Texas Standard for November 11, 2021

While the Supreme Court considers Texas’ new abortion law, what appears to be the first hearing on SB 8 in a state court got started in Austin. We’ll take a look at the potential impact. And: More than a hundred noted Texas authors sign an open letter warning of book bans, censorship and a threat to marginalized Texans. Also: Virtual reality, once primarily the province of gamers, becomes serious business helping seniors. Tech expert Omar Gallaga with more. Plus: On this Veterans’ Day, a West Texas native reflects on his days in uniform, and then in the custody of the North Vietnamese. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardNovember 11, 2021 9:30 am,

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Thursday, November 11, 2021.

Texas Abortion Law State Court Hearings

Abortion rights advocates continue to mount legal challenges to Texas’ restrictive abortion law, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott this summer. A state district court in Austin heard arguments yesterday against the law. Madlin Mekelburg has been reporting on this for the Austin American-Statesman. She joins us at the top of the show.

Abbott Literary Task Force

This week, Gov. Abbott directed the Texas Education Agency, the State Board of Education, and the Texas Library and Archives Commission to develop standards to the prevent the presence of what he called “pornography and other obscene content” in Texas schools. The governor also asked TEA commissioner Mike Morath to take more immediate action while standards are being developed. Abbott has been unclear on what he means by pornography, but a group of highly respected Texas authors has issued an open letter warning that the move, among other things, is a threat to already marginalized Texans and others. Joining us now is Sergio Troncoso, president of the Texas Institute of Letters.

Treating Vets with Psychedelics

This year, possibly more than others, U.S. veterans are grappling with the mental health impacts of war. Watching troops withdraw from Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul was a trigger for some vets dealing with depression, anxiety and PTSD. Sara Willa Ernst of Houston Public Media reports this is happening just as Texas has started investing in a novel therapy that is seen by some as a breakthrough.

Veterans’ Day: Isaac Camacho

During the Vietnam War, hundreds of American soldiers were captured by the North Vietnamese and held as prisoners of war. Among those POWs was West Texas native Isaac Camacho. Marian Navarro with the Voces Oral History Center brings us his story.

VR for Seniors

When you think about virtual reality, you probably picture young gamers in fancy headsets running through castles or battling virtual monsters. But a Texas company believes VR could offer more than just entertainment for another group of users: older adults. They’re looking to use VR to offer immersive experiences, comfort and even therapy. Our tech expert Omar Gallag profiled this new way of using virtual reality for Texas Monthly and joins us with more.

The Sounds of Texas: Vanessa Reiser on Majesty & Tenderness

University of Austin

The announcement of a new school on Monday was no doubt designed to grab attention and ruffle feathers – and it’s done just that. The University of Austin is not an accredited institution of higher learning (at least not yet). But its founders are academics from all fields of learning who say things need to change. What’s really happening and is there a precedent for this? Katherine Mangan has been exploring all of the context for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Abortion Medications

Across the country, more states have passed abortion restrictions in 2021 than any year on record since Roe v. Wade. In a recent story for the Perspectives section of the Washington Post, Dr. Abigail Aiken writes that state-level restrictions may lead to a transformation of at-home, medication abortions. Dr. Aiken, associate professor at UT Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, joins us today.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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