Is Texas Too Red for Raising Daughters?

Categories: Parenting

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I write a fair amount of articles for the Houston Press that deal with having a progressive attitude when raising a daughter. Know what the comment I see the most often under those stories is...

"Wow, hard to believe this guy is from Texas."

Some mean that as a compliment, some mean it as an insult, and others are just baffled because Texas has become home of the whoppers. While Texas has been mostly republican-controlled since the 1960s, and conservative since we dragged her kicking and screaming from the hands of Santa Anna, the landscape is becoming danger-red because that conservative powerhouse has become almost entirely dominated by Tea Party and radical right-wing candidates.

It's a not a group of people who has historically had the best interest of women at heart, at least as far as giving them freedom and aid. As the father of a four-year-old girl about to enter Texas' public school system, I honestly wonder if it's time to pack up the Kid With One F and leave my ancestral home.

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There's our new lieutenant governor to consider. Dan Patrick utterly trounced David Dewhurst in the recent run-off election. Despite eyes being cast on Wendy Davis and her bid to take the governorship of Texas back for the Democrats, it's Patrick that may wield the greater power, whatever the outcome of that race. It's the lieutenant governor who most guides the Texas legislature, not the governor.

The laws that Patrick, known to his detractors as Taliban Dan, likes are the ones that have me fearing watching my daughter come of age in a time when he may still be serving. There's his troubling love of the idea of abortion providers no longer operating in the state for example. In the run-off debates Patrick said...

"This is a myth that Planned Parenthood has anything to do with women's health. Why are they closing clinics if they're making money on providing women's health? They're closing clinics because they make all their money taking the lives of babies."

Patrick was referring to a law he supported that enforced new, costly, and to most opponents of the law, unnecessary, restrictions upon Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers that has reduced the number of such clinics in Texas to just six. Unable to renovate to accommodate wider hallways, and the refusal of local hospitals to advance admitting privileges, many such clinics have closed.

The reality is that Planned Parenthood does have a lot to do with women's health. Abortions make up only 3 percent of its procedures. The vast majority of services they provide, often to low-income women, are annual well-women exams, contraception, prenatal care, cancer screenings, and sexually transmitted disease screening.

In a state where nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned (and in which many women who have become pregnant cite as the clinics closing and being unable to access birth control they previously could as a reason), it's a troubling trend, but one that Patrick and other far-right politicians with a grip on Texas politics seem comfortable with.

Even if it shuts down other clinics that don't even provide abortions. Rick Perry may have gleefully bragged about making abortion harder to get in Texas, but I've not heard much from him or his party on what they plan to do for the poor women in Texas who are watching their health care options erode.

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72 comments
eppiegriff
eppiegriff

Join us---Texas Exes!  I am proudly transplanted in RI. I shake my head at my former state.  What a shame!  Join us. 


scuzzarellas
scuzzarellas

wow. I want to make it clear that I love Texas. All three of my children were born in Houston and are proud native Texans. But I am so happy I raised my daughters and son in Massachusetts. So glad that my husband and I made the decision to move back to MA.     And PS...my son is gay, so that is a plus too! 10 years of marriage equality here, and it is all good. 



scuzzarellas
scuzzarellas

wow. I want to make it clear that I love Texas. All three of my children were born in Houston and are proud native Texans. But I am so happy I raised my daughters and son in Massachusetts. So glad that my husband and I made the decision to move back to MA.     And PS...my son is gay, so that is a plus too! 10 years of marriage equality here, and it is all good. 



scuzzarellas
scuzzarellas

wow. I want to make it clear that I love Texas. All three of my children were born in Houston and are proud native Texans. But I am so happy I raised my daughters and son in Massachusetts. So glad that my husband and I made the decision to move back to MA.     And PS...my son is gay, so that is a plus too! 10 years of marriage equality here, and it is all good. 



scuzzarellas
scuzzarellas

wow. I love Texas. All three of my children were born in Houston and proud native Texans. But I am so happy I raised my daughters  and son in Massachusetts...I am so glad my husband and I made the decision to move back to MA. And PS...my son is gay, so that is a plus too! 10 years of marriage equality here, and it is all good.



