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!

FREE ABORTIONS ON DEMAND FOR EVERYONE!

YAY!!!

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.

(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.

HAS NO ONE ELSE HEARD OF GOOGLE SERIOUSLY.

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.

WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE TEA PARTY’S PETS.

“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.

Comments

  1. Robert Ludlow says

    OMFG, a Republican – a Texas state legislator, no less! – who SOUNDS like she cares about life after birth and is not openly blaming victims? Hmm, there must be more to that story. Once she learns a few facts, if they somehow penetrate the bubble, she’ll change her tune and sing along with the misogynist right-wing choir.

    You nailed it again!

  2. says

    Siobhan, I’m pretty sure they have cause and effect aaaaaaall worked out: everything is god’s will, or maybe Satan’s doing, depending (on what I don’t know). After all, people in the party of “personal responsibility” can never be responsible for the misery, death and destruction for which they are indeed personally responsible.

    Robert Ludlow: “there must be more to that story.” Broken clocks, right twice a day? (P.S. nice to see you here!)

    Caine: Me too. I wish I knew the source.

  3. says

    Rant incoming

    It’S not just abortion. Abortion is good and necessary and lowers maternal death*, but it is also the fact that women and other pregnant people are still treated as secondary and afterthoughts to the whole birthing process. While neonatal death is very important, maternal death is somehow just tragic and not something you could actively work against.
    Women’s pain and complaints during birth get dismissed, they’Re not cared for well afterwards.
    Suicide is an important factor in maternal death. It is known that informing women about post partum depression actually lowers the number of cases, but heavens forbid women are not the happiest creatures on earth as long as the baby is healthy. Oh, and if the baby is not healthy, you got to be cheerful or you’re killing the baby.

    *Ireland, for example, happily exports its maternal death to the UK. Women with risky pregnancies will travel there, often later than advisable, and of course not under the care of people who know their medical history, and some of them will die, to which Ireland will answer “see abortion kills women”

  4. rhebel says

    Hey, I pretty much agree with you on everything you post. This included. My wife would be dead if her Catholic psycho parents’ beliefs were the law of the land. Not sure why you felt a need to assail me on Pharyngula. I fear that such retributive actions only disenfranchise many in the freethinking community.

  5. says

    rhebel @7:

    Not sure why you felt a need to assail me on Pharyngula.

    Really. Let us recap, shall we?

    You (presumably) watched a Google hangout between PZ, me and Great America Satan shooting the shit about our blogs and stuff on a Friday night, and proceeded to comment thusly:

    Not understanding why these individuals were invited to FTb but I was not. I am a science educator in f-ing Wisconsin who is a teacher union president, active community member, pro feminist / evolutionist / etc. etc. who tried to be part of the community of FTB when you were recruiting bloggers. This is blatther compared to my everyday experience.

    After enjoying a hearty chuckle at your banal grandiosity—and your frankly piss poor insult to me and my BFF Satan—PZ said this:

    I can tell you why: your application was even shorter than that comment, and provided no examples at all of writing experience, and basically did not pay any attention to the instructions for requested information.

    And then I tried not to pee myself laughing (I just washed these sheets) and wrote this:

    But PZ! rhebel is quite clearly a superior writer and human being to all the substandard blatherers [blattherers?] at FtB, he deserves aaaaaall the cookies. Also: a blog at FtB. Even though he can’t be bothered to follow the simple application guidelines, HE IS THAT SUPERIOR OBVIOUSLY.

    And yeah, I am 99.99% sure he’s a d00d. My Entitlement Meter™ is pegging the high end of comic buffoon—an achievement no woman or minority has ever attained since I bought the damn thing back in the late 90s. See? Superior!

    Sounds about right to me?

    I fear that such retributive actions only disenfranchise many in the freethinking community.

    OMG PEOPLE! I just realized that if we fail to show the proper deference to entitled d00ds—i.e. never, ever call them out on their whiny insults and narcissistic bullshit — they might leave the “freethinking community”!!! AND THEN WHERE WILL WE BE HUH. :o

    rhebel @8 (one hour later):

    How long does moderation last?

