UPDATED: Most Texas Abortion Clinics Will NOT Close Next Week

abortioncomeandtakeit.jpg
Photo by Francisco Montes
Texas is working on it.

UPDATE: Yeakel issued his ruling on Friday afternoon, and to the surprise of pretty much no one he struck down the requirement that all abortion clinics be certified ambulatory surgical centers, according to the Texas Tribune. The lawsuit also asked that Yeakel suspend the admitting privileges requirement for two clinics -- Whole Woman's Health in McAllen and Reproductive Services in El Paso -- which were forced to close because of said requirement. Yeakel granted that request, meaning there might just be an abortion clinic option west of San Antonio within the Lone Star State again.

In his ruling, Yeakel said HB 2's ambulatory-surgical-center requirement "burdens Texas women in a way incompatible with the principles of personal freedom and privacy protected by the United States Constitution for the 40 years since Roe v. Wade."

Here's another choice line from Yeakel's decision:

When viewed in the context of the other state-imposed obstacles a woman faces when seeking an abortion in Texas -- including a sonogram requirement, a waiting period, and the reduced number of abortion-performing physicians resulting from the admitting-privilege requirement -- the court is firmly convinced that the State has placed unreasonable obstacles in the path of a woman's ability to obtain a previability abortion. These substantial obstacles have reached a tipping point that threatens to "chip away at the private choice shielded by Roe," Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 952 (2000) (Ginsburg, J., concurring), and effectively reduce or eliminate meaningful access to safe abortion care for a significant, but ultimately unknowable, number of women throughout Texas.

The decision is pretty much gilt-edge guaranteed to be appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, so this is not, most likely, the final word on the matter of HB2. You can read Yeakel's entire ruling at the end of this post.


More »

DA Candidates on Weed: Talking Points Over Data Points

Thumbnail image for Marijuana.jpg
Photo by United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Wikimedia Commons

Though marijuana possession remains a jailable crime in Harris County, the law of the land is shifting toward leniency for offenders. Both contenders in the November race for Harris County District Attorney have presented alternatives to convicting those caught with pot.

DA incumbent Devon Anderson and challenger Kim Ogg agree that the old ways need to change, but they clash on how much. The confusion likely stems from the fact neither candidate has the numbers to back her plan. One lacks a cost-savings analysis, and the other has provided practically useless estimates.

More »

Food Trucks and Restaurants Bump Against Grease, Drugs and Empty Chairs

foodtrucksmall.jpg
Photo by Susan Du
Food truck operators packed city hall for the right to feed the hungry hordes of the downtown and med center.

Let's make Houston a more walkable city, even if people are walking on their way to tacos. Or so went the thinking for dozens who showed up to Wednesday's council committee meeting in support of relaxing regulations for food trucks.

The issues on the line: whether food trucks are allowed to serve in the medical center and downtown areas; whether food trucks need to set up at least 60 feet away from each other and whether they can operate within 100 feet of chairs and tables.

The camps: food truck owners, who swarmed the public comment session, versus the Greater Houston Restaurant Association, which claims brick and mortar eateries are losing business unfairly to the trendy mobile competition.



More »

Houston's Top 5 Extreme Piercers

Categories: Art, Public Health

Title.jpg
Photo by Susan Du
Manon Masson, 19, gets an inner ear piercing at Sacred Heart Studio.

If you ever find yourself sitting in a surgical chair, sweating a little bit because you're about to have a 10 gauge needle shoved through your penis, it might help to know that the piercer has a bottle of sugar tablets in his drawer just in case you get light-headed.

The difference between a professional studio and a corner shop crawling with hepatitis could correlate with the number of stars each establishment earns on Yelp, but another way to tell is by counting how many pairs of latex gloves a piercer snaps on in the course of the job. The good ones should be fanatic about health, have a charming bedside manner and won't shy away from turning you away if you fail to shower before your appointment.

When it comes to pulling off some of the most difficult procedures known to the body modification industry, it also helps if your piercer has a sense of humor and steady hands. Say you want 5K worth of gold rings in your labia. Better research who in Houston already has ample experience doing that before signing up with any punk in a concert parking lot.

Here's the real deal.


More »

Chikungunya-Positive Mosquito Confirmed in Harris County

Aedes_aegypti_CDC.jpg
Photo from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Aedes aegypti, one of two types of mosquito that carry chikungunya, up close and personal.

