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:


Driving My Life Away

by | Wed, Aug 28, 2019 at 6:00 am CST
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)

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