Quote of the Day
Survey Says — A new report shows just how hard it is for Texas women seeking abortion services under the restrictions of HB2, the omnibus abortion bill that just had an appearance in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas released a study on Thursday that measured the impact of HB2, and unsurprisingly, it found that the law made things really, really difficult for women seeking abortion services. “Compared to women whose nearest abortion clinic remained opened, those whose nearest clinic closed were more likely to report traveling long distances, spending more than $100 and other difficulties in accessing abortion,” Reuters reported. This isn’t particularly new information, but it is the most comprehensive study to date of how HB2 is affecting Texans. Of course, reality may be even worse than the study shows. According to Reuters, “the study couldn’t account for women who had so much trouble accessing abortions that they didn’t show up to the clinic.” Also on Thursday, the Dallas Morning News reported that the Department of State Health Services released its own provisional data, which showed that the amount of abortions in 2014 dropped 14 percent from the previous year.
Wild West — Life has been pretty hard lately for Texans of the non-human variety. A freak hail storm sent ice chunks the size of golf balls crashing down on Fort Worth Thursday morning, and the damage done at the city zoo was unimaginably tragic. According to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, “the final death count was five flamingos, a pelican and two smaller birds — an ibis and a baby black-neck swan cygnet.” Unfortunately, the avian deaths were not the only animal casualties in Texas this week. On Tuesday, a fire essentially incinerated Beaumont’s Humane Society shelter, claiming the lives of 74 dogs. A day earlier, Gracie, a tamarin monkey at Galveston’s Moody Gardens, was slaughtered by an ocelot she shared the rainforest exhibit area with. Moody Gardens officials told KHOU that Gracie must have “antagonized” the ocelot, instigating the fatal altercation. Meanwhile, in Houston, an affluent community wants to euthanize a whole bunch of ducks for… well, merely existing in the same place as them (and occasionally ruining some flowerbeds and pooping on front porches). So, why not just move them someplace else? The Houston Press writes: “It’s not allowed under a strange federal wildlife regulation that considers the Muscovy duck both a “protected species” and one that’s under a “control order” because they’ve become invasive.” Thus, the ducks get the death penalty.
Hard Work — The Austin American-Statesman published a deeply reported and fantastically photographed investigation exposing all the disappointing ways the state of Texas fails its farmworkers, who make peanuts while the agriculture industry rakes in billions of dollars. “The farmworkers arrived in the spring of 2013 to harvest green chiles for $8 an hour and the promise of temporary housing in a building near the fields,” the Statesman wrote. “But when they showed up at the farm just south of Van Horn, operated by AJK Enterprises, workers said they had no alternative but to live in nearby shipping containers that lacked screens or ventilation, to shower with a bucket of cold water and to urinate and defecate in the brush.” Sounds horrible, right? Well, it’s easy to believe the state would allow something like that to happen when its Ag Commissioner, Sid Miller, does stuff like billing taxpayers more than a thousand dollars for his flight to Oklahoma to undergo a medical procedure called the “Jesus Shot,” a “controversial but legal medication administered only by a single Oklahoma City-area doctor who claims that it takes away all pain for life.” The Houston Chronicle recently revealed Miller actually did that last year.