Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Tuesday 20 September 2011

The very first thing I heard today was the weather forecast, calling for 34°C temperatures this afternoon.

Then I heard an NPR story about Texas' war on women:

For hundreds of thousands of Texas women and teens between the ages of 13 and 50, the 71 family planning clinics in the state serve as their gateway to health care, and for many of those women, visiting the clinics is the only time they see a nurse practitioner or a doctor.

This year, the Republican-controlled Texas legislature and Gov. Rick Perry cut funding for family planning clinics by two-thirds. Dr. Celia Neavel runs the People's Clinic in East Austin and says it is a devastating blow.

"So that particular funding was used obviously for birth control, but also pap smears, breast cancer screening, for diabetes, thyroid disorders, anemia [and] high cholesterol," Neavel says.

But who wants low-income women to get horrible diseases? Surely this is an unintended side effect of state funding cuts. Oh, wait, this is Christianist country:

When The Texas Tribune asked state Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Nacogdoches), a supporter of the family planning cuts, if this was a war on birth control, he said "yes."

"Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything, that's what family planning is supposed to be about," Christian said.

The budget cuts to family planning clinics won't in the end save Texas money. The state estimates nearly 300,000 women will lose access to family planning services, resulting in roughly 20,000 additional unplanned births. Texas already spends $1.3 billion on teen pregnancies — more than any other state.

What's particularly galling to family planning advocates is that part of the money, $8.4 million, that was cut from family planning will now go to Crisis Pregnancy Centers around the state. Crisis Pregnancy Centers are part of the pro-life movement's answer to family planning clinics.

Yes, welcome to the land empiricism forgot, where preventing abortion has nothing to do with preventing unwanted pregnancy or preventing treatable diseases.

I did hear one bit of good news, a reminder that Don't Ask, Don't Tell ended today.

Tuesday 20 September 2011 07:54:38 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#
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David Braverman is a software developer in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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