    Exactly as long as it takes me to feel like and/or get around to dealing with my moderation queue. Or possibly forever if a comment is tedious enough. *ahem*

    What, did you think this was the comment section of the New York Times or something? Or perhaps I am just not catering to the whims of Your Highness quickly enough. LOL.

  6. Rheb--el says

    So I struggle in my community as a liberal atheist and I find a home online that feels safe. Yet I get lambasted for trying to be proactive. Do you see what you are doing to me and those like me who for the first times in their lives want to reach out to the community they thought they belonged to?

  7. Rheb--el says

    Every day I work to attempt to create a safe, enjoyable space for all of my kids. I have never made anyone feel unwelcome due to their gender identity, race, religion, socioeconomic background, sexuality, etc. My own son has cerebral palsy and has worked harder than you can even imagine to be considered “normal” but you can call me some d00d if you want. I hope to find a place somewhere that will accept me for who I am. Apparently, this is not that place that I hoped it was.

  8. Rheb--el says

    I, the d00d, was the first generation of my family to get a college degree and to escape generational poverty. I have established a foundation to provide families in need, like my own as a child with sustenance during school breaks. I am unable to sleep tonight with the thought of my integrity being questioned. I have many personal demons to deal with, as do we all, but am hoping for some kind of (I dunno) means to feel that I am not being considered a troll or an entitled d00d.

  9. says

    HAHAHA OMFG.

    So I struggle in my community as a liberal atheist and I find a home online that feels safe. Yet I get lambasted for trying to be proactive.

    You are most definitely not being lambasted for “trying to be proactive.” You are being lambasted for being a whiny, entitled shit who belittled me and my fellow blogger, and complained on PZ’s comment thread that we are undeserving of our blogs here compared to you. And now you are attempting to gaslight me? When we can all scroll up and read exactly what you wrote? Tsk-tsk.

    Do you see what you are doing to me and those like me who for the first times in their lives want to reach out to the community they thought they belonged to?

    If this was you “reaching out” to a community you thought you belonged to, you really, really suck at it. What I am doing to you is calling you on your bullshit. That, by the way, is what people in this community expect and actually welcome when we cross a line, so we can reflect, learn and hopefully not fuck up like that again. Of course, this requires some degree of self-awareness and the genuine desire to be held accountable for one’s words and actions, so…good luck with that?

    Every day I work to attempt to create a safe, enjoyable space for all of my kids. I have never made anyone feel unwelcome due to their gender identity, race, religion, socioeconomic background, sexuality, etc. My own son has cerebral palsy and has worked harder than you can even imagine to be considered “normal” but you can call me some d00d if you want. I hope to find a place somewhere that will accept me for who I am. Apparently, this is not that place that I hoped it was.

    Here are your cookies for being a decent human being. I am very sorry to hear of your son’s struggles, but how the fuck is he relevant to this conversation? To me, you are just some d00d, unfortunately the all too typical kind who (ironically enough) insists he’s a special fucking snowflake and demands to be treated accordingly.

    So finally, you try laying a guilt trip on me about being such a big meanie that you’re taking your ball and going home. Along with the gaslighting and insults, this means I’ve now got enough boxes checked to deem you not just whiny and entitled, but abusive and manipulative too.

    Since FtB has been such a bitter disappointment for not throwing you a parade for gracing us with your presence, best wishes for finding a more adoring reception elsewhere. Maybe try Jerry Coyne’s place? I hear there are a lot of special snowflakes over there. Just throw the hashtag #FtBullies around and I’m sure they’ll love you.

  10. Rheb--el says

    Wow. Done. Inclusivity crashed. Completely thought I would get some sort of welcome into the community but have had my self esteem crushed. Thanks for making someone feel like they totally suck as a human. I seriously thought I was reaching out for help to belong.

  11. Rheb--el says

    Please delete all online correspondence. It is too painful as it is. I am not a whiny shit of a human. I am a human, period. And your thread (and mine) show how sad life can be.

  12. Raucous Indignation says

    The rising maternal mortality rates make me so sad and angry. Everything in this country that I know anything about is so fucked up. I now assume all the things I am ignorant of are all as equally fucked.

  13. Raucous Indignation says

    And I was away last week and missed the chance to call Rheebeeel a frothy sulfurous ass weasel. Is there nothing good left in this nation!?

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