Texas and National Teen Birth Rates Drop To Historic Lows, Shows Continued Effectiveness Of Abstinence Education

April 12, 2012

A new National Center for Health Statistics report about U.S. teen birth rates and those of Texas teens offers new evidence that Texas’ abstinence-based sex education policy works and does not require an overhaul.

The report shows that the national teen birth rate is at its lowest rate since 1946.  Similarly, in 2010, Texas teen births rates dropped to continue in a 20-year downward trend.  Under an abstinence-focused approach in Texas, the Texas teen birth rate (per 1000 aged 15-19) has decreased a significant 33.4 percent from a high in 1991 (78.4) to a low in 2010 (52.2). The teen birth rate in Texas has also declined 15 percent between 2007 (61.7) and 2010 (52.2).

“It’s encouraging that the abstinence-focused sex education policy in Texas continues to improve in the areas of teen pregnancy and teen births,” said Jonathan Saenz, Director of Legislative Affairs for Liberty Institute.  “Pressure by pro-abortion groups and others to ban abstinence teaching in public schools, and instead to focus on drug-based sex education, would be a disaster and jeopardize the positive trend over the past 20 years.”

Since the mid 1990s, Texas law has required that abstinence education be taught in its public schools, more than any other sex education method for preventing pregnancy and STDs—if sex education is taught at all.  However, during recent legislative sessions, pro-abortion groups have pressured the Texas legislature to essentially ban abstinence education in public schools and to primarily focus on drug-based sex education. Fortunately, these efforts have been flatly rejected.

“In short, I’m glad Texas continues to stay with what works.  Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, which pushes drug-based sex education, has no business teaching our children about sex education,” Saenz added.

Image: aopsan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


The Impact of Divorce on Children – Results of Recent Study

January 24, 2012

An overview of the negative impacts of divorce on children from a new groundbreaking study:

1. Children from divorced families died almost five years earlier than those from intact families.

2. Facing parental divorce during childhood was the single strongest social predictor of early death, many years into the future.

3. Having one’s parents divorce during childhood was a much stronger predictor of mortality risk than was parental death.

4. The experience of parental divorce was strongly linked to earlier mortality from all causes, including accidents, cancers, and cardiovascular disease.

5. For boys whose parents divorce, the risk of dying from accidents and violence was particularly robust, as they grew up to be more reckless.

6. Children’s standards of living decreased, on average, when their parents divorced, but the psychological effects went beyond the economic changes.

7. Girls and boys from divorced homes tended to end their education earlier than those from intact families, with the expected problems that then ensued.

8. Boys and girls from divorced homes were more likely to smoke and drink when they got older, as compared to their peers from intact families.

9. Girls from divorced families were than 100% more likely to become heavy smokers

10. Those who had lived through their parents’ divorce when they were children were more likely to have their own marriages end in divorce, thus perpetuating the vicious cycle.

11. A positive family environment—having positive feelings about one’s family—did not ameliorate the detrimental effects of divorce. Boys with positive family feelings lived shorter lives, as it was especially traumatic to have a seemingly positive, functional home torn apart.

12. Men who divorced were at much higher mortality risk than those who remained married. Even remarried men didn’t live as long as those who stayed steadily married.

This unique life-span study dramatically extended and confirmed similar (but shorter-term or less intensive) findings in this area by researchers such as Drs. Rena Repetti, Paul Amato, Judth Wallerstein, Andrew Cherlin, Jennifer Lansford, Robert Anda and others. See Howard S. Friedman & Leslie R. Martin (2011). The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study. NY: Hudson Street Press. Information being distributed by Coalition for Divorce.

Download a full pdf version of this information here.


Texas Sonogram Law Prevents Doctors From Banning Women From Seeing Sonogram

January 18, 2012

The Texas Sonogram law is now in full effect as of January 13, 2012, as ordered by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Yes, every abortion clinic and abortion doctor in Texas must follow this law, now.  Any doctor seeking to perform an abortion on a woman in Texas must follow this law that protects women and makes it illegal for doctors to prevent a woman from seeing a sonogram image.  During the legislative process, we heard so many women testify about how abortion clinic doctors would not let them see the sonogram image.

The Sonogram law requires:

1. A woman must have the sonogram displayed so she can see it.

2. A woman must have a sonogram performed on her.

3. The baby’s heartbeat must be made audible so the woman can hear it.

4. A woman must be given a description of the sonogram image.

5. A woman must have a face to face meeting with the abortion doctor.

6. A woman must be given this information 24 hours before the abortion.

If a doctor does not provide a woman with this information, the doctor faces civil penalties.

