The State Of Texas Thinks You Can Get A Pap Smear At An Endoscopy Clinic

I’m jumping on the wheezing Hay Ladies! here to show that despite the blog’s superlag, I have in no way given up on writing about feminism and women’s rights in Texas. To the contrary, I’m doing more work for, which includes the incredibly depressing and tedious job of calling out the State of Texas on the ever-growing amounts of bullshit they’re trying to sell to women.

If you were at the Texas Women’s Health Program meeting on Tuesday at DSHS, you probably saw anti-choice shill Abby Johnson trot out a list of what she said were 181 alternatives to Planned Parenthood in Austin, should the health care group be kicked out of participating in the TWHP. I called the providers on that list. One of them was an endoscopy clinic. Turns out, they don’t do pap smears at endoscopy clinics. Surprise.

Posted in abortion, activism, austin, feminism, legal issues, news, politics, socioeconomics | 2 Comments

Not Feminist, Just Exciting: H&M Will Open In Austin Fall 2012

Some excellent news just came on this otherwise horrible-news morning: just got a press release from the H&M people, and they’re going to make an honest city out of Austin this fall.

I’m just gonna copy and paste the press release.

H&M, Hennes & Mauritz, the global retailer known for offering fashion-forward apparel and quality basics, is thrilled to announce its continued expansion in the great state of Texas by opening its first store in Austin. Set to open in fall 2012, H&M will debut in the state’s capital at The Domain, Austin’s premier upscale retail, business and residential center.

 “H&M is committed to opening new stores in the best locations throughout the entire country,” says Daniel Kulle, U.S. President for H&M. “We are excited to finally offer local Austin shoppers access to our high fashion, quality collections.”  H&M will occupy about 24,000 square feet of the approximately 1.3 million square foot upscale center. This fantastic new location will offer collections for ladies, men, young ladies and young men, with separate “store within store” sections for accessories, maternity and lingerie. H&M at The Domain will also carry the Swedish retailer’s fantastic children’s collection, which features quality clothing for newborn up to kids age eight.

Since H&M opened its first store on New York’s Fifth Avenue twelve years ago, the U.S. has been one of the retailer’s most important markets. With its emphasis on expansion, H&M continually seeks out the best properties and locations for its customers. Now offering U.S. consumers access to quality fashions at the best prices through 245 locations across the country (6 of which are located within the state of Texas), the retailer is excited to debut in yet another fantastic market. Internationally, H&M has more than 2,500 stores in 44 markets around the world.


Posted in austin, fashion | Leave a comment

Rick Perry’s PPACA Rejection: But what does it all mean!?

As of Monday, Rick Perry wouldn’t like gazillions of dollars in federal funding to alleviate the fact that 25% of Texans–the highest percentage of people in any state–are without health insurance. In a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius (which you can read here), Perry rejected two major tenets of health care reform: the expansion of Medicaid and state health insurance exchanges. Perry’s stance is straight-up ignorant at best and downright malevolent at worst.

Hoping to find out that there was some reasonable thought behind Perry’s letter–beyond conservative political posturing for the benefit of an increasingly batshit right-wing base–I interviewed health policy experts for this RH Reality Check piece. Guess what I didn’t find.

An excerpt with quotes from Elena Marks at Rice University:

“I’m sorry that we Texans who know the Texas population and health care needs and provider community the best will not be the ones designing the exchange and all the things that go with it,” said Marks. As for the Medicaid expansion, she said it’s simply good public policy to accept the federal money — not least because of the 3.25 multiplier effect, which means that every dollar spent on Medicaid and CHIP “generates 3.25 times that amount in economic activity.”

“Economically, as a matter of providing health care from a public health perspective, the Medicaid expansion makes complete sense,” said Marks. It covers low-income people who can’t afford insurance in the exchanges, for whom “the chance of being able to buy insurance under any kind of market condition is pretty much non-existent.”

Do you put these people on Medicaid? Or, says Marks, “do you leave them uninsured?”

About 1.7 million more Texans could be eligible for Medicaid under the PPACA, which allows people with an income of up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line to participate. In Texas, people who would otherwise have gotten care at emergency rooms or county hospitals would be covered, resulting in an overall savings for the state. “The cost of their care doesn’t get pushed away,” said Marks, “It just gets shifted.”

