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

Texas Rally for Religious Freedom -Tomorrow – Texas Capitol-South Entrance!

March 22, 2012

Please stand with us and make your voice heard for Religous Liberty!  Tomorrow, noon, Texas Capitol South Entrance, just along 11th street, we’ll be speaking at one of the many Religious Freedom rallies being held across the country to push back against the Obama Administration’s effort to force religious entities to violate their conscience through Obamacare provisions by having the government force private religious entities to pay for health measure that violate their conscience.  Let me say that again, the government is forcing private religions to violate their religious beliefs and pay for acts that violate their religious beliefs.  I thought these people wanted the government and religion to be separate.  The double standard could not be more obvious.

Let’s also be clear, women have access to abortifacients and birth control at nearly every corner drug store often at a low cost. Access is not the issue.  The issue is that some people have such an entitlement mentality that they think that the government should force you to violate your own religious beliefs with your own private money and pay for their choices.  If Planned Parenthood is so vital to women like they claim, than why aren’t the Hollywood liberals and Lance Armstrong giving more of their private money directly to Planned Parenthood?  If PP is so important than they should be able to survive off private donations.  If not, than their value has been oversold, as we’ve known for many years.

If the government can force religions to pay for free devices on a life and death issue that forces the religious entities to violate their own beliefs, than the religious freedom protection we have in the U.S. Constitution is meaningless and we will all be defenseless against the federal government.

Is personal responsibilty being taught in government schools anymore?  Apparently not enough, if at all.

Stand with Us tomorrow for Religious Liberty!  http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/377925832232013/

Texas Stands Up To Washington, Planned Parenthood

March 1, 2012

Last week, the Texas Health & Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs, Gov. Rick Perry, and Attorney General Greg Abbott all stood tall against Planned Parenthood and the Obama administration on the issue of use of taxpayer funds for the Woman’s Health Program (WHP) in Texas by abortion providers.

As a result of legislation passed in Texas in 2011, which Liberty Institute was instrumental in supporting, Planned Parenthood will effectively be defunded of taxpayer dollars from the WHP in March of 2012, as there are numerous other healthcare providers in Texas that can meet the needs of Texas women without having an abortion connection dragging them down.  At least 11 Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas have already closed as a result. The feds have threatened to shut down the WHP completely if Planned Parenthood is not included in the program.  Sounds like the feds care more about playing politics than meeting the needs of women.  As Texas has done time and time again, our leaders stood tall against another attempted Washington, D.C. takeover.

Take Action! Please send Gov. Perry an email thanking him for his support on this issue! The abortion supporters are flooding the Governor’s office so our side needs to show up!  You can thank the Governor here.

Austin City Council Repeals Unconstitutional Ordinance, Passes Another

January 30, 2012

Liberty Institute, on behalf of three Austin, TX-area pregnancy resource centers, opposed an unconstitutional and newly proposed city ordinance requiring pregnancy centers, under the threat of criminal penalties, to disclose government-mandated information about their services at their front entrances—information the pregnancy centers already provide to women inside their facilities. At the council meeting last Thursday, the Council voted to repeal the first ordinance. The Council then voted, however, to enact a newly proposed ordinance that suffers from many of the same constitutional defects.

“We are disappointed that the Austin City Council passed the amended ordinance and disregarded the Constitution, the holdings of three Federal District Courts, and discriminated against charitable pregnancy centers that serve the women of Austin,” said Erin Leu, attorney with the Liberty Institute. “The amended ordinance is a blatant violation of the First Amendment. We are confident that the Federal Court will strike it down as unlawful.”

Since the Austin City Council chose to pass the new proposal, Liberty Institute’s clients, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, Catholic Charities of Central Texas, the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center, and the South Austin Pregnancy Resource Center, will proceed with their federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance. In three other federal district court cases in other jurisdictions, federal judges have held similar ordinances unconstitutional.

Liberty Institute discusses with KXAN news:

Austin City Council Ignores Advice of Its Own Lawyers, Proposes Another Unconstitutional Pregnancy Ordinance

January 24, 2012

AUSTIN, TX, January 24, 2012—Today, Liberty Institute, on behalf of three Austin, TX-area pregnancy resource centers submitted a comment letter to the Mayor, City Council members and attorneys for the City of Austin, opposing as unconstitutional a newly proposed city ordinance requiring pregnancy centers, under the threat of criminal penalties, to disclose government-mandated information about their services at their front entrances, information that the pregnancy centers already provide to women inside their facilities.

On January 26, the Austin City Council will discuss Chapter 10-9 of the Austin City Code, which, last week, the City’s Law Department recommended should be repealed. In addition to repealing the unconstitutional ordinance, the Austin City Council will also consider amending the ordinance.  The newly proposed ordinance, however, suffers from many of the same defects including unfair application to facilities the City disagrees with and violates the First Amendment because it is compelled speech and discriminates on the basis of viewpoint.