Spread the word, and make sure every woman in Texas knows that she now has significant protections in the law when she goes into an abortion clinic.  If you hear of any doctor or abortion clinic not following this law, please contact our office immediately at 512-478-2220.


Court: Texas Sonogram Law To Be Enforced Immediately

January 13, 2012

See the court’s order here.   5th Circuit Order 011312    

See the Texas Attorney General’s request here.    State Motion for Mandate 011212

Thanks again to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and his outstanding staff!


Watch Our Video on Texas Sonogram Case Victory!!

January 12, 2012

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2012/January/Texas-Can-Enforce-Sonogram-Viewing-Law-for-Now/

By the way, big thanks goes to Attorney General Greg Abbott and Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell for doing an excellent job defending the Texas Sonogram law!!


Texas’ Sonogram Law Ruled Constitutional, Signaling Biggest Pro-Life Victory This Decade

January 10, 2012

U.S. Fifth Circuit Court Upholds Law Stating Sonograms Must Be Performed 24 Hours Before Abortions 

AUSTIN, Texas, January 10, 2012 – Today, Liberty Institute announced a major pro-life victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit declared constitutional the recently enacted Texas Sonogram Law, also known as HB 15. The Fifth Circuit’s decision overturned a controversial ruling by U.S. District Judge Sparks, which enjoined the Texas law co-authored by Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller and was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry in May 2011. The law requires doctors and certified sonographers to perform a sonogram on women seeking an abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure.

“This is one of the most important victories in the past 10 years for informed consent for women seeking an abortion,” said Jonathan Saenz, Liberty Institute Attorney who heads the office at the Texas Capitol and provided the main legal testimony for the bill during the legislative process. “Women and unborn children in Texas are safer today because of this decision and no longer subject to the abuse of abortion doctors who deny women critical medical information.”

HB 15, which amends the 2003 Texas Woman’s Right to Know Act (“WRKA”), requires the physician “who is to perform an abortion” to perform and display a sonogram of the fetus, make audible the heart auscultation of the fetus for the woman to hear, as well as explain to her the results of each procedure and to wait 24 hours, in most cases, between these disclosures and performing the abortion.

Senator Patrick said, “I was always confident that our bill would survive any constitutional question because our goal from the beginning was to protect the woman’s right to know, protect the unborn and protect the constitution.”

Representative Sid Miller, said, “I commend the court of appeals for this just decision which confirms that women have every right to be fully informed about the abortion decision and that my fellow Texas lawmakers who supported this law stayed within the bounds of U.S. Supreme Court precedent.”

In August, on behalf of Senator Patrick and Representative Miller and in support of the law, Liberty Institute filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit seeking to strike down Texas’ new sonogram law (HB 15), which was originally scheduled to go into effect on September 1, 2011.  Senator Patrick and Representative Miller were the authors of HB 15 in the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives, respectively.  Liberty Institute argued that HB 15 is consistent with The Supreme Court and only requires the disclosure of truthful and accurate information to allow women to make informed decisions regarding their pregnancies.

Read the Fifth Circuit Court’s Opinion here.

Download this press release here.


Texas Sonogram Law Ruled Constitutional

January 10, 2012

Breaking News — Texas Sonogram law ruled constitutional! The Fifth Circuit Court (Edith Jones opinion) holds recently enacted Texas Sonogram law constitutional. The Fifth Circuit reversed Judge Sparks, vacating his granting of preliminary injunction, which had stopped enforcement of the Texas Sonogram law.

Check back to the blog today for a full press release with quotes from the bill’s authors, Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller. Liberty Institute, on behalf of Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller, had filed an amicus brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the law.

You can download the 5th Circuit Court opinion here

Update: See here for Liberty Institute’s press release.


Sonogram Bill Goes Before 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Today

January 4, 2012

Sonogram_Picture_Texas_CapitolToday, the Sonogram Bill (HB 15) will go before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.  The State of Texas will be seeking to overturn U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruling that put on hold key provisions of Texas’ new sonogram law.  The Sonogram Bill, which requires doctors or certified sonographers to perform a sonogram on women seeking an abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure, was overwhelmingly passed by the Texas Legislature and signed into law by Governor Perry this past legislative session.

Liberty Institute, on behalf of Texas State Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller – authors of the Sonogram Bill in the Texas Senate and House respectively, filed an amicus brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the law.  Liberty Institute argues that HB 15 is consistent with Supreme Court precedents and only requires the disclosure of truthful and accurate information to allow women to make informed decisions regarding their pregnancies.  Liberty Institute was also involved in helping lawmakers draft the best language for this legislation and provided legal advocacy at numerous legislative hearings on this matter when pro-abortion advocates tried to stop this effort.