True fact: the better access Texans have to affordable health insurance and Medicaid, the less we all pay:

As fewer doctors take on new Medicaid patients, the number of uninsured people in Texas continues to rise — which means the cost of health insurance goes up to address that gap.

But according to the TMA’s estimates, insured Texas families pay nearly 80 percent more than the national average in premiums to cover the cost of care for the uninsured.

Perry’s stance shows a remarkable lack both of understanding basic economics and empathy. The man just plain doesn’t care about taking concrete steps to help make Texans healthier. He and his conservative cohort consistently reduce low-income folks’ access to health care every year. And every year the number of uninsured people in Texas rises. And every year costs go up for those Texans who can afford insurance or who can get it through their jobs.

It’s embarrassing … for everyone, apparently, except Rick Perry.

Posted in duders, feminism, health care, news, politics, Rick Perry, socioeconomics | Leave a comment

The Next #ATXFEM Tweetup Is July 14th!

The first #ATXFEM tweetup was back in December 2011, and since then Austin feminists have been meeting just about monthly to drink cold beverages, organize with other activists and generally have a sweet time.

If you haven’t been to one yet, let me cordially invite you to this Saturday’s tweetup at the Pour House on Burnet Road at 5 p.m. I know it seems kind of weird to go meet a bunch of strangers from the Internet, but I can’t tell you what a badass bunch of people #ATXFEM has turned out to be.

If you’re apprehensive about coming, you’re probably wondering … what the hell do people do at a tweetup? Do you tweet the whole time? Are there name tags involved?

So here’s what happens: I get to the Pour House a little before 5 p.m. and I have a balloon with me. I find a long, patio picnic table to sit at. I tie the balloon to the table so people can find me. Then, people arrive and they order beverages and bar snacks. There will be name tags on the table for you to stick on to your body part of choice (we are feminists, after all) so that no one has awkward ohmygodwhatistheirnameagain moments. You can put your Twitter handle on your name tag if you want, or you can put your real name, or Batman or whatever. You sure don’t have to be on Twitter to come to the tweetup. It’s just a handy way of rounding people up.

We will then start talking about some stuff, like the way people who sit around and eat and drink together talk about stuff. Probably it won’t even be feminist stuff at first, explicitly. It’ll be about someone’s shitty date, or new shoes or new job or dog or cat or whatever. Often the conversation will turn to feminism or current events or what-have-you. Sometimes someone will say something funny and someone will tweet it. But we don’t tweet the whole time.

I like to make sure I get to talk to everyone at the tweetup, which can be kind of hard considering we have had up to 20 or 25 people attend over the course of the evening. But I recommend this tactic. Play round-robin with different groups and make sure you get face time in with just about everybody, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone.

You don’t have to get there right at 5 p.m. and you don’t have to stay all night. You can stay for a beer. Or a half of a beer. Or forty Dr. Peppers. I’m usually one of the last to leave, and we tend to head out around 9 or 10 p.m. But if you can’t make it until late, we’ll wait for you. And yes, you can bring your kids if you want–the Pour House is a bar, sure, but the last time we were there, people were having their kid’s first birthday party there. So it’s that kind of thing.

Personal testimony: #ATXFEM has been a great way for me to connect with other progressive folks in Austin and feel way, way less alone in fighting the feminist fight in a conservative state. But I’ve also found writers to help out at my day job. I’ve found sources for my reproductive health work. Most importantly, I’ve made actual friends. Out of a bunch of strangers on the Internet.

So I hope to see you on Saturday, whether I’ve never seen you at #ATXFEM before or  I’ve seen you at every tweetup.

(Other #ATXFEM alums: feel free to leave your #ATXFEM testimonies in the comments!)

Posted in activism, feminism, food and drink, navelgazing, personal essays, social media | 4 Comments

Preach On, Jacquielynn Floyd!

