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:

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

medicaid expansion rally at the capitol in march
Health Care

Texas Has the Highest Uninsured Rate in the Country. Lawmakers Haven’t Addressed it This Session.

Health care advocates were optimistic that the Legislature would do something this year to address high, and rising, uninsured rates; high rates of maternal mortality; and the rural hospital closure crisis.

Texas has the highest overall uninsured rate in the country, the highest rate of uninsured kids and the highest rate of uninsured women of childbearing age. Yet the Legislature is on track to wrap up for the next two years … Read More

Health Care

Texans ‘Will Die’: House Republicans Pass Anti-Planned Parenthood Bill After Emotional Debate

Senate Bill 22 is the latest in the Legislature’s years-long vendetta against Planned Parenthood. Despite the GOP sponsor refusing to debate the bill, it could soon land on the governor’s desk.

With her voice cracking, state Representative Ana-Maria Ramos described her experience of being a struggling teen mom on the Texas House floor on Friday. A mother at 15, she told her colleagues, she didn’t know whether she would eat the … Read More

weed, texas, legalize
Health Care

Texas House Votes to Significantly Expand Medical Marijuana Law

The proposal, which still must pass the more-conservative Senate, would allow doctors to prescribe cannabis to patients who suffer from cancer, autism, PTSD, severe pain and other conditions.

Christy and Mark Zartler consider cannabis to be their daughter’s “rescue medicine.” Kara, 19, has severe autism and cerebral palsy, and has hurt herself — smacking and punching her face and head repeatedly — for more than a decade. Nothing, … Read More

rhonda hart
Health Care

‘Do Something with This Grief’: Mom of Santa Fe Shooting Victim Turns to Politics

Rhonda Hart, a gun reform advocate whose daughter was killed in the Santa Fe High School shooting last May, is running for school board in her bright red Texas district.

by Sophie Novack April 23, 2019 UPDATE: Rhonda Hart lost the school board race on May 4 with 33 percent of the vote, but she continues to advocate for gun violence prevention and says she’s not giving up on politics. … Read More

Health Care

‘Lies into Laws’: Texas House Passes ‘Born Alive’ Anti-Abortion Bill Despite Protest

“The aim of HB 16 is clear: further stigmatize abortion, misinform the public, intimidate physicians and interfere with women’s ability to seek medical care,” said state Representative Donna Howard.

As the Texas House voted on the first anti-abortion bill to make it to the floor this session, advocates rolled down a banner above the board displaying lawmakers’ votes: “STOP TURNING LIES INTO LAWS.” The House gave initial passage to … Read More

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