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The Brief: Texas has an alarming maternal death rate. Now what?

Texas’ maternal mortality rates nearly doubled between 2010 and 2014 — but lawmakers have had few conversations around the issue since the legislative session began.

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Tribune today

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The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed Monday it plans to ditch its longstanding position that Texas lawmakers purposefully discriminated against minority voters by passing the nation’s strictest voter identification law in 2011.

What you need to know

Texas’ maternal mortality rates nearly doubled between 2010 and 2014 — but lawmakers have had few conversations around the issue since the legislative session began

  • Gov. Greg Abbott did not mention it in his State of the State address. It is also missing from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's list of legislative priorities. 
  • A spokesperson for the governor said Abbott “is committed to reducing the maternal mortality rate.” He pointed to the governor's proposed budget, which said that additional resources for the Healthy Texas Women Program would help.

  • But researchers say there’s no simple fix to curb the maternal death rate. Experts recommend increasing mental and behavioral health screenings, improving access to health services for women the first year after their pregnancy and more education for women at higher risk of death from childbirth.
  • Are you a family affected by the maternal death rate? Tell us your story.

To get more health news in your inbox, subscribe to Trib+Health: Your guide to state and regional health policy news and events.

What we're reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $) 

Not so special ed, Texas Monthly

ICE could reopen an infamous south Texas detention center, Texas Monthly

Potential funding cuts could hamper Texas' film industry, KVUE

'DACAmented' teachers worry about their future, San Antonio Express-News ($)

Appeals court: First Amendment gives public right to video police, Fort Worth Star-Telegram ($)

What she said: female lawmakers on why there are so few women in Texas politicsThe Dallas Morning News ($)

Trump and Ryan headed for a clash over the budgetThe New York Times ($)

For your calendar

Join us online at 8 a.m. for a conversation with House Public Education Committee Dan Huberty. 

Quote to note

"The governor is right — it is past time for state lawmakers to fix our school funding system, and any solution should include public charter schools."

— David Dunn, executive director of the Texas Charter Schools Association via TribTalk

Correction: An earlier version of this story attributed a quote to the governor's spokesman that should have been attributed to the governor's proposed budget.

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Sanya Mansoor. If you have feedback or questions, please email We're a nonprofit newsroom, and count on readers like you to help power newsletters like this. Did you like what you read today? Show your appreciation by becoming a member or making a donation today.

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