Texas Among the Worst for Gender Equality


Let's talk about gender (in)equality, shall we?

In 2013, the U.S. failed to make the top 10 -- or even the top 20 -- of the World Economic Forum's list of the most gender-equal countries. And we're guessing that little issue is, at least in part, because of the big ol' state of Texas.

A recent study from WalletHub ranked Texas 47 out of all 50 states for gender equity because, according to the data, Texas is near the bottom when it comes to how states treat women.

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UPDATED: Most Texas Abortion Clinics Will NOT Close Next Week

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.

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Numbers of Texas Natives Shrinking as Population Booms

Categories: Texas

For more and more residents, this is becoming true.
As the population of Texas has swelled since the mid 1970s, the number of native Texans has shrunk, according to a fascinating chart from the New York Times blog The Upshot. In their "Where We Came From, State by State" story, charts for every state in the country show the number of people moving in and where they are from. While better than 60 percent of Texas residents were born here -- quite a bit more than states like Arizona and Wyoming -- there has been a steady upswing of non-native Texans for the last 40 years.

Where they come from is even more interesting.

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Texas Has Fastest Average Driving Speed in the Country

Categories: Texas, Traffic

Welcome to Texas!
Setting aside for the moment that Cars.com referred to Texas as the "Longhorn State" (some Texans might fight you over that one), they do paint a picture of the LONE STAR state as a place for wanton speeders in a report about speeding in America. In their report, Texas ranks higher than any other state at 78 mph. Not all that surprising when you consider the 80 mph speed limits on highways, also the highest in the nation.

On the other end of the spectrum were Alaska and the District of Columbia coming in at a modest 55 mph. Of course, in Alaska there are probably more off-roads than roads. And does D.C. even have a freeway?

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Beer at Gun Shows? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Categories: Texas

Photo by Davvi Chrzastek
What's on the menu.
Years ago in Huntsville, Texas just around the corner from my aunt and uncle's house was a convenience store. The sign for this store was something that cracked up my father and I for many years. It read (in all caps): BEER WINE GAS DRUGS AMMO. It is difficult to imagine anyone could want much more than that except food perhaps, but that seems implied. Still, the idea that you could liquor up, gas up and load up at the same store always gave us a little chuckle.

Wisely, the folks who make the laws in this fine state have seen fit for some time now to do whatever they can to separate guns from liquor. While this may be Texas, even we gun totin' cowpokes understand the danger inherent in mixing those two items. That could change, however.

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Cop: If I Go on a Killing Spree, Blame It on "Useless Lazy Turd Bags"

Categories: Texas

Rob Douglas ain't payin' for your bling.
Proving once again that idiots just can't control themselves on Facebook, a Marlin cop has been fired after airing his frustration over welfare recipients, stating "if I ever snap and go on a killing spree, it will be in a supermarket on the first."

Sergeant Rob Douglas was fired for "violating the city's ethics and internet usage policies," according to KWTX. He'd been with the department for five years.

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Courts are Making Interesting Rulings on Abortion Restrictions Similar to Those in Texas

Categories: Texas

Photo by Francisco Montes
Yep, they kind of did.

Texas is most likely on course to enact the last section of the state's stringent abortion laws, forcing all but six of the abortion clinics in Texas to close, but there are interesting goings-on as similar state abortion laws work through the court system.

Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that Mississippi officials couldn't require doctors to obtain hospital admitting privileges. Hospitals have refused to grant those privileges and the move would force the last abortion clinic in Mississippi to close. State officials said women in need of abortions could travel to Tennessee or Louisiana to get them, but that didn't get any traction with the court. In the opinion, written by Reagan appointee Judge E. Grady Jolly, it was stated that requiring women to leave the state just to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion was, go figure, unconstitutional because states aren't allowed to palm off constitutional rights on other states, creating an "undue burden" for women in the state. (Yes, leaving the same court ruled that leaving Mississippi is an undue burden but traveling across Texas is not.)

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State Attacks Whole Women's Health in Battle Over Anti-Abortion Bill

Categories: Texas

Multiple clinics will be forced to close under House Bill 2.
Clinics continue to rail against the state's new abortion law in court, a law that has closed almost half the abortion clinics in Texas through more stringent facilities requirements and required hospital admitting privileges.

Whole Woman's Health has closed clinics in Beaumont, McAllen and Austin since House Bill 2 went into effect, unable to find hospitals willing to grant their doctors admitting privileges or find financing to upgrade facilities to ambulatory surgical centers. The costly ambulatory surgical center requirement, the real kicker in the bill, goes into effect on September 1. Similar requirements whittled Mississippi down to a single abortion clinic.

On the stand today, CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller said efforts to lease or finance an upgraded facility in Austin and Fort Worth had fallen through in the past year. A broker assisting Whole Woman in potential financing in Fort Worth told the clinic chain last week that 15 banks had passed on loans, and no one seemed interested in a short-term lease in hopes of a better bill in the upcoming session.

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World's First Commercial Launchpad Coming to Texas

Photo from SpaceX.com
SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft is super cute in orbit.

It's been a months-long courting process complete with millions of dollars in offered incentives, but private rocket company SpaceX finally gave in to Texas' incessant beckoning to establish the world's first commercial spaceport in Brownsville.

The San Francisco headquartered company has toyed with the idea of planting a launchpad in Texas, and CEO Elon Musk's decision leaves broken hearts in runner-up Cape Canaveral, home of Space Florida.

"We appreciate the support of Gov. Perry and numerous other federal, state and local officials who have partnered with us to make this vision a reality," Musk said in a news release. "In addition to creating hundreds of high tech jobs for the Texas workforce, this site will inspire students, expand the supplier base and attract tourists to the South Texas area."

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[PHOTOS] Stop Patriarchy Protests Outside Harris County GOP Office

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."

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