Reporting Texas
News and features from UT-Austin's School of Journalism


Child-free Texans Raise Voices Despite Stigmatized Life Choice

Sending a message to his more than 40,000 followers on social media platform X in March, Houstonian Adrian C. Jackson told the world he had made a major life decision. “Might as well make this a public journey to inform & encourage other men,” he tweeted March 10. “The appointment is booked. I’m going through with it. I’m getting a vasectomy.”
Jackson is one of an increasing number of child-free Texans who intend to remain so. 

As Younger Drinkers Forgo Alcohol, Bartenders Are Mixing Up More Booze-free Cocktails

“A cocktail is interesting whether it has alcohol or not,” said Armando Garza, a bartender at the Roosevelt Room.
The Roosevelt Room and other Austin bars are tapping into the trend of consumers forgoing alcohol when they go out for happy hours, gatherings and celebrations. A 2023 Gallup report found that only 62% of 18- to 34-year-olds said they had occasion to drink in 2021-23, down from 72% two decades ago.

Texas politicians point to mental health as the cause of mass shootings — experts say more funding won’t help

When Jesse Woche heard about the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, the now 24-year-old felt galvanized to work in the gun violence prevention space full time. She had been interested in advocacy since she was 15, shifting between environmental conservation, abortion access and other causes that mattered to her. “(The shooting) just […]

Lifesaving Mix at ACL: Thousands of Overdose Reversal Drug Doses, Education and Music Come Together for First Time

From a booth on the east side of Zilker Park, a husband and wife from Ohio exceeded their dreams of helping to save lives by distributing 6,000 doses of overdose-reversing drugs.
“We thought we were gonna do a couple of festivals in the Midwest; that’s all we hoped for,” William Perry said of his lifesaving operation called This Must Be the Place. “This year, we went coast to coast and now we’re here in Austin.”
Their booth at Austin City Limits Music Festival the past two weekends served as a beacon of information on preventing fatal overdoses of fentanyl and other opioids with the nasal spray naloxone.
Perry said they found a receptive crowd in Austin. 
“We were prepared to talk people into taking it and talk people into why they should have it, and obviously that was not the case,” Perry said. “All you have to do is sit and listen to us explain the signs and symptoms and how to administer the medication. It takes people two and a half minutes or so and now they’re equipped to go save a life.”

May 04, 2023

Surviving For A Reason

Crystal Chen’s soft voice echoed through the Senate chamber as she recounted nightmares of persecution by her own government for her religious beliefs. In the prime of her 20s, Chen was sentenced to four and a half years of forced labor and torture in China. “I was pinned to the concrete floor and force-fed an all-salt mixture which nearly killed me,” Chen said. The room filled with lawmakers was silent. “Some guards handcuffed me to a radiator pipe,” she continued. “I was left there for three days while a police chief groped my body.” Chen was among a group of victims of political and religious persecution who testified before the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services of the Texas legislature in support of Senate Bill 1040 that would prohibit health insurance companies and other benefit plans from covering organ transplant procedures in which the organs come from a country known to engage in forced organ harvesting — namely China.

Jan 29, 2023

Six Months Post-Roe, Activists at Texas Rally for Life Vow to Continue Fight

Several attendees at the Texas Rally for Life said that the end of Roe v. Wade has further entrenched an increasingly hostile fight over the abortion issue. 

Nov 11, 2022

Harm Reduction Services Struggle to Tame Austin’s Accelerating Opioid Overdose Rates

With overdose deaths mounting, harm reduction groups are providing overdose reversal medications and other supplies to ensure safer substance use and generally healthier living. But the groups operate in a legal gray area. 
“This work is important for everybody here,” one clinic coordinator said after a day of outreach in his group’s mobile clinic. “Don’t you know we all can go to jail right now? Because everything that we do is illegal, technically. When I was doing the (safe syringe exchange) van, all of that stuff on there was illegal. But guess what? Ain’t never stopped me.”
The group takes its clinic van to several encampments each Tuesday through Friday, providing Narcan nasal spray, an opioid overdose reversal medication, safe smoke kits, needle exchanges, hygiene supplies, wound care kits and Plan B contraception pills.
“Fundamentally, harm reduction is about saving people’s lives and increasing safety around unsafe behaviors,” said one expert.

Oct 07, 2022

UT Students Walk Out in Support of Reproductive and Trans Rights

University of Texas students walked out of their classrooms as part of the National Day of Student Action, a nationwide peaceful protest for reproductive rights and trans rights after the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June.   

The Graduate Student Action Network organized walkouts at about 50 universities in 25 states, including the University of Nebraska, the University of Arkansas, West Virginia University, the City University of New York and New York University.    

“It’s incredibly exciting,” said one student. “I think we had an excellent turnout. Just seeing the range of speakers and organizations that we come from and all of the backgrounds is incredibly inspiring. Reproductive justice is such an intersectional issue, all of the perspectives here today.”

May 12, 2022

Nurses Rally at Capitol to Fight for Workplace Safety

Several dozen Texas nurses demanded workplace changes at a rally outside the Capitol May 12.

Mar 05, 2022

Therapists: Calling Health Care for Trans Kids ‘Child Abuse’ Is Hateful and Dangerous

Central Texas counselors and psychologists who work with transgender adolescents say Texas politicians’ recent statements about trans therapy are an attempt to rile up voters at the cost of an extremely vulnerable community.   

Mar 02, 2022

As Texas Republicans Attack Gender-Affirming Health Care, Moms of Trans Children Say They’re Not Backing Down

Parents of transgender children in Texas say they are “freaking out.” They are unnerved by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive on Feb. 22 telling the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate reports of transgender youth in Texas receiving gender-affirming health care. Abbott’s letter contends that procedures such as hormonal treatments, gender-aligning surgery or the use of puberty-blockers is child abuse under state law. 

On March 2, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas said it had filed a lawsuit to block Abbott’s directive. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a DFPS employee who is a parent of a transgender teenager and has already had an investigator come to their home.

Dec 24, 2021

UT’s Mental Health Services Adjust to Life in a Pandemic

Students are returning to in-person counseling at the University of Texas Counseling and Mental Health Center after the COVID-19 pandemic limited in-person sessions. 

Dec 07, 2021

UT Study Hopes to Curb LGBTQ Suicide Rates

In April 2021, Lilith, a University of Texas student, attempted taking her own life rather than starting her first year of college. “Most people have idealized versions of themselves, someone they’re going to become one day,” Lilith said. “I never saw this person at the end of the road so I started to think to […]

Nov 29, 2021

From Pulpit to Pandemic: How Historically Black Texas Churches Spread the Word on Vaccinations

Black churches in Texas have been at the forefront of encouraging their congregations to get vaccinated and change the narrative for Black health.

Nov 24, 2021

‘It’s a Free for All’: Kratom Is Legal in Texas But Should it Be?

Supporters tout kratom as a safer alternative to opiates such as heroin and fentanyl, but medical professionals in Texas describe it as being addictive and dangerous and call for it to be categorized as a scheduled substance.

Nov 17, 2021

Insulin Price Caps in Texas Provide Relief While Raising Questions About Costs

Dawn White, a nurse from Lumberton, Texas, told lawmakers this past summer she paid $500 for a one-month supply of insulin to treat her son’s type 1 diabetes. That was with insurance. If she lacked insurance, the cost would have been more than $1,000. “Texans are dying because they cannot afford their insulin,” White said. […]

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