Ira Dorman
Ira Dorman

The Houston press now there is an unbiased news source

andrea_greer
andrea_greer

To Andrew Hernandez: Actually, Houston's backlog of rape kits was wiped out, and it is thanks to Democratic politicians that this happened. 


Sen. Wendy Davis of Ft. Worth, who is currently running for governor, sponsored a bill that required reporting on backlogs so the state would then know how much money it would take to clear them. HPD and the Mayor made sure Houston took advantage of those funds. Those funds, by the way, were the available because of legislation passed by another Houston Democratic politician, Ellen Cohen, when she was a state rep. Cohen is currently serving her 3rd/final term on City Council. 

To all who fret about Texas being a red state: Texas is only a red state, as far as statewide elected officials go, because we have such dismal voter turnout. Really, we're not a red state - TEXAS IS SIMPLY A NON-VOTING STATE. 


There is an easy way to fix this mess we're in--vote this November for Wendy Davis for Governor and Leticia Van de Putte for Lt. Goveror. Pick Steven Brown for RR Commissioner (trust me, it isn't about trains), and Sam Houston - yes, that's really his name, and he's legit - for Attorney General. If you don't want to remember all the names, just vote the straight Democratic ticket. 


There's no shame in voting a straight ticket when the party believes in what you believe in: strategic investment in long-term infrastructure like roads and water; appropriate levels of funding for public education that meet the constitutional requirement Texas sets for funding schools; adequate funding for healthcare that takes advantage of Medicaid expansion so people can afford early, preventive care at lower prices in doctor's offices instead of forcing them into late, expensive crisis care at emergency rooms b/c they couldn't get care sooner. And funding comprehensive, preventive reproductive healthcare so more women and families have access to the full spectrum of reproductive care options without imposing pointless regulations designed to put them out of business. 


It isn't radical stuff - it is a practical and common sense governance that gives citizens a basic level of comprehensive services and gets out of the way so we can all do our thing. 


Action steps if you'd like to turn Texas into a voting state: 


1) Make sure you are registered to vote: votetexas.gov


2) Make sure you've got proper ID


3) Find three other people and make sure they, too, are registered and have propert ID


4) Make a date & go to an early voting location together in October - you can find dates & locations for early voting at harrisvotes.com if you live in Harris County, and you can google to find your county voting guidelines or look on votetexas.gov. 


Andrew Hernandez
Andrew Hernandez

How big is the backlog of rape kits in Houston? Seems like the mayor has higher priorities...

thorwilliams1
thorwilliams1

I agree with jef about the lack of abortion. It has been the most effective means to keep the population of undesirables (poor blacks, Hispanics and a smattering of whites).

Thanks to abortion, there are millions less of blacks in this country.

Terry Brooks
Terry Brooks

A friend of mine, with whom I attended Trinity University in San Antonio,now is a college professor in the Pacific NW. He was back in San Antonio for a wedding, after that he wrote me along letter wondering how I could stand it in this anti science, redneck state that has gotten so much worse since he left. My only answer is "Someone has to stay and fight the good fight". Besides, at least we aren't Dallas............

GlenW
GlenW

Agreed. Somebody help me get the hell out of here.

rasclot123
rasclot123

I'm not sure if any of you people commenting on this site have lived outside of Texas.  Guess what?  It's not really that different.  If all your worried about is your daughter having abortions, feel free to go to one of the largest planned parenthood clinics in the country on 45 south.  Guess what, rape is illegal in all 50 states.  Quit playing the victim before you've been victimized.   If you don't want your daughter raised here, then move.  Don't be surprised when you move to another state and find its pretty much the same one as you left.  Seriously, the most important issue of your life is worrying about where your daughter can have abortions?

Jef Withonef
Jef Withonef

Kermit Gosnell is to Planned Parenthood what Elliot Rodgers is to feminism and gun ownership.

