 2011

Top Morning Stories May 6, 2011

Image Courtesy of opensource.com, http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/4638981545/

More Fallout from Comptroller's Security Breach

The Houston Chronicle is reporting a second class-action lawsuit has been filed against Texas Comptroller Susan Combs on behalf of the 3.5 million people whose personal information was compromised online. The suit was filed in federal court in Houston. 

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Politics
5:14 pm
Thu May 5, 2011

Abortion Sonogram Bill Moves to Governor's Desk

Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News

House lawmakers have sent the controversial abortion sonogram bill to the governor's desk — after a last-ditch effort by disability rights advocates to change language they called highly offensive.

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Politics
2:48 pm
Mon May 2, 2011

Abortion Sonogram Bill Clears Another Hurdle

Sen. Dan Patrick (l), R-Houston, listens to an amendment by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, during the debate on HB15 on May 2, 2011.
Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Senate lawmakers have tentatively passed a controversial measure to require women seeking abortions to receive sonograms — and have the details of the fetus described to them — prior to the procedure. Pending a final vote tomorrow, the bill will head back to the House so the lower chamber can sign off on the Senate's changes. 

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