Bill Zedler at the Republican Party of Texas convention in Fort Worth, Tex. / photo by Patrick Michels

At last, Bill Zedler’s one-man-abortion-requirement-machine is getting play in the mainstream media: the Dallas Morning News picked up the story on Friday, and today columnist Jacquielynn Floyd has a scathing take on what the Zedler requirements are really about: shaming, pressuring, intimidating and scaring women and doctors out of obtaining and providing legal abortion. I don’t often get the opportunity to describe anything in the DMN as “scathing,” but Floyd’s imagined continuation of Zedler’s questions is just that:

3. Please rate, on a scale ranging from “chagrin” to “abject humiliation,” the intensity of your shame.

3A. Which of the following methods would be most effective in maximizing the aforementioned shame? (Circle one).

a. Addition of costly, invasive, logically unwarranted medical procedures.

b. Ideologically biased “counseling” combined with mandatory delays.

c. Dissemination of your private medical information to your employer, your neighbors and that busybody couple that plays bridge with your parents.

Floyd’s questions number up to 10. I recommend reading them all.

Posted in abortion, bill zedler, duders, feminism, health care, legal issues, Mo'Fuckery and Bullshit, news, politics, pregnancy, religion, reproductive health | Leave a comment

The Myth Of The Happily Married Woman

Regular HayLadies! readers will recall that I got married back in April; during the process, I wrote a column called Hitched! for The Frisky. The fun part is that even though I’m an old boring married lady now, they still let me write the column. And this week, I wrote what is probably my favorite one yet.

It’s called “The Myth Of The Happily Married Woman” and it takes on single-lady-shamers and concern-trolls who like to tell single women that they’re broken, and the only fix for their sad is a long-term heterosexual partnership. Of course, this isn’t really about making single women happy. It’s about prolonging the long, slow death-rattle of patriarchy. A sample:

Essentially, people with this attitude are guilting women for not doing something they have very little control over: meeting someone with whom they have enough mutual affection to feel like marriage is a positive and productive step. As if the actual problem with single women is that they’re a bunch of shallow, slutty bitches, as if everyone who ever got married was a saint with no baggage. Single women don’t have a problem. Society has a problem with them. It’s not the same thing.

There are also cat photos and a marriage-boat metaphor. So check it out.

Posted in feminism, marriage, media, personal essays, relationships | 1 Comment

Democracy-Schmemocracy For Texas Health Bureaucrats; But There’s Hope!

Bill Zedler at the Republican Party of Texas convention in Fort Worth, Tex. / photo by Patrick Michels

Remember that time the Texas Department of State Health Services was all, “Hi, Tea Party Republican Rep. Bill Zedler, is there anything we can do for you in terms of passing unnecessary and invasive abortion reporting requirements meant to intimidate doctors and abortion-seekers in Texas?” and Bill Zedler was all, “Oh, I’m so glad you asked, because I have been trying to get the Texas Legislature to pass these unnecessary and invasive abortion reporting requirements for several years, to no avail, so if you could just put them into statute anyway, that would be great!”

And then that is what happened? It is still happening.

The reporting requirements are chugging through the bureaucratic approval process, but there is time for hell-raising between now and (what will probably be) September, when the Health and Human Services Council (it’s different than the DSHS council and also has to approve the rules) will decide whether to adopt these new rules.

Here’s what’s heartening: yesterday, Houston Sen. Jose Rodriguez became the FIRST EVER TEXAS LEGISLATOR to speak publicly about the rules–including Bill Zedler hisownself. So far, activists and doctors have been unable to sway DSHS into amending any of these rules to address their concerns; DSHS just keeps toeing the line for Zedler. If more pro-choice legislators put pressure on DSHS/HHSC, it may get their attention. As it is now, the departments clearly feel beholden to absolutely no one besides Bill Zedler.

You don’t have to be pro-choice to be pro-democracy; neither do your political representatives. So here’s what you can do: send an e-mail to your representative and tell them to be a voice for democracy at DSHS and the HHSC. Because what’s happening now isn’t democracy. It’s one Tea Party Republican throwing a fit until somebody gives him what he wants.

A sample letter that can be sent to your representative is after the jump.

Continue reading

Posted in abortion, activism, bill zedler, feminism, health care, Mo'Fuckery and Bullshit, news, politics, reproductive health | Leave a comment