The Houston area has always been impressively swampy, so of course the first Texas mosquito carrying chikungunya, a disease that causes high fever and severe joint pain, has been found right here in our very own mosquito-plagued backyard.

There have been rumblings about chikungunya in recent months, since the disease was confirmed in the Caribbean last year. Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services confirmed the first Houston-area case back on July 11, and there have been cases confirmed in almost every state of the country, but up until recently, the people with the disease were infected while traveling and then they brought the disease back, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While there have been some locally transmitted cases in Florida, all the rest have been the fancy imported kind.


More »

[PHOTOS] Stop Patriarchy Protests Outside Harris County GOP Office

abortionrallyselect6.jpg
Photos by Aaron Reiss

If the War Against Women is a national battle, Texas is ground zero.

That's according to Sunsara Taylor, a leader of Stop Patriarchy, a movement that is attempting end to the enslavement and degradation of women -- notably when it comes to the right to an abortion and the production of pornography.

"Roe v. Wade began in Texas, and the (pro-life constituency) plan(s) on ending it in Texas," Taylor said. "We came here to stand up against that."


More »

New Mustachioed Taxis Under Legal Pressure Pending City Hall Vote [UPDATED]

MUSTACHEsmall.jpg
Photo from Lyft
Lyft's trademark pink mustache marks ordinary cars as providers of a peer-to-peer ridesharing service that traditional taxi companies call "cheating."
Updated 7/3: This story has been updated with info from a Lyft spokesperson.

Alternative West Coast taxi companies Lyft and Uber have finally deployed in Houston with the reputation of establishing dozens of successful operations throughout the country -- and warding off ample legal protest from local cabbies.

Houston City Council members will weigh criticism from traditional Houston taxi companies summarized in an April lawsuit against Uber and Lyft, in which a long list of transportation services accused the competition of illegally operating uninsured vehicles for hire without obtaining licenses, paying attending fees and charging regular rates.

Lyft and Uber both carry liability insurance of $1 million per incident.

For customers, the trade-off for the security of riding with a licensed driver is simple: cheaper service.

More »

Free Hotline for Houston Area If You're Feeling Sick and Don't Know What to Do

Categories: Public Health

nursehotline.jpg
Photo by COD Newsroom
A nursing hotline for the Houston area gives out general nursing help, for free.
We've only known of nurse help lines as part of a fancy insurance plan. But did you know that thanks to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, there's a free non-emergency you can call?

It's basically an advice and evaluation hotline staffed 24 hours a day, all week. "The Nurse Health Line features bilingual staff and language interpreters who are a valuable source of reliable and caring health information, education, and support," according to a statement about the hotline. The program is also supported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

We figure that if you wake up some night with hot sweats, your stomach bubbling and you know you didn't have seafood during the day, this might be a good number to call to get sorted.

More »

Mobile Medical Unit Gets Trial Run in Houston

Categories: Public Health

strokepatient.jpg
Memorial Hermann-TMC
Maureen Osaka was the first stroke patient saved by a new stroke mobile partially paid for by Mattress Mac.
Blood clots in the brain are some scary business. Luckily, we now have what's been called "the first" mobile stroke unit in the nation in operation since late last month. It has some fancy equipment, but most important, it has people on board who can administer tPA, the clot-busting medication known as tissue plasminogen activator.

So, what's it like to have a stroke?

Maureen Osaka explains in a statement from Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center:

"I felt so weak, I couldn't use my hand and I was so dizzy," said Osaka. "I couldn't stand up so I started crawling from the living room to my bedroom, thinking I was going to lie down and go to sleep to hopefully feel better - I didn't know what was going on. But before I could make it to my room, the whole left side of my body stopped working and I could no longer see, so I made it to the phone and blindly started dialing the only numbers I knew."

Osaka was one of the unit's first patients when it was dispatched downtown.

More »

Beachgoers Reminded About Deadly Stretch

Categories: Public Health

CoastGuardphoto2014.jpg
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Stephen Lehmann
Coast Guard rescue swimmers dropped onto the beach this weekend to warm beach goers about the waters in San Luis Pass.
There have been a number of drownings near San Luis Pass. The strait is located at the southwestern tip of Galveston Island, and has taken on a reputation as a deadly spot for swimmers.

Not because of Jaws or anything, but because of the dangerous rip currents and sudden drop-offs.



More »

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...