Sure, Most Abortion Clinics in Texas Have Closed. But There Are Still Plenty of Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Texas made a completely, totally unbiased "information"manuel, and boy do crisis pregnancy centers use it.

Half of the abortion clinics in Texas closed last year and all but eight or less were summarily forced to shutter after a panel of judges from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that House Bill 2, the state law restricting (or as some like to claim "regulating") abortion clinics, could go into effect last Thursday. Right now there isn't an abortion clinic west or south of San Antonio and more than 900,000 women pretty much don't have access to an abortion provider.

But never fear. Crisis pregnancy centers are still going strong. There are only two abortion clinics left open in Houston alone but there are more than six crisis pregnancy centers in the area and dozens of CPCs in Texas. Here's a little information about the centers, just in case you ever stumble inside one hoping to evaluate your options (like abortion) during a "crisis pregnancy."

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Fifth Circuit Ruling Shutters Most of Texas's Abortion Clinics

Photo by Francisco Montes
They did, mostly.

More than a dozen abortion clinics in Texas won't reopen tomorrow.

The federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling Thursday afternoon allowing state officials to immediately begin enforcing the second part of House Bill 2 (the one that state Sen. Wendy Davis famously filibustered against) while it fights to overturn U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel's ruling that the law is unconstitutional. That means that Texas, a state of 26 million people, now only has 8 or fewer abortion clinics since most of the state's providers can't afford to comply with HB2's key provision requiring clinics to make costly upgrades to meet the standards of hospital-like surgical centers.

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UPDATED Ebola Reaches Texas: CDC Officials Confirm First U.S. Case in Dallas

Transmission electron micrograph of the Ebola virus
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Update: 2:35 p.m. October 1
Update: On Wednesday afternoon Gov. Rick Perry announced that five children who attend Dallas schools had contact with the Dallas Ebola patient and are being monitored at home for any signs of the disease.

However, Perry used the press conference held at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to caution Texans to stay calm. "The disease cannot be transmitted before having any symptoms," he said. "This is a disease that is not airborne and is substantially more difficult to contract than the common cold."

Plus, he noted, Texas is ready to handle this. "There are few places in the world better equipped to meet the challenge that is posed by this case," he said. "Professionals on every level of the chain of command know what to do to minimize this potential risk to the people of Texas and to this country for that matter."

Original story:
On Tuesday afternoon, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health workers announced that Texas is home to the first case of Ebola confirmed in the United States.

At a news conference in Atlanta CDC director Tom Frieden downplayed widespread fears that the disease, which has already infected some 6,500 and killed over 3,000 people in West Africa, could reach epidemic levels in this country. The patient, who has not been identified, traveled from Liberia to visit family in Dallas earlier this month, officials confirmed. The man boarded a flight to the United States September 19, landed September 20, and first started to develop symptoms around the 24th, Frieden said.

The man was apparently first taken to Dallas' Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on September 26, but he was sent home with antibiotics. "[H]e returned in an ambulance to Texas Health Presbyterian two days later and was admitted," Bloomberg reports. He's now in intensive care at Dallas' Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, according to officials, who say they're working to track down and monitor anyone who had close contact with the man.

As news continues to break on the first confirmed Ebola case in the country, here are a few things you might want to know.

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5 Texas Murderabilia Items: Charles Whitman's Gun Isn't Even the Creepiest Thing on the List

Categories: Crime, Texas

A listing for the Remington 700 rifle wielded by Charles Whitman during the 1966 UT shooting
People are oddly fascinated with horrible happenings. We get it. Some want to see the evidence and make contact with people who perpetrated the crimes. But it's still stunning to see the gun Charles Whitman used at the University of Texas Tower shootings up for auction. That is, until we saw all of the other strange, ghoulish bits of Texas murderabilia that have been sold over time.

A number of items connected in one way or another to brutal and gruesome doings in the Lone Star State have made their way from sellers to buyers. Odd (and a trifle sickening) but true. We've put together a list of five of the more disturbing Texas murderabilia items that have ended up on the market:

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Texas Will Rake in the Green if It Legalizes Marijuana

Categories: Texas

Photo by Mike Bagby

To legalize or not to legalize? That is the question voters in Alaska, Florida, Oregon and Washington D.C. will be deciding come November. Meanwhile, Texas is a long way off from getting into the whole recreational marijuana game. However, all hope is not lost (if you're one of those in favor of it), because one of the best arguments in favor of letting everybody light up all nice and legal in the Lone Star State was just quantified and released in a study.

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8 Surprising Crimes on the Books in Texas

Mary Harrsch
That better be your cow, or else you're lookin at hard time, dude..
We've all heard about the arcane laws that somehow still survive on the books. Hell, the fifth graph of the Texas Constitution says you can't hold office unless you "acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being."

