News from the Texas Republic of Gilead.

Via AP:

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lawmakers in Texas largely failed to take any significant action to address the state’s skyrocketing rate of pregnancy-related deaths just months after researchers found it to be the highest in not only the U.S., but the developed world.

Conservatives are pro-life, everyone. FYI.

Legislators introduced proposals to address the issue after a University of Maryland-led study found that the state’s maternal mortality rate doubled between 2010 and 2012. But several key measures didn’t even make it to a vote, falling victim to Republican infighting over other issues.

There are “other issues” more important in Texas than women dying unnecessarily, you see.

“We had a chance to move the needle and we really failed to do so,” said state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, a Republican from the town of Brenham, west of Houston.

I have a helpful suggestion as to where Texas Republicans can put that needle. But I am disinclined to mention it, lest I give them any ideas for causing even more unnecessary harm to pregnant women.

“Certainly, as we develop in medicine, we can do better to take care of women in today’s society versus past societies. I’m very disappointed.”

OMG a Republican just said a true thing! Yes, Senator Kolkhorst! Due precisely to developments in modern medicine, here in the US (except Texas, apparently) women having safe, legal abortions are 14 times less likely to die than women giving birth!



Oh, wait. That’s not what you meant, is it. You meant forcing women to remain pregnant without their consent, but with better outcomes and not so much, you know, all that pesky unnecessary dying and whatnot. I wonder how you will force them to cut that out?

Well, good luck with that.

Because this year’s session has ended, lawmakers will have to wait until they reconvene in 2019 to address the issue.

The Texas Legislature meets only in odd-numbered years. I wonder how many women will die there unnecessarily between now and then?

Kolkhorst introduced a measure with wide support that would have extended the life of Texas’ maternal mortality task force to 2023 from its current 2019 end date, allowing the committee of doctors and behavioral specialists to analyze more closely the specific causes of pregnancy-related deaths.

The task force formed in 2013 to study and combat what state lawmakers already perceived as a rising maternal mortality rate.

Yes that’s right: the Texas legislature needs a full ten years to figure out why pregnancy related deaths are skyrocketing in Texas. I guess it makes sense now that I think about it, given the appalling state of its public education system. I, on the other hand, am obviously a freaking genius, because I found the answer to this vexing conundrum in only 0.95 seconds! Via Google:

Here Are the Texas Abortion Clinics That Have Closed Since 2013

Each circle represents a city — the number of open abortion clinics is within the circle.

Texas Abortion_clinic_map2_jpg_800x1000_q100

(image: Ryan Murphy for The Texas Tribune)

You’re welcome, Texas legislature!

Then last summer, the University of Maryland study found that Texas had the highest maternal mortality rate in the U.S. The study also found that the U.S. rate was higher than all other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries reporting maternal mortality data, except for Mexico. That study offered no explanation for the reason.


Further research would help understand, “is it hemorrhaging, is it post-partum depression, is it aftercare?” said Kolkhorst. “Are there things we could do pre-birth that would help with post-birth?”

Note the underlying assumption that birth must occur.

I disrespectfully disagree.


The extension of the task force is “vital for us to be able to understand the causes and preventive measures” of so many Texas mothers’ fatalities, said Lisa Hollier, the task force’s chairwoman.

Hey Lisa Hollier, what’s your email? I want to send you a helpful map I found on this obscure resource called “Google.” Oh FFS, you haven’t even heard of email, have you.

“The detailed case reviews we are doing are essential to understanding the actual causes of death,” said Hollier, explaining that even though her committee has found that cardiac problems are a leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths, that alone “doesn’t lead to specific information for appropriate intervention programs.”

Ooh! Ooh! You mean things like early interventions for pregnancy-related problems discovered at all those plentiful, well-funded, comprehensive women’s health clinics all across the state of Texas? Awesome. :D

Of course the racial disparity in unnecessary pregnancy-related deaths should surprise no one, and should enrage and disgust everyone.

State Rep. Shawn Thierry sought to look into one particularly disturbing trend that the Texas task force had found: Black women make up 11 percent of births, but 28 percent of death. Thierry, a Democrat from Houston, wanted to compare the risk of black women in different income brackets.

But Thierry’s bill — which was backed by the Texas Medical Association and American Heart Association — died along with a parade of other proposals after tea party-backed lawmakers, protesting a lack of movement of their own pet issues, used a House procedural maneuver to kill every bill on a legislative calendar that wasn’t supposed to generate debate.


“We haven’t done enough,” Thierry said.

Unfortunately, Rep. Thierry, your colleagues have already done more than enough.

Abortion-rights supporters have put at least some blame on strict state requirements for abortion clinics that prompted closures, though supporters of such laws say they protect women.

Hey AP: did such laws in fact protect all those unnecessarily dead women? Or are the supporters such laws actually lying liars who lie? Maybe the Texas legislature can figure that one out for you. By 2023.

“When you do things like making access to abortions almost impossible, the impact that’s going to have on our states most vulnerable population is worse and worse,” said Marsha Jones, executive director of the Afiya Center, a reproductive justice organization founded by and for black women in Texas.

This Marsha Jones person of the Afiya Center is making an awful lot of sense. My guess is she was probably educated somewhere outside of Texas, in a state where conservatives haven’t already destroyed everything including the very lives of the most vulnerable women there—yet.

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