Dana Nutt
Dana Nutt

When I see articles on Facebook that may annoy me I hide them. I don't read them because I know they will piss me off. I love reading the Press mainly for the restaurant reviews and music stuff but I understand that it is a more liberal newspaper so I just don't get involved in the political articles, like this one. I have no idea what Jef wrote but based on the headline I would most likely not agree with what he had to say, so, therefore it is hidden on my page. Simple solution :)

Sean LeBherz
Sean LeBherz

If you're looking to Houston Press for real journalism, well that's your fault.

Brandon Reed
Brandon Reed

Perhaps Chicago or Detroit tickles your fancy, Robyn? Both lovely products of the left. Two words: Kermit Gosnell

Jef Withonef
Jef Withonef

Well, yeah, but it's nice to have it on record ;)

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

LMAO, I can go ahead and safely assume I know her answer to that.

Jef Withonef
Jef Withonef

The mayor rarely responds to my interview requests... only time she did was when I asked her if she liked metal.

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

You're right. It used to be an alternative paper. Nothing alternative about being a mouth piece for the Democratic party though.

Robyn Twangeaux
Robyn Twangeaux

Spot on article. I am so glad my daughter will be a junior next year and she has no desire to stay here. As much as I love my home city and state, if it hasn't started changing in 2 years, I won't be far behind her.

gaijintx
gaijintx

My daughter's 10 now, and as she nears teenager-hood, I keep coming back to exactly what you've hit on above, @JefWithOneF. Which sucks, because I *do* love Texas, and it's been my home for 30 years now; if things get crazier, though, I'm going to have to do what's best for my little girl, and the answer to that increasingly seems to be that we'll need to leave. :(

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

Thanks, enjoy the UFO stories too. I'll just continue to skip the political bullshit. Unless of course you ever want to do a story on how many tax dollars are being pissed away by our current Mayor and her administration and where exactly all the money from our recent population boom is going.

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

I guess those articles aint making it to the Facebook feed then, because I'm not seeing them, only the political stories.

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

Personally I read the Press to read about restaurants, bars, concerts, festivals, FUN things that we all can agree upon. The political partisanship like this is what is ruining this paper. Just my opinion, take it or leave it and continue to see it shrink thinner than the Greensheet.

Jef Withonef
Jef Withonef

Sorry my parental worry is boring you.We could talk about the sport, I guess. What sport do you like to sport?

cocared
cocared

Yeah, leave. It is nice to live in a place where girls grow to be ladies and not taught that "whatever feels right do it". There is a right and a wrong and there is nothing wrong with teaching your children this and having them grow up with a sense if morality, self control and ethics.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

Hi, Thor! How's the racism, big boss man?

hawkeyes00001
hawkeyes00001

Dallas is fine as long as you know where to hang out.


charlierock62
charlierock62

@rasclot123  Spot on. People whine too much. They don't realize how well they have it here in Texas.

davidp070
davidp070

@rasclot123 "Seriously, the most important issue of your life is worrying about where your daughter can have abortions?"

Whether your daughter can exercise her constitutional right to choice.

Whether your daughter will be going to school in a state with good education, or where Taliban Dan and the Texas Dumbfuck Party (aka "GOP") have inserted creationism, climate science denial, and more nonsense into the curriculum.

Whether you live in a state where who your daughter chooses to marry no matter what gender is respected by the law.

Whether you live in a state where dumbasses toting AK-47s roam around scaring people because they can.


Whether you live in a state where your daughter has to wonder, every fucking election, whether Taliban Dan and the Texas Dumbfuck Party will have tried to rig the election system to disenfranchise her yet again.

Want me to continue, Tea Tard?

GlenW
GlenW

Why should I have to move to enjoy the same rights and freedoms as most Americans do?

davidp070
davidp070

"Hi, I'm a stupid twit who should not procreate, because I'm too dumb to even read."

There, rewrote it for you.

thespian69_77098
thespian69_77098

"I have no idea what Jef wrote but based on the headline I would most likely not agree with what he had to say, so, therefore it is hidden on my page. Simple solution."

The best way to educate yourself and strengthen your own position is to understand and educate yourself on the position of your perceived opponent. 

