Sophie Novack

Sophie Novack is a staff writer at the Observer covering public health. 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:

Anti-abortion supporters gather around the Texas Capitol during a Texas Rally for Life, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Austin, Texas.
Health Care

Some Small Texas Towns Are Declaring Themselves ‘Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn’

Frustrated with the Legislature, Texas city officials are taking on abortion rights through local policy measures.

Update, September 25, 2019: This story, originally published on September 18, 2019, has been updated to reflect news that additional towns have passed citywide abortion bans. When it comes to the Texas Legislature’s actions on abortion restrictions this year, virtually … Read More

Books

American Health Care is Broken, Especially in Texas. What Can We Do About It?

Physician Marty Makary’s new book shows how sky-high medical bills can ruin patients’ lives—but puts the burden on individuals to demand change.

Add yet another first place health care ranking no one wants for Texas: We have the highest hospital bills in the country.  A new study has found that Texas prices (before insurance) were on average 6.4 times higher than the … Read More

Lavinia Masters at her home in Lewisville.
Health Care

Thousands of Rape Kits in Texas Went Untested For Years. Lavinia Masters Is Ending That.

The Lavinia Masters Act, which goes into effect in September, is the culmination of more than ten years of Masters’ advocacy in Texas, where a backlog of about 20,000 untested rape kits was identified in 2011.

Lavinia Masters was 13 years old when a stranger raped her at knifepoint in her Dallas bedroom. For more than two decades, her rape kit—the evidence collected in a hospital after the assault on July 31, 1985—sat untested. By the … Read More

Christian and Jewish faith leaders join in a prayer circle at the Whole Woman's Health clinic blessing in July.
Health Care

‘My Congregation Trusts Women’: Progressive Faith Groups Counter Anti-Abortion Narratives

Conservative Texas groups and lawmakers have cited their faith to back abortion restrictions, but polling shows that majorities across many religions actually support abortion rights.

On a scorching afternoon in mid-July, clergy members gathered outside a small unmarked building tucked away in a business complex in North Austin. They filed inside, up the stairs, and into the waiting room of the Whole Woman’s Health abortion … Read More

Carol Everett.
Health Care

A Texas Anti-Abortion Group Dramatically Missed its Family Planning Targets. Now its Founder is Suing the Federal Government for More Money.

Vita Nuova doesn’t appear to exist beyond its paper filing, but it is suing to get Title X funding in a hypothetical future in which it is ineligible for said funding.

Anti-abortion activist Carol Everett—whose organization the Heidi Group served a fraction of the women’s health patients it pledged to treat and is under state investigation for questionable spending of more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars—has a new venture. She’s … Read More

A migrant mother speaks to her 3-year-old boy at Good Neighbor Settlement House Inc. Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in Brownsville, Texas, after being released from a local detention center and arriving at the shelter for assistance. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP)
Border

The Trauma of Teen Mothers Held in Border Patrol Lockups

“My baby has not eaten a full meal in 15 days. I am very worried and don't know what to do,” said a 16-year-old from El Salvador.

On May 28, Border Patrol picked up a 16-year-old Honduran girl who had crossed the Rio Grande with her 8 month-old-infant, and sent the young mother and her child to a border processing center in Texas dubbed the perrera (dog … Read More

Members convinced the Texas GOP to adopt outlawing abortion, regardless of federal law, as part of the official party platform in 2016.
Health Care

Meet the ‘Abortion Abolitionists’ Shaping Policy in the Texas GOP

The most extreme anti-abortion group in the state has gained momentum this year and now claims to have 90,000 members.

With the far right ascendant in Texas politics, once-marginal ideas and people have found a place in the political mainstream. Our recurring Fringe Factor series is an introduction to the often-unknown, but influential activists, thinkers and operatives who play a … Read More

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