Read the legislators’ amicus brief filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas Medical Professionals Performing Abortion Services v. Lakey.


Texas Choose Life License Plates Now Available!

November 30, 2011

Helping spread the pro-life message has never been easier as the Texas Choose Life specialty license plate is now available to order online and at each county vehicle registration site around the state.  The plates are $30 annually, with $22 of the $30 going to qualified organizations that provide counseling and material assistance to pregnant women considering placing their unborn children for adoption, including pregnancy resource centers.  Liberty Institute helped lead the coalition of pro-life and pro-family organizations at the Texas Capitol that have pushed for several sessions to create the Choose Life plates and was thrilled to see the Choose Life bill finally pass this most recent Texas Legislative session earlier this year.   Thanks again to Senator John Carona and Representative Larry Phillips for championing such important legislation in 2011!

Be sure to let us know if you order one! For more details and to order the Choose Life plates, visit the Texas DMV website.


Texas Constitutional Amendment Election Results

November 9, 2011

Propositions 4, 7,and 8 go down.  All others pass.

Proposition 1

In Favor: 82.88%

Against: 17.11%

Proposition 2

In Favor: 51.52%

Against: 48.47%

Proposition 3

In Favor: 54.52%

Against: 45.47%

Proposition 4

In Favor: 40.28%

Against: 59.71%

Proposition 5

In Favor: 57.77%

Against: 42.22%

Proposition 6

In Favor: 51.57%

Against: 48.42%

Proposition 7

In Favor: 48.30%

Against: 51.69%

Proposition 8

In Favor: 47%

Against: 52.99%

Proposition 9

In Favor: 57.31%

Against: 42.68%

Proposition 10

In Favor: 55.94%

Against: 44.05%


Today is Constitutional Amendment Election Day – Go Vote!

November 8, 2011

Today is election day in Texas.  There are 10 Constitutional Amendments on the ballot as well as bond elections and races at the local level. For more details on the election and to download our Constitutional Amendment Voters Guide, visit our recent blog post.  We also have a website, FreeVotersGuide.com, where you can download this free guide and find all the important information related to the election. Remember on election day you must vote in your local precinct.  You can find your polling location at the Secretary of State’s website.  Polling location will be open until 7:00 p.m.

Be sure to check back on the blog after the election.  We will have the election results and analysis for the Constitutional Amendment Election.


Constitutional Election Day is Tomorrow, Download our Guide Today!

November 7, 2011

Tomorrow, Nov. 8, is the Constitutional Amendment Election Day, and Texans will vote on 10 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution. One of our main goals at Liberty Institute is to educate and empower citizens to become active and engaged participants in their government, and one of our most effective tools in helping educate citizens are our free Voters Guides. For the Constitutional Amendment Election, we have put together a non-partisan, educational voters guide that lists a short summary of the proposed amendments while presenting the pros and cons to each in order to help voters make a more informed vote. For more details on the election and to download our guide, visit our recent blog post.  We also have a website, FreeVotersGuide.com, where you can download this free guide and find all the important information related to the election.  Remember on election day you must vote in your local precinct.

Amending our state constitution is an important responsibility given to the citizens of Texas, and it is a responsibility we must take seriously and proceed with cautiously. An important question to ask when going to vote on amendments to the constitution is “Does this proposed amendment increase the power and size of government or does it increase individual liberty?”.  We encourage everyone to educate themselves on the proposed amendments so that they can cast an informed vote.

 


Liberty Institute Files Brief to Support Sonogram Bill, On Behalf of Sen. Dan Patrick, Rep. Sid Miller

November 4, 2011

Today, on behalf of Texas Senator Dan Patrick and Texas Representative Sid Miller, Liberty Institute filed an amicus brief the in appeal of the preliminary injunction that put on hold key portions of Texas’ new sonogram law (HB 15). Senator Patrick and Representative Miller were the authors of HB 15 in the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives, respectively. Liberty Institute argues that HB 15 is consistent with Supreme Court precedents and only requires the disclosure of truthful and accurate information to allow women to make informed decisions regarding their pregnancies.

“Liberty Institute has been an important partner in passing this legislation since I first filed it in 2007,” said Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston). “I hope our work will finally be allowed to help the women and unborn children of Texas. I am disappointed that we have to wait even one more day for the protections we passed this last legislative session. I hope the Fifth Circuit moves quickly to allow women to be fully informed before making this life altering decision.”