“We encourage the Austin City Council to follow the recommendations of its own lawyers and simply repeal the current ordinance that the City never enforced and is already the subject of a federal lawsuit, and do nothing more.  This rogue Council has now proposed a new ordinance that is even more unconstitutional and shows that Mayor Leffingwell and Member Spelman would rather waste taxpayer dollars in court then do what’s best for the people,” said Jonathan Saenz, an attorney and director of legislative affairs for Liberty Institute in Austin.

Coauthors of the letter include former Texas Supreme Court Justice Raul Gonzalez, David Lill, and, attorneys with Liberty Institute, who are co-counsel representing three Austin area pregnancy resource centers in the pending federal lawsuit, Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, et al. v. City of Austin.

If the Austin City Council fails to repeal the original ordinance or passes an amended ordinance as proposed, Liberty Institute’s clients, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, Catholic Charities of Central Texas, the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center, and the South Austin Pregnancy Resource Center, will proceed with their federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance. In three other federal district court cases in other jurisdictions, federal judges have held similar ordinances unconstitutional.

Liberty Institute is a non-profit legal firm defending and restoring religious freedom across America.

Click here to see the full release.

Watch Our Video on Texas Sonogram Case Victory!!

January 12, 2012


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

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.

Travis County Ends Taxpayer Funded Abortions

August 15, 2011

Late last week, board members of Central Health (formerly Travis County Healthcare District) voted unanimously to end using $450,000 of taxpayer money annually to fund abortion. Travis County was the first Texas county to use taxpayer money for abortion, which it distributed to abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood.

During the Texas Legislative Session, Liberty Institute worked on and supported a bill that passed, ending state funding for healthcare districts that use taxpayer money to pay for abortions. Existing law prevented federal and state-level taxpayer funding for abortion, but this law closes the loophole to make sure that no taxpayer money in the State of Texas funds abortion.

While this is a great step forward for life in Austin, the war continues nationwide as the Obama administration continues to expand abortion services covered under insurance, including several controversial birth control medications.

Rep. Bryan Hughes Interview on Pro-Life Victories, Defunding of Planned Parenthood

August 3, 2011

As part of our continued coverage of the recently completed legislative session, we will be releasing a series of sit down interviews we did with key conservative legislators that had an impact on important issues during the session. Our 2nd interview is with Rep. Bryan Hughes.  We talked with Rep. Hughes about the important pro-life victories from the session, including his leadership in efforts to defund abortion providers of tax dollars.

Liberty Institute Statement on SB 7 Passage, Planned Parenthood Funding Cut

June 27, 2011

Texas Legislature Strikes At Taxpayer Funding of Planned Parenthood:

Liberty Institute Applauds Passage of Pro-life, Fiscally Responsible Bill

AUSTIN, Texas, June 27, 2011 – Earlier today, both houses of the Texas Legislature voted to approve Senate Bill 7 (SB 7), which along with other legislation passed this session, strikes at and could effectively end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood in the state. The bill will now be sent to Gov. Rick Perry for his signature, which is expected.

In regard to the vote, Liberty Institute released the following statement:

“The passing of this legislation is a defining moment in Texas history for the pro-life and taxpayer protection movement.  Texas leaders have sent a clear message-Planned Parenthood and similar abortion groups should not use taxpayer funds to support their agenda”, said Jonathan Saenz, Liberty Institute legislative director who supported SB 7 at the Texas Capitol and has provided legal analysis and advocacy efforts to support pro-life strands of SB 7.

SB 7 prevents abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving tax dollars through the “Women’s Health Program” (estimated $34 million loss for PP).  SB 7 prioritizes other funding that PP usually goes after, to give priority of funding to community-based centers that provide comprehensive primary care to women, not just “family planning”.   Planned Parenthood does not fall into this category. SB 7 also prevents county tax dollars from being used for abortion, like Travis County Healthcare District has been doing for years with approximately $450,000.

Record Vote of Senate on SB 7: http://www.journals.senate.state.tx.us/sjrnl/821/pdf/82S106-27-F1.PDF#page=3

Record Vote of House on SB 7: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/RecordVote.aspx?LegSess=821&Bill=SB7&RcdVtNo=128&Ch=H&Dt=06/27/2011

Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal and policy group dedicated to protecting freedoms and strengthening families. Visit www.libertyinstitute.org for more.

Tx Special Session-Day 18: Showdown on Planned Parenthood, Rainy Day Fund

June 17, 2011

As the week ends and we pass the half way point of the 30 days allowed for a Special Session, two unresolved issues we’re following closely are getting a lot of attention.  SB 7 contains pro-life provisions, particularly efforts to finish the job of defunding Planned Parenthood of state tax dollars.  The SB 7  conference committee report was not a pro-life as the version passed by the Senate, so numerous House pro-life members are fighting to get a better conference committee report.  No resolution on this issue thus far.

