Women’s Health

Capital Tonight: Fight over women’s health returns to Capitol

It was supposed to be a routine hearing, but the debate over women’s health services drew dozens of demonstrators to the Capitol Thursday for a committee meeting on state health services.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we heard how health officials are evaluating changes to women’s health programs, and how lawmakers and activists are hoping to influence the conversation.


The race to be the state’s top accountant is going full speed ahead. Republican comptroller candidate Sen. Glenn Hegar joined us to talk about financial transparency, spending reform and more.


Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi weighed in on the national attention surrounding gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, following his decision to bring outspoken musician Ted Nugent along on the campaign trail.

Capital Tonight: Sen. Van De Putte speaks up

From the south steps to the halls of the Capitol, thousands got involved in Texas politics this week. Jay Root with the Texas Tribune, Ben Philpott with KUT’s “Agenda Texas,” and Terrence Stutz with The Dallas Morning News joined us to talk about the week that was.

Although Sen. Wendy Davis was in the spotlight for her filibuster last week, another lawmaker is also getting credit for stirring the gallery with her comments from the floor. We sat down with Sen. Leticia Van de Putte for a one-on-one interview.

Capital Tonight: Controversial committee hearings overshadow redistricting vote

Busy Thursday

Minutes after capping off a nearly six-hour debate on redistricting, many House lawmakers marched off to tackle even more contentious issues.

The House State Affairs Committee saw more than 400 people line up to testify on a list of abortion bills, including one that would ban abortion after 20 weeks. At the same time, the House Appropriations Committee considered Rep. Sylvester Turner’s plan to override the governor’s veto of Public Integrity Unit funding.

Regent Impeachment?

A high-ranking House member is making a move to impeach one of the UT regents, and it appears to have some support. Our Capital Commentators weighed in on that and more.

New Poll Numbers

Plus, James Henson of the Texas Politics Project joined us to talk about the latest poll numbers on abortion laws in Texas. Click the image below to hear more.

Capital Tonight: Adding up changes to education law

Back to School

The state’s school finance problems were back before a court Wednesday, this time over changes both sides agree need to be included as evidence.

That evidence includes the $3.4 billion in funding restored this session, on top of numerous changes to testing and graduation requirements. District Judge John Dietz has set a new date to take state lawmakers’ changes into account. In Wednesday’s episode, we looked at what to expect from the trial.

Abortion Bills

Abortion law in Texas could be changed drastically if a new Senate bill makes it to the governor’s desk. We spoke to Whole Woman’s Health, a licensed abortion clinic in Austin, to find out what the changes mean.

Immigration Backtrack

Plus, a key player on immigration reform in Washington says he’s thinking of backing out.

Click the image below to see why Congressman John Carter says he has serious concerns with an immigration reform bill he helped draft.

Capital Tonight: Abortion bills trigger fierce Senate debate

Fighting for Funding

Just days after Gov. Rick Perry’s veto stripped state funding for the Travis County’s Public Integrity Unit, District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg made her first public appearance since a high-profile DWI arrest.

She’s asking the county to help close the $7.5 million funding gap, and making it clear that she has no plans to resign.

In Tuesday’s show, we heard more from Lehmberg, plus commentary from attorney Kerry O’Brien, who has been a prominent voice in calling for her resignation.

Abortion Debate

The Senate took up the governor’s special session call to pass legislation that would further restrict abortion in the state Tuesday. Among the bill’s most controversial components was a measure known as the fetal pain bill, which would block abortions after 20 weeks. The bill’s author, Sen. Glenn Hegar, eventually agreed to withdraw the measure, saying he believes taking it out is the most practical way lawmakers can enhance the quality of care while protecting life with the amount of time left in the session.

Capital Commentators

Plus, our Capital Commentators weighed in on the ongoing battle over the Public Integrity Unit, along with the rest of the day’s political news.

Capital Tonight: Debating Medicaid expansion

Hundreds of activists rallied outside the Texas Capitol Thursday, as part of Planned Parenthood lobbying day.

This year’s efforts had particular urgency, now that the organization has been cut out of the state’s Women’s Health Program. A bill making its way through the House aims to reverse that decision and bring back federal and state funding.


Debating Medicaid

Another question looming the 83rd Legislative Session is this: Should Texas expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act?

Proponents say it would pull down billions in federal dollars to help the uninsured. Critics, including the governor, say it forces Texas to spend too much money on a program that needs serious reform.

We spoke to John Davidson from the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Anne Dunkleberg from the Center for Public Policy Priorities about the research behind the debate.

After the filibuster

Sen. Rand Paul’s nearly 13-hour filibuster Wednesday made national headlines. It also resulted in a new bill, proposed by Sen. Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, that would explicitly outlaw a drone killing on U.S. soil of an American citizen who doesn’t represent an imminent threat. 

Our Capital Commentators weighed in on the significance of the filibuster and the proposed bill.

Click the image below to watch Thursday’s full episode.

Capital Tonight: Guns, teachers and women’s health

Lawmakers took an early weekend, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of big news in Texas politics.


After a full day in court, a Texas judge denied Planned Parenthood’s request to rejoin the state’s Women’s Health Program. This was just the latest go-round in court for the nonprofit, which hasn’t been receiving any state funding since the New Year as a result of action lawmakers took last session.

Earlier in the day, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made waves by calling for gun a training program for Texas teachers. Speaking at a Texas Public Policy Foundation luncheon, he suggested school districts could opt in to the program, and choose which faculty members would be armed. He stressed that state funding would be necessary, because standard training for a conceal-and-carry license would not be sufficient.

“As someone who’s on his third renewal of my concealed handgun license in Texas, but has gone through the USA’s Air Force in weapons training, and I was in the CIA, and I was posted abroad, and I’ve gone through extensive weapons training — 8 hours of instruction and two hours on the range is not sufficient.”



The biggest class of freshman Representatives in decades has descended on the State Capitol — 41 to be exact. Over the next five months, we’re going to be taking a closer look at what kind of mark they’re making. This week, we talk to Republican Rep. Jason Villalba.  


We also heard from the Dallas Morning News’s Christy Hoppe  and  Corrie MacLaggan with Reuters, Plus KUT’s Ben Philpott as part of our new Reporter Roundtable segment.
Click the link below to view the entire episode online.


Planned Parenthood loses appeal

Planned Parenthood today lost its latest appeal in its fight to receive state funding as part of the Women’s Health Program.  State District Judge Steve Yelenosky said he denied the injunction because Planned Parenthood would likely lost at trial. 

In a statement, Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek applauded the ruling, saying:

“This allows us to continue to provide important family planning and preventive care to low-income women and fully enforce state law. We’ve got the Texas Women’s Health Program up and running, and we’ll continue to provide help to any woman who needs to find a new doctor or clinic.”

Planned Parenthood resumes court battle

Planned Parenthood is resuming its fight to be included in the Texas Woman’s Health Program.  Attorneys are back in court today to ask a judge to issue an injunction, clearing the way for Planned Parenthood to receive state funding.

Planned Parenthood was cut out of the program on January 1.  At issue is state law banning clinics affiliated with abortion providers from receiving taxpayer money – even if the clinics themselves do not provide abortions.  As a result of the state’s so-called ‘affiliate ban rule,’ Texas lost federal funding for women’s health care.  Instead, the state is moving forward with its own self-funded program.

Planned Parenthood sued, claiming the new rule violates state and federal law and discriminates against health care providers.

Last month, a Travis County District Judge turned down Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary restraining order; clearing the way for the Health and Human Services Commission to cut off funding.  Today, Planned Parenthood is asking for a permanent injunction banning the state from excluding it from the program until a trial can be held.