HB 15, which requires doctors or certified sonographers to perform a sonogram on women seeking an abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure, was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry on May 24, however, key portions of the law were struck down by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks.

“Just as doctor gives medically-relevant explanation of his or her patient’s condition before even a minor procedure, an abortion provider should offer such information to women seeking abortions,” said Rep. Miller (R-Stephenville). “I’m hopeful that all of the sonogram bill will be upheld, so women can be fully informed.”

Read the legislators’ amicus brief filed today with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas Medical Professionals Performing Abortion Services v. Lakey.

View Press Release


Constitutional Amendment Election Early Voting Starts Today! Get your Guide at FreeVotersGuide.com

October 24, 2011

Home

Today,  Texans will begin going to the polls to vote on ten proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution.  One of our main goals at Liberty Institute is to educate and empower citizens to become active and engaged participants in their government, and one of our most effective tools in helping educate citizens are our free Voters Guides.  For the Constitutional Amendment Election, we have put together a non-partisan, educational voters guide that lists a short summary of the proposed amendments while presenting the pros and cons to each in order to help voters make a more informed vote.  At our website, FreeVotersGuide.com, you can download this free guide and find all the important information related to the election.  The key dates for the upcoming Constitutional Amendment Election are as follows:

October 24th, 2011 – First Day of Early Voting

November 4th, 2011 – Last Day of Early Voting

November 8th, 2011 – Election Day

Please visit FreeVotersGuide.com and download our Constitutional Amendment Election Voters Guide and share the guide with your family, friends, neighbors, and church.  Amending our state constitution is an important responsibility given to the citizens of Texas, and we encourage everyone to educate themselves on the proposed amendments so that they can cast an informed vote.


What’s On the Ballot? Texas Nov. 8 Constitutional Amendment Election Voters Guide

October 11, 2011

Today is the last day for Texans to register to vote for the Nov. 8 Constitutional Amendment Election.  Don’t forget that early voting starts in less than 2 weeks on October 24th. Here is a summary and the ballot language for the 10 proposed amendments that will be on the ballot. For a full rundown of the pros and cons of all 10 amendments, be sure to download a copy of our Constitutional Amendment Election Voters Guide.

Prop 1 (SJR 14)

Summary: Allows surviving spouse of disabled veteran to receive property tax exemption on residential homestead.

Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran.”

Prop 2 (SJR 4)

Summary: Gives permanent bonding authority to Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to issue additional general obligation bonds.

Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $6 billion at any time outstanding.”

Prop 3 (SJR 50)

Summary: Gives permanent bonding authority to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to issue general obligation bonds to finance low-interest students loans.

Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of general obligation bonds of the State of Texas to finance educational loans to students.”

Prop 4 (HJR 63)

Summary: Gives authority to counties to participate in certain tax increment financing or reinvestment zones.

Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit a county to issue bonds or notes to finance the development or redevelopment of an unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted area and to pledge for repayment of the bonds or notes increases in ad valorem taxes imposed by the county on property in the area.  The amendment does not provide authority for increasing ad valorem tax rates.”

Prop 5 (SJR 26)

Summary: Allows interlocal contracts by cities and counties without a tax or a sinking fund.

Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to allow cities or counties to enter into interlocal contracts with other cities or counties without the imposition of a tax or the provision of a sinking fund.”

Prop 6 (HJR 109)

Summary: Gives greater authority to the School Land Board (SLB) to distribute funds from Permanent School Fund (PSF) to Available School Fund (ASF).

Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment clarifying references to the permanent school fund, allowing the General Land Office to distribute revenue from permanent school fund land or other properties to the available school fund to provide additional funding for public education, and providing for an increase in the market value of the permanent school fund for the purpose of allowing increased distributions from the available school fund.”

Prop 7 (SJR 28)

Summary: Authorizes El Paso County districts to issue bonds supported by property taxes for parks and recreational facilities.

Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds supported by ad valorem taxes to fund the development and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities.”

Prop 8 (SJR 16)

Summary: Provides for taxation of open-space land devoted to water stewardship based on its productive capacity.

Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment providing for the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of open-space land devoted to water-stewardship purposes on the basis of its productive capacity.”

Prop 9 (SJR 9)

Summary: Allows a pardon by the governor after successful deferred adjudication community supervision.

Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the governor to grant a pardon to a person who successfully completes a term of deferred adjudication community supervision.”

Prop 10 (SJR 37)

Summary: Lengthens period before county or district officials must resign to run for other office from one year to one year and 30 days.

Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment to change the length of the unexpired term that causes the automatic resignation of certain elected county or district officeholders if they become candidates for another office.

See a sample ballot.


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