Samantha Bee just can't with Texas' ridiculous new abortion law.

Lawmakers from around the country are so concerned about women's health, they've gone out of their way to make sure clinics that offer abortions are as "safe" as possible.

Image via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.

These laws — which regulate everything from the sex segregation of changing rooms in a facility to the width of the hallways — are so strict that dozens of clinics across the U.S. have been forced to close.

Image via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.


Between 2010 and 2013, more than 50 had shut their doors

Samantha Bee spoke to one of the authors of one such law — Texas' HB2 — which currently is being challenged at the Supreme Court. To hear him tell it, he's just a sweet old guy who's concerned for everyone's safety. How considerate!

As funny as Bee's segment was, these laws are no joke.

Unable to overturn Roe v. Wade, abortion opponents have resorted to a sort of slow chipping away of abortion access at the state level. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights advocacy organization, states have enacted 231 abortion restrictions in just the last four years. After Texas' HB2 was passed, more than half of Texas' clinics were forced to close.

A map of the remaining abortion clinics in Texas, mostly clustered in large urban areas, leaving many rural Texans with few options for reproductive health services. Image via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.

Areas like Texas' Rio Grande Valley — home to many poor and immigrant women — have seen their last clinic close in the last several years, forcing those seeking abortions to travel 240 miles to the nearest facility. As a result, reports of illegal abortions or people crossing into Mexico for the procedure are on the rise. 

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. GIF via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.

Even before HB2 was passed, a Texas Policy Evaluation Project report found that an estimated 100,000 Texans have tried to self-induce abortions. Many of those surveyed in the study cited lack of affordable access to reproductive health services as a reason. 

As part of the Supreme Court case against HB2, real people who have chosen abortion have been sharing their stories with the justices. And they're critically important.

Photo by Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images.

One woman

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"I often tell people — and I believe it to be true — that access to a safe, legal abortion saved my life. If I had not had an abortion, I would have never been able to graduate high school, go to college, [or] escape my high-poverty rural county in Oregon.

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Another:

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"I was living in a three-bedroom house with nine people in an economically struggling area of town and I had no child care options available, besides dropping out of school. ... However, once I had my abortion, I was registered back in school three weeks later and went on to earn the highest grade-point average (GPA) in my high school, earning the opportunity to speak at graduation."

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Another:

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"[A]t the age of 18, I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer and did not want to follow in the footsteps of my mother, my grandmother and my great-grandmother in becoming a mother by the age of 18. Taking control of my reproductive freedom gave me the ability to be the first person in my family to graduate from high school, the first person to graduate from college, and the first person to achieve a post-graduate degree." 

Many court watchers expect the justices will deadlock 4-4 on the case, which would leave the lower court ruling upholding Texas' law in place.

Should that happen, millions of Texas women will continue to have poor access to safe, reliable reproductive health care. 

Relying on the courts to strike these restrictions down is no guarantee. If we want to get rid of them, we need to elect lawmakers who won't pass them in the first place.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.

Not just presidents and senators, but congressmen. State senators. State legislators. County executives. Mayors. Look up who supports the right to safe, affordable abortion services, and support them in turn. 

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Not just this year, or every four years when there's a huge presidential election, but every election year, no matter how boring or insignificant. (Bee ran a pretty terrific segment on why this is so important in the same show.) Small elections can have big consequences. 

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Vote. 

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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