Welcome back to Shots and Chasers, a Grist roundup of the reproductive rights news of the week.

Last week, we promised to bring you a series where we pair terrible news with something fun, in the interest of sanity … but this has actually been a not-bad week for reproductive rights! The Senate rejected a House-passed attack on Planned Parenthood, Texas — no, really, Texas — approved a (relatively) progressive birth control access program, and a court finally told the Center for Medical Progress to please stop releasing the terrible, no-good, misleading videos about Planned Parenthood that put us in this legislative mess to begin with.

On that note — l’chaim!


(Triple) Shot: On Thursday, with a vote of 47-52, the Senate shot down the Planned Parenthood-defunding bill that passed the House last week. To fend off government shutdown, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky./Hell) has filed an alternative, short-term government spending bill that includes funding for Planned Parenthood. Congress’ marginally less dysfunctional component also rejected a bill that would ban late-term abortions earlier this week.

And this morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced his resignation from Congress. Door-hitting and asses aside, this is expected to eliminate any chance of government shutdown this time around.

Why this still sucks: As long as Republicans dominate the House, the next speaker will likely be a nightmare as well — although probably less orange.

Chaser: Because good news pairs well with more good news, on Thursday a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that make-believe journalistic outfit Center for Medical Progress must stop releasing videos that falsely portray Planned Parenthood as a trafficker of fetal body parts. (These videos, ridiculously enough, have fueled much of the GOP fervor to shut down the country’s largest family planning organization.)


Shot: A new video from Slate explains why Texas sex ed today refuses to acknowledge that teens have sex. (Spoiler: As with most things, you can blame Dubya.)

Here’s why this sucks: Texas, just like its Southern neighbors, has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the country. Gee, I wonder why!

Chaser: Next summer, Texas will implement a new program to offer free birth control to teens from low-income families. (They’ll still need parental consent to get contraception, which could be a major barrier, but let’s try to focus on the positive!)


Shot: During his stateside visit, Pope Francis stopped by the convent of the Little Sisters of the Poor to support their fight against the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

Why this sucks: While the Chill Pope has been relatively progressive — for the Catholic Church, which is saying very little — on issues like gay marriage and climate change (but maybe not, actually), he’s decidedly not chill on reproductive rights.

Chaser: There’s no way you won’t be delighted by The Atlantic’s photo essay on the Church’s ongoing battle with an ancient enemy: the wind.

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