Austin Schools Will Now Offer Free Pads and Tampons: Period Equity Is Expanding

Originally published by The 19th. When Austin public school students return to classes this month, they will find a new amenity awaiting them in the bathrooms: dispensers of free maxi pads and tampons. Over the summer, Austin Independent School District spent about $85,000 on dispensers and $70,000 on the first batch of menstrual products to provide to students at no cost. Austin is the state’s fifth-largest district and joins Fort Worth, which will also offer supplies to students for free this fall, following a decision Dallas schools made last year. The Texas districts join a national movement toward period equity,…

Outraged Uvalde Residents Rise Up Against Local Fundraiser for NRA

A fundraising event planned by charity for National Rifle Association (NRA) in Hondo Texas, some 40 miles away from the Robb Elementary School shooting, was canceled after relatives of the victims demanded that the Hondo City Council nix the fundraiser. The Hondo City Council voted 4-to-1 on Monday to deny Friends of the NRA, the foundation that planned the fundraiser, a space for the event in the city’s Medina Fair Hall after relatives protested the affair. “It is a slap in the face to all of Uvalde, especially the ones that lost a loved one, some of us being here…

Hundreds of Thousands of Incarcerated People Are in Danger Amid Scorching Heat

This summer is set to be among the top 10 hottest on record with heat waves melting roads across Europe, causing thousand-acre fires in Texas and California, scorching people across the globe. Across the country, as temperatures soar, people behind bars describe feeling as if they are melting or being baked alive in units that frequently lack air conditioning or cooling mechanisms. Temperatures in parts of Texas have soared to over 100 degrees every day for the past week — with no relief in sight. The state has the tenth-highest incarceration rate in the nation, with 840 of every 100,000…

Texas Republican Seeks to Limit HIV Medication Access After Winning Abortion Ban

A prominent conservative lawyer who crafted the Texas bounty hunter anti-abortion law that kickstarted the judicial path to overturning Roe v. Wade has filed a new lawsuit aimed at limiting access to preventative HIV medications known as HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. Jonathan Mitchell, a former Republican solicitor general of Texas and now-private lawyer who has spent years seeking to restrict abortion access, same sex marriage and same sex intercourse, argues in his new lawsuit on behalf of Christian clients that free access to PrEP, as mandated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is a violation of religious freedoms. The…

Charity That Backs Trump’s Election Lies Has Ties to the Texas Attorney General

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is pretty familiar with Catherine Engelbrecht. He’s been a guest on her podcast, chatting about their shared passion: rooting out voter fraud. They both have gone to great lengths to try to support former President Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen. And when Engelbrecht, founder of the nonprofit True the Vote, has found herself in hot water, Paxton’s office has turned out to be a helpful ally. Most recently, a state judge sided with Engelbrecht’s argument that it should be Paxton’s office — not a court — that should probe allegations made…

Texas AG Sues to Block Biden Order Guaranteeing Emergency Abortion Access

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) is suing the Biden administration over an executive order that guarantees an emergency abortion to every patient who requires one, no matter what restrictions on the procedure are in place in any given state. Although abortion is severely curtailed in Texas under a restrictive 1925 law that recently went into effect, the procedure is still currently allowed in the state for those necessitating emergency lifesaving care. However, Paxton’s lawsuit could pave the way for Texas and other states to deny such care to people whose pregnancies are putting their lives at risk. Paxton defended…

O’Rourke Belittles Abbott Over Texas Grid’s Problems During Heat Wave

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for governor in Texas, condemned current Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for his handling of numerous energy crises throughout the past year. Texas is currently facing a heat wave, which is causing the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) energy grid to reach record high power demand. ERCOT said on Sunday that outages were not expected in the near future, but warned state residents to limit their usage of electricity between the hours of 2 and 8 pm on Monday to avoid overloading the system. Meanwhile, some cities have contradicted ERCOT’s claims that outages aren’t a…

Red States Plot Use of Vigilantes to Restrict Abortion Seekers’ Travel

Following President Joe Biden’s Friday executive order protecting abortion rights, a Planned Parenthood of Montana spokesperson tells Truthout the organization will not reverse its decision to discontinue providing medication abortion to patients traveling from states where abortion has been banned after the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade. The organization, which operates five clinics in the state, had previously cited legal concerns about patients potentially traveling with abortion pills provided by Planned Parenthood of Montana clinics back home to states that have banned abortion, and then taking the pills there. The organization, however, is continuing to provide such patients…

Poll Reveals Gov. Greg Abbott’s Lead Over Beto O’Rourke May Be Shrinking

Following the deadliest school shooting in Texas’s history, new polling finds that far right Gov. Greg Abbott’s unfavorability rating is higher than it’s ever been, while his lead over Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke may be shrinking. As new findings from University of Texas/Texas Politics Project show, Abbott’s favorability was at 44 percent as of June, with another 44 percent of those polled saying that they view the governor unfavorably. This is the highest the latter has ever been, according to surveys conducted by the pollster ranging back to 2012, when Abbott was Texas’s attorney general. The survey was taken…

Supreme Court Immigration Ruling Is Welcome, But Deadly Policies Remain in Place

We go to San Antonio, where 53 migrants seeking refuge in the U.S. died earlier this week after being confined to a sweltering tractor-trailer. Human rights advocates blamed the tragedy on restrictive immigration policies like the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as MPP or the “Remain in Mexico” program. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Biden has the power to end the Trump-era policy, which forced tens of thousands of asylum seekers to stay on the Mexican side of the border in unsafe conditions while their cases were resolved in the U.S. “Every single…

The AR-15 Has No Business Being in the Hands of Civilians

Content warning: This story includes graphic descriptions of gun violence and its effects on the human body. As the nation absorbs the horror of yet another massacre of schoolchildren, questions about the police’s response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, have become paramount. According to still conflicting reports, police became aware of an active shooter within Robb Elementary School but did not enter the building and engage the attacker for more than 70 minutes. In that span, the gunman was able to kill 19 children and two teachers with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. The Washington Post reports: Since the…

Uvalde Students Fought for Desegregation in 1970s. Now Let’s Rise Up for Them.

Communities of Mexican origin and others throughout the United States, in Mexico and beyond, are mobilizing in solidarity with the suffering of the community of Uvalde, Texas. This includes student walkouts at more than 200 schools on May 26 in the first wave of a renewed national movement for rational gun control measures led by survivors and families of previous mass shootings in Parkland, Florida, and elsewhere. The horrific slaughter in Uvalde of 19 students and of two heroic teachers who died seeking to protect them should also remind us of all the ways in which children of color have…

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