Sophie Novack

Sophie is the public health reporting fellow at the Observer. She previously covered health care policy and politics at National Journal in Washington, D.C. You can contact her at [email protected].

By Sophie Novack:


Bordering on an Outbreak

by | Mon, Dec 18, 2017 at 8:08 am CST
sexual harassment

No Texas Senator Has Called for the Resignation of Two Colleagues Accused of Sexual Misconduct

The reticence of many to respond strongly against these allegations is likely in part because more senators hold secrets of their own, a political scientist said.

“Bitch, you want to fuck with me tonight?” state Representative Borris Miles allegedly asked a legislative intern in 2013, flashing a wad of cash at her outside a bar in South Austin. “I can tell you’re wearing a thong, is … Read More

Health Care

‘Pressure, Dissuasion, Coercion’: Trump Officials Repeatedly Intervened to Stop Teen Refugees’ Abortions

Government emails show that federal officials intervened to prevent abortions, forced teenage girls to call their parents and sent them to religiously affiliated “crisis pregnancy centers.”

In early March, a minor girl staying in a shelter for undocumented immigrants in Texas run by BCFS, a religiously affiliated nonprofit, convinced a judge to let her get an abortion. State law allows minors to obtain permission from a … Read More

weed, texas, legalize

Klick Bait: Texas Medical Marijuana Facility Honors Conservative Lawmaker with Pot Strain

Representative Stephanie Klick was honored for her work on legalizing medical marijuana for certain patients with epilepsy. But she voted against expanding the legislation for other conditions this session.

On Tuesday night, inside a bland aluminum building in far South Austin, a few dozen people took turns poking their heads into the Honorable Representative Stephanie Klick Vegetation Room. Under bright fluorescent lighting, 64 small marijuana plants — dubbed the … Read More

Health Care

Religious Leaders Gather to Bless Texas Abortion Clinic

Amid pending litigation over anti-abortion laws, local clergy sang songs and prayed at Whole Woman’s Health in Fort Worth in Thursday.

During an hours-long Texas House debate this spring, far-right Representative Matt Schaefer pushed an amendment that would eliminate the fetal abnormality exception to the state ban on abortions after 20 weeks. “Why should a woman be forced to give birth … Read More

Health Care

With Trump Cuts, Obamacare Enrollment is a Volunteer Affair in Rural Texas

In Bastrop County, advocates have about $100 to get the word out to tens of thousands of Texans.

In a back room of the Smithville Public Library, Ginger Redden passes around a donation jar to the volunteers gathered around the conference table. They take turns dropping coins and a few bills into the container, which is labeled “Lucky … Read More

Political Intelligence, Political Intelligence, The Issue

How a Texas Mom Fought to Restore Daughter’s Therapy After State Cuts

Years of legislative funding cuts to therapy for special needs kids has led to interrupted services and changes in behavior for some.

Amanda Crouse watched helplessly as the words began to slip away from her daughter Haylee. It had taken Crouse and a team of therapists months to help Haylee, then 2 years old, learn basic words. And now they were simply … Read More

Activists chant and yell in the Capitol rotunda as the House debates new abortion restrictions.
Health Care

Undocumented Teen Gets Abortion after Weeks of Court Battles, Alleged Abuse

The ruling allowing Doe to get the abortion does not yet change the federal policy that initially blocked her procedure.

An undocumented teen in federal custody was able to get an abortion Wednesday morning after a monthlong legal battle against the Trump administration, which was blocking her from the procedure. Jane Doe, as the 17-year-old from Central America is referred … Read More

Health Care

Attorney: Undocumented Teen Seeking Abortion Faced Abuse at Refugee Shelter

Once the shelter found out she wanted an abortion, staff “harangued” her about the decision, some even asking what she planned to name the baby, the attorney told the Observer.

Before she fled to the United States, Jane Doe, as she’s known in court filings, allegedly watched her parents beat her older sister, who had become pregnant out of wedlock, with firewood and cables until she miscarried. When Doe tried … Read More