By admitting you don't read something if it makes you emotional, all you have done is allowed anyone reading your comment to justifiably question the credibility of your own position.

davidp070
davidp070

Chicago and Detroit - most of their problems are caused by the legacy of racist redlining practices, totally right wing things. Ghettoize the inner city while all the white folks run off to ring the city in suburbs to avoid paying their fair share in taxes, then complain a lot about how the area they ghettoized with redlining is "bad".

Kermit Gosnell - there is no excuse for that. OTOH: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/publications/terror-from-the-right

And add your favorite tea partier friend Jerad Miller and his wife to that list too.

Anse
Anse

@gaijintx @JefWithOneF I think the line was drawn for me when these idiots started walking around cities with AK-47's strapped to their backs. I can teach my child how to be responsible with her own life, but I can't fathom why anybody would want to live in a place where random jackasses walk around while brandishing military-grade weapons. That's taking the crazy to a new level. I don't want to see that crap walking into the Luby's while I'm trying to enjoy a Luann Platter. If these dopes think they need to conceal-and-carry to shop for groceries, at least they'd be keeping their paranoia to themselves.

davidp070
davidp070

We have to deal with the Texas Dumbfuck Party all over the airwaves, you don't have to read the article if you don't want to, tea turd.

dlspen
dlspen

@cocared I don't know where you're from, but I'm a 7th generation Texan woman.  Like all Texas women, I was raised around guns and know their proper use and safe handling, I was raised to be independent in my thinking and my ability to take care of myself, more than this I was taught to respect myself but not to take myself so seriously that I missed out on the fun that living in Texas has to offer.  Some of that fun involves responsible sex.  People have this warped sense that at sometime in the past "good old days" there was some kind of moral majority.  I've got news for you, it was bullshit.  There were hypocrits just like today.  There have been prudes and liars trying to make everyone like them for thousands of years.  It hasn't worked yet.  Why you ask?  Because we're human.  So go back to your parlors and play your prudish morality games and leave everyone else alone before we Texas ladies decide to start defending our 14th Amendment Rights with our 2nd Amendment Rights.


Anse
Anse

@cocared Dude, I'm pretty sure most of Dan Patrick's family is probably shagging as much as anybody else, teenagers included. I don't know where these religious wackjobs come up with these fantasies. Most of the kids at my high school back in the late 80's/early 90's, including most of the ones who went to my church, were either getting laid or trying like heck. It was the big upshot of going to summer church camp: there were always tons of babes willing to take a little hike in the woods.

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

@cocared How about raising young men to be gentlemen and responsible? Girls don't get pregnant on their own you know.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@cocared Right... cause I made up that unplanned pregnancy statistic. You're doing a fantastic job there, chief. 

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

@Anse @gaijintx @JefWithOneF I agree. I told a pal of mine that if you need to have a weapon on you at all times and/or keep a bunch of weapons in your home, you have some serious mental issues that need addressing. That is the kind of fear pathology that is not healthy at all. I lived, and continue to live, my life in the big city without carrying a gun. I don't feel the need, and even if I did, why display it so openly?

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@Anse @cocared Some people would rather play "Not MY baby girl" rather than go with evidence-based practices. Comprehensive sex ed, easy access to birth control, and raising a daughter to understand that her body belongs to her will lessen the chances of teen pregnancy significantly more than relying on the willpower and decorum of a freakin' 16-year-old against a basic biological prerogative. 

davidp070
davidp070

@charlierock62 Whiney little tea tards should learn to shut the fuck up.

If you don't want to be called a tea tard, don't act like a tea tard.

Crying "waah he insulted me" instead of addressing the actual points is admitting you're a retarded little conservative dumbfuck without an argument to give.

Anse
Anse

@JefWithOneF @Anse @cocared My wife grew up in a considerably more progressive family than I did here in suburban Houston, and when she was 15 and her mom found her with a boy at home and no supervision, they dragged her to the doctor and got her set up with birth control and as much information as was available at the time. Now that I have a daughter I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this when she gets of age, but I do know I'm not going to leave it to the internet and school bathroom gossip. The kids need information. They don't need hypocritical finger-wagging.

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