This isn't a post about those types of strange-yet-unenforced laws. Under Supreme Court precedent, atheist politicians can hold office, even though they'd probably still have a tough time getting elected in many pockets of the state. While it should embarrass state lawmakers that they still haven't stripped "homosexual conduct" from the Texas Penal Code, the "offense" has been unenforceable since the landmark case Lawrence v. Texas, which invalidated so-called sodomy laws across the country in 2003. Texas' "obscene device" law made it a crime to own six or more dildos until it was struck down by a federal appeals court in 2008 (reminder: Attorney General Greg Abbot, the frontrunner for governor, totally fought to reinstate the six-dildo ban).

No, these are crimes lifted from the Texas Department of Public Safety's most recent offense list that we had no idea carried possible jail time in the Lone Star State. Some we totally get (anyone who commits number No. 4 is a real scumbag). Others we found a bit more surprising.

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Houston Cop Tells Senate Committee, "We Are Not the NSA," Argues Against Cell-Phone Privacy Protections

Categories: Tech, Texas

flickr user ario

UPDATE September 23, 2014: Days after this story went up on our website, a story came to light about a special machine that HPD has that can steal your phone data. ACLU experts have testified on a state level about the device. HPD doesn't have much to say about it.

Houston police officer James Taylor really wants you to know one thing about local cops: HPD is not the National Security Agency, "nor are we the federal government."

Taylor repeated the mantra several times in testimony before the Texas Senate's State Affairs Committee this week, insisting efforts to limit cops' access to cell-phone location data will - and, in fact, already has - fatally hamstrung the efforts of local police. Whether you believe that depends on how you read a dizzying, hatchet-job law that lawmakers updated last session and whether you think such "metadata" - call log information, location data, and other records - is inherently sensitive and deserving of strict safeguards against police snooping.

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UPDATED Texas Oil and Gas Regulators Warn of Russian Conspiracy to Fund Anti-Frackers

Categories: Texas, Whatever

On repeat at the Texas Railroad Commission
We've updated the end of this post to include a statement from Gasland writer/director Josh Fox.

The drilling revolution brought on by hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" - the process of shooting millions of gallons of chemical- and sand-laden water underground to coax oil and gas out of massive shale formations - has led to a long, serious debate in Texas. What that debate has largely been about: faucets that catch fire; methods for disposing of drilling waste that seem to cause earthquakes; a process that sucks up vast amounts of water in drought-stricken areas; and air-fouling pollutants that have accompanied the drilling boom.

What that debate hasn't been about: Russia. That is, unless you're Texas Railroad commissioners David Porter and Barry Smitherman.

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Does the Wendy Davis Book Tour Count As Campaigning? Does It Matter?

Photo by Allison Hess
She'll be doing less of this while she promotes that book.

State Sen. Wendy Davis stopped campaigning for governor this week. You'd think that her Republican opponent, Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott, would be thrilled, but Abbott is thoroughly unenthusiastic about the move. Why? Well, Davis is taking a break from her campaign to promote her new book, Forgetting to Be Afraid.

And since she called a timeout and everything, she has been utterly focused on making sure people want to buy her book. Totally. She definitely was not trying to persuade Texas voters to consider her when she popped up on Good Morning America on Monday. She is not reminding the general population of the Lone Star State about her stance on abortion -- and those famous neon pink running shoes -- when she talks openly and honestly about the two abortions she chose to have (for medical reasons).

The fact that this book has made Davis's campaign front-page news, and given her some of the best coverage she's had since the filibuster that rocketed her to political stardom last year, is just a big old coincidence, not a clever bit of political maneuvering. Nope, she's just promoting her book, y'all. Nothing to see here.

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The Tea Party Does Not Love Rick Perry


Gov. Rick Perry has been a bit of a conservative darling of late. Yep, the Republicans have rallied round the man after he was indicted for corruption charges a few weeks back. It was a touching moment of unity in a party that has been remarkably divided in recent years.

Well, that's all over or now. It turns out the guy with the most presidential hair in politics still - unsurprisingly, in a bit of stunning optimism - wants to be president. He's gunning for a 2016 White House run and he is duly putting together a team to turn those Commander-in-chief dreams into reality (with fewer "oops" moments this time, we assume.)

To do so he has hired three, shall we say, controversial figures. It doesn't seem to take much to anger ye olde Tea Party people these days, but Perry couldn't have done a better job if he'd tried. He hired former President Bill Clinton aide Mark Fabiani for his legal team. He also hired former McCain-Palin campaign consultant Steve Schmidt (who has sounded off his thoughts on Sarah Palin, and said thoughts aren't exactly positive.) And then, for the piece de resistance (or coup de grace depending on your viewpoint) he hired Henry Barbour.

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