Journo clips

As a journalist, Carolyn focused on sex education, birth control and abortion. She was especially interested in barriers to accessing these services.

  • Carolyn wrote about the Texan sonogram law, where women seeking abortions must first have a government-mandated ultrasound. She wrote for The Texas Observer.  A few months later, the article was reprinted in Canada’s Chatelaine magazine.
  • She reported for The Texas Observer about the exasperating failure of logic at a women’s health hearing at the Texas state health department.
  • She wrote a blog post for The Texas Observer about the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, a University of Texas-based research group whose findings will make it hard for politicians to bloviate about the impact of their legislative decisions.
  • Here’s a link to Carolyn’s radio interview with Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air where she discusses Texas’s sonogram law as well as her reportage for The Texas Observer.
  • As part of the article series above, Carolyn wrote a feature for The Texas Observer about Texas’s investment in crisis pregnancy centers. Meanwhile Texas disinvested in primary and preventive health. She reported that crisis pregnancy centers use $4.15m per year of taxpayer’s money to give misleading and scientifically unsound advice to vulnerable women.
  • She wrote a set of articles for The Texas Observer about the impact of the 2011 cuts to Texas’ state family planning budget. She received an honorable mention for this work from the Texas Medical Association. In this investigative series she was the first to report that budget cuts had caused more than 60 family planning clinics to close. She described how Planned Parenthood’s eviction from the Medicaid Women’s Health Program intensified Texas’ family planning crisis. She wrote about the launch of the Texas Women’s Health Program, sans Planned Parenthood, and how rural family planning clinics bore the brunt of the impact of budgetary cuts.
  • She reported an exclusive for The Texas Observer about a coalition of health providers in Texas that had applied for federal family planning funds (known as the Title X grant). Later, she reported that the coalition had won the grant, leaving the traditional grantee – the Texas state health department – with a $6.5m shortfall.
  • She wrote a feature story for The Texas Observer about the financial plight of low-income women who wish to terminate their pregnancies. If you want an abortion in Texas, whatever you do, don’t be poor. Carolyn won a 2014 Anson Jones Award from the Texas Medical Association for this piece.
  • She reported an exclusive for The Texas Observer about cash remaining in the Texas state health department’s coffers. Meanwhile, scores of family planning clinics across the state closed for lack of funds.
  • She wrote about the impassioned crowds at the Texas State Capitol for Women’s eNews. Activists in favor of the anti-abortion bill wore blue while those against wore orange. Spotted: celebrity singers, rosaries and clever puns about Wendy Davis’s shoes.
  • In summer 2013, Carolyn practically moved into the Texas statehouse to report for The Texas Observer on the passage of one of the harshest anti-abortion bills in the U.S. She found it thrilling, wild and ultimately disappointing. She wrote about the first public hearing, when only a handful of folk turned up to testify, about the bill’s plodding passage through the Texas Senate, and about the citizens’ filibuster that made the legislative process instantly more exciting. To mounting drama, the bill passed through the full House but a few days later, it met with the Democratic filibuster that both killed the bill and caused the outside world to tune in to Texas. Of course, Governor Perry simply called another legislative session, but the crowd turning up to protest the bill was astounding. Activists both for and against the bill rallied during the Senate hearing. Inevitably, the House passed the bill anyway and when it made it to the full Senate floor, the Republican majority voted the anti-abortion bill into law.
  • She reported for The Texas Observer that a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Texas has reached a $1.4m settlement with the Texas Attorney General for alleged Medicaid fraud. An ex-Planned Parenthood staffer stands to profit from having blown the whistle on her ex-employer.
  • Two years after the Texas legislature voted to slash family planning funds by two-thirds, the effects are still being felt. Carolyn reported for The Texas Observer that the reconfigured safety net system, as well as an unloved little law that requires Texas minors to get parental consent for birth control, would impact 2,000 teens.
  • Planned Parenthood affiliates across the U.S. are battling expensive and lengthy whistleblower lawsuits. Influential anti-choice legal groups are behind them. Carolyn reported on the cases for The Guardian.
  • The Texas health department just launched a new teen pregnancy prevention campaign, costing $1.2 million. The problem? They don’t breathe a word about contraception because “Texas is an abstinence-first state”. She reported for The Texas Observer.
  • A national coalition filed a long anticipated legal challenge to Texas’ anti-abortion bill. She reported on the filing, as well as some of the background to a legal suit, for The Texas Observer.
  • When it comes to women’s health in Texas, what starts in the statehouse invariably ends up in the courthouse. Two provisions of Texas’s anti-abortion bill were litigated in the district court. Carolyn covered the bench trial for The Texas Observer.
  • It’s common in the U.S. for the judiciary to be the last line of defense in upholding reproductive rights. Texas is no exception. A federal court made a surprise ruling about the constitutionality of House Bill 2. The state appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Fifth Circuit ruled that a draconian provision of HB 2 could go ahead. Immediately, abortion providers across Texas shut down. On November 4, women’s health advocates made an emergency appeal to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia to vacate the Fifth Circuit’s decision. Carolyn reported for The Texas Observer.
  • It was an emotional day for women’s health providers in Texas when a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a provision of House Bill 2, that would shutter abortion clinics, could stand. Tearful staff spent the next day phoning scores of patients to cancel their appointments. Carolyn reported for Al Jazeera America.
  • As abortion clinics turn patients away, abortion funds are on the frontline as they try to find somewhere else for women to go. She reported for The Texas Observer.
  • Texas’ new 20-week abortion ban is having a real impact on women’s lives. She wrote for Al Jazeera America about a sick woman forced out of state by the law.
  • As Texas law forced abortion clinics to turn patients away, crisis pregnancy centers and anti-abortion maternity homes received $46,100 in new funds. She reported for The Texas Observer.
  • Working-class women of color in Texas have fewer options that white women along the entire reproductive journey. The Mamas of Color Rising collective was doing some exciting work in Austin to to fix that. Carolyn wrote about one of their members for The Texas Observer.
  • White coats, an ultrasound machine and a sign saying ‘medical clinic’ … think you’re getting medical care? Not necessarily, if you’re in Texas and you’ve wandered into an anti-abortion pregnancy medical center. Carolyn reported on the rise of these fake clinics for Al Jazeera America.
  • Texas’ 20-week abortion ban quickly wrought heartbreak.  Carolyn reported for The Texas Observer about a woman who had to pawn her wedding ring and travel to Arkansas in order to terminate a pregnancy that her doctor had described as ‘incompatible with life’. It turns out that no-one really knew how the law applied to her.
  • Less than five months after portions of House Bill 2 went into effect, more than a third of abortion clinics in Texas closed. Carolyn reported for The Texas Observer about the closure of the last two rural abortion clinics in east Texas and the Rio Grande Valley.
  • The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that HB2 isn’t unduly burdensome because going on a Texas road trip isn’t that much of a big deal. A few days later, women’s health advocates filed another suit to block the ambulatory surgical care center requirements of HB2. Meanwhile, an abortion clinic in El Paso remained shut because a district court judge declined to block the admitting privileges rule. Carolyn reported for The Texas Observer.