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:

Health Care

Ken Paxton Wants to Eliminate the ACA’s Pre-Existing Condition Protections. How Would That Affect Texans?

More than a quarter of adults in Texas have a pre-existing condition that could make them unable to get health coverage without the ACA’s requirements.

The stories aren’t hard to find: the young uninsured woman who was hit with a $137,000 bill for brain cancer treatment. The woman whose insurance company delayed paying for surgery while her breast cancer spread. The families that sold their … Read More

Health Care

Judge Blocks Texas’ ‘Near Catastrophic’ Fetal Burial Law

A state law requiring women to bury or cremate fetal remains from miscarriages and abortions has been blocked by a federal judge.

A federal judge blocked Texas’ fetal burial law on Wednesday, writing that the legislation would “likely cause a near catastrophic failure of the healthcare system designed to serve women of childbearing age within the State of Texas.” In a scathing … Read More

Environment

Climate Change is Making Texas Summers Worse. Here’s Who That Hurts the Most.

Outdoor workers and the most vulnerable Texans — the poor, disabled and elderly — are feeling the brunt of this summer’s punishing heat.

Climate Change is Making Texas Summers Worse. Here’s Who That Hurts the Most. Outdoor workers and the most vulnerable Texans — the poor, disabled and elderly — are feeling the brunt of this summer’s punishing heat. – by Sophie Novack, … Read More

Health Care

How Anti-Abortion Activists are Training Their ‘Next Generation of Pro-Life Leaders’

College students descended on Houston to learn how to "convert" their peers to oppose abortion and how to "dismantle" Roe v. Wade.

This summer, nearly 30 college students gathered in Houston for a weeklong summit on how they could be the generation to end abortion in America. One day, after a morning prayer, the students attended a training session held by the … Read More

bun b
Health Care

Professor Trill

Rapper Bun B on Port Arthur, resilience and the meaning of trill.

The Bayou City loves Bernard “Bun B” Freeman so much that he’s been given the title “Houston’s unofficial mayor.” But the Grammy-nominated renaissance man of Texas rap actually hails from Port Arthur, a struggling refinery town 90 miles east. The … Read More

Culture

Documentary Follows a Family’s Fight to Change Texas Law that Turned Brain-Dead Pregnant Woman into an ‘Incubator’

62 Days is meant to bring attention to laws that “punish women and put them in extraordinary circumstances where their choices and autonomy are dismissed,” the filmmaker said.

For 62 days, Marlise Muñoz’s family was forced to watch as her body deteriorated. The 33-year-old paramedic had suffered a pulmonary embolism two days before Thanksgiving in 2013; by the time her husband found her facedown in the kitchen, her … Read More

seton, fetal remains, cemetery
Politics

Three Things the Judge Says He’ll Consider in Ruling on Texas Fetal Burial Law

Of primary concern is whether the law would limit patients’ access to abortion or miscarriage care.

As the weeklong trial over Texas’ fetal burial law wrapped up on Friday, Federal District Judge David Ezra gave a good indication of what he’ll be focusing on in his decision. The plaintiffs — a collection of Texas abortion clinics … Read More

seton, abortion
Health Care

‘Shamed and Stigmatized’: Austin Woman Forced by Hospital to Bury Fetal Remains Testifies Against State Law

Blake Norton, who shared her experience publicly for the first time with the Observer earlier this year, testified in federal court that the forced fetal burial left her “shocked, upset, confused.”

On the first day of the trial over Texas’ fetal burial law, abortion providers had a rejoinder to the claim that they don’t know how patients feel about the requirement: Blake Norton. On Monday, Norton fought back tears as she … Read More

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