Use of the Rainy Day Fund is the other issue.  Numerous House Republicans have pledged not to use the Rainy Day Fund, but Democrat member Rep. Donna Howard somehow got an amendment on SB 2, that does just that.  Rep. Phil King made a motion to instruct the SB 2 conference committee members to strip that amendment off, and the instruction received and approving vote of 87-59.

We expect these two issues to be resolved by early next week.

The Special Session could end as early as next week, but my belief is that we could go all they way to Day 30, June 29th.

Texas Special Session: Day 3 – Hearings Have Begun, Planned Parenthood on the Ropes

June 2, 2011

The Texas House and Senate are holding hearings today on budget, education, and healthcare issues, and congressional redistricting.

SB 7 gives us another opportunity to finish the job of defunding Planned Parenthood from use of taxpayer dollars. Call your Texas State Senator and ask he/she to support SB 7 . Click here for your Senator’s contact information: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/.

You can also download our Texas Legislative Guide with all of Texas’ elected officials contact information at http://legislativeguide.libertyinstitute.org/.

Last Chance to Defund Planned Parenthood! Act Today

May 26, 2011

Make your call today to the Conference Committee for Senate Bill 23 and ask them to support the “perfecting amendment’ to Rep. Landtroop’s amendment to SB 23 to defund Planned Parenthood.


Jane Nelson, (R-Flower Mound), Chair  512.463.0112 — jane.nelson@senate.state.tx.us

Florence Shapiro (R-Plano)  512.463.0108 — florence.shapiro@senate.state.tx.us

Bob Deuell (R-Greenville)  512.463.0102 — bob.deuell@senate.state.tx.us

Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen)  512.463.0120 — juan.hinojosa@senate.state.tx.us

Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands)  512.463.0104 — tommy.williams@senate.state.tx.us


John Zerwas (R-Simonton), Chair  512.463.0657 — john.zerwas@house.state.tx.us

John Davis (R-Houston)  512.463.0734 — john.davis@house.state.tx.us

Chuck Hopson (R-Jacksonville)  512.463.0592 — chuck.hopson@house.state.tx.us

Veronica Gonzales (D-McAllen)  512.463.0578 — veronica.gonzales@house.state.tx.us

Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie)  512.463.0516 — jim.pitts@house.state.tx.us

Pro-Abortion Falkenberg Breaks From Senate Dems; Urges Passage of Deuell WHP Bill, SB 1854

May 20, 2011

Even pro-abortion, pro-Planned Parenthood writers are realizing that women are more important than Planned Parenthood and that PP’s donors can support them on their own, if the Planned Parenthood’s tax dollar funding stream is finally cut off. Details here. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/falkenberg/7567683.html

Warning, this article above is very hostile toward the protection of innocent human life with an over-the-top negative and near hateful attitude toward efforts to inform women about “choices.”

The author of this article seems to agree with Cecil Richards of Planned Parenthood that this bill is a “poison pill”.  Nonsense.  The clear reality that this article partially makes clear is that when it comes to women, family planning, and tax dollars, Planned Parenthood is the posison pill.  That’s why eventually, Republicans and Democrats will agree to shut them out.

The discussion is about supporting SB 1854, by Sen. Bob Deuell (R-Greenville).

By the way, I assume that tax dollars are not being used to pay for all ads that Planned Parenthood is running these days on websites and highway billboards.  Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t see the very fine print the first time, that clears this issue up. http://www.texastribune.org/texas-legislature/82nd-legislative-session/texas-budget-update-theyre-still-stuck/

Texas House Passes Budget With No New Taxes: Defunding of Planned Parenthood Begins

April 5, 2011

Last Friday, the Texas House passed a budget to live within our means, with no new taxes, during this tough time and also started the defunding of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood.

Led by numerous pro-life conservatives, the effort caused a seismic shift in the way tax dollars are used for “family planning” services.  Although tax dollars cannot be used for elective abortions in Texas, Planned Parenthood is a major recipient of tax dollars for family planning services, keeping the government money stream alive and well for the well-known abortion provider.

But all that changed on Friday, when the Texas House debated and voted on the Texas budget.  Rep. Randy Weber led the effort to use family planning funds to restore funding for the Alternatives to Abortion program.  Later Rep. Chisum, Rep. Morrison, and Rep. Burkett put into place a priority list of how family planning funds can be distributed, leaving entities like Planned Parenthood dead last.  Numerous other amendments were passed as well that shifted money away from family planning services.  All these efforts collectively mean that entities like Planned Parenthood may not receive any taxpayer funding under the 2012-13 budget.

The budget still has to be debated and voted on by the Senate. Please contact your State Senator and encourage them to support the measures passed in the House to defund Planned Parenthood. Click here to find your elected officials, or you can download our Texas Legislative Guide with all of Texas’ elected officials contact information at http://legislativeguide.libertyinstitute.org/

In last week’s Legislative Update video, I talked with Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood Director and now Pro-Life Advocate, about the impact of defunding Planned Parenthood.

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