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].

Health Care

Who Really Gets Government Benefits In Texas?

It’s already difficult to qualify for Medicaid in Texas. The GOP health care plan would drastically shrink the program.

JOANNA WOJTKOWIAK Texas already has some of the strictest eligibility requirements of any state for poverty relief programs. More than 4 million Texans live in poverty — about 16 percent of the state’s population — but programs such as Medicaid, … Read More

Health Care

How Texas’ Anti-Abortion Lawmakers Win Even While Losing in Court

Senate Bill 8 will likely face a lawsuit this summer. The problem for abortion-rights advocates is that legislation often moves faster than the courts.

“Why don’t we just stop passing unconstitutional laws?” asked an exasperated Representative Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie. He spoke in May as the House debated a sweeping new anti-abortion bill that Governor Greg Abbott has since signed into law. Turner didn’t … Read More

Health Care

Governor Greg Abbott Vetoes Women’s Health Committee Despite Ongoing Crises

Rep. Donna Howard said Abbott’s veto is “disgraceful” and jeopardizes “health and safety of women across the state.”

Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, the highest rate of repeat teen pregnancy in the United States, the highest uninsured rate in the country and an ongoing Zika outbreak that threatens pregnant women. Yet Governor … Read More

Criminal Justice

Texas Bill Could Send People to Jail for Driving a Woman to an Abortion, Lawmaker Says

A sweeping anti-abortion bill leaves prosecutors wide discretion over who is charged for unlawful abortions.

May 26 UPDATE: The Senate accepted House amendments to SB 8 on a vote of 22-9 Friday afternoon. The bill now heads to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk for his signature; pending approval, it will take effect Sept. 1.  Representative Joe Moody, … Read More

Health Care

Texas Is Seeking Trump’s Approval of its Planned Parenthood Ban. Will Other States Follow?

A win for Texas could greenlight other states to kick the women's health provider out of Medicaid programs.

Texas is testing the Trump administration’s antagonism toward Planned Parenthood with a controversial move that could set a path for other states to defund the nation’s leading reproductive health provider. Four years ago, Texas’ vendetta against Planned Parenthood led the … Read More

Health Care

Medical Marijuana Bill Moves Forward After More than Half of the Texas House Signs on

A bill to allow severely ill or disabled patients to use medical cannabis has growing, bipartisan support. But time is running out for passage.

UPDATE: After a big bipartisan push on and off the House floor Friday, Public Health Committee Chair Four Price, R-Amarillo, called an impromptu meeting to vote on HB 2107 just before 5 p.m. The bill passed 7-2, with Price and Representative … Read More