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:



by | Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 2:52 pm CST
News, Political Intelligence, The Issue

Hung Out to Dry: Low-Income Houstonians Stuck in Damaged Homes Months After Harvey

Housing advocates say many Houstonians are stuck in unsafe homes and aren't receiving disaster relief from FEMA.

Dorothy Jones stands in her near-empty apartment in Houston and worries that her kids won’t understand why there’s no Christmas tree this year. It’s late December and the living room is bare, save for a baby rocker and a houseplant. … Read More

Health Care

‘A Problem of Political Will’: Why is Texas’ Maternal Mortality Data so Far Behind?

Lawmakers point to the state task force as evidence they’re addressing the maternal death crisis, but its research is six years behind and falling further back.

If current trends continue, by the time the Texas Legislature meets again in 2019, about 800 women will have died since lawmakers began discussing maternal mortality in 2011. A state task force created nearly five years ago to study the … Read More

zika, brownsville, border
Health Care

Bordering on an Outbreak

Brownsville's battle against the Zika virus is compounded by poverty, a fluid border and funding woes.

Brownsville can’t afford a Zika outbreak, but it also can’t afford to prevent one. – by Sophie Novack @SophieNovack December 18, 2017 At the Mary P. Lucio Health Center one July afternoon, Esmeralda Treto gets the news she is hoping … Read More

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