Emails, Josh Havens, deputy press secretary, Gov. Rick Perry, June 27 and July 3, 2013

From: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) []

Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2013 2:12 PM

To: Josh Havens

Subject: Following up, fact-check inquiry




So far, I am coming up empty on pertinent information. For instance, I’m told the federal CDC doesn’t track extra-premature births at all; a spokeswoman is double-checking that.


Do you have anything on this that we should consider?



2:30 pm, June 27, 2013

Try this:



From: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) []

Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2013 6:34 PM

To: Josh Havens

Subject: Study and follow-up information




I am sharing more information in case you have anything more for us to consider regarding the governor’s statement that babies born before 24 weeks of pregnancy increasingly survive into healthy childhoods. That doesn’t appear to be factually proven.


An NIH spokesman told us its neonatal researchers consider the attached study, published in 2009, to be authoritative per extremely early babies growing into childhood. It says that while survival rates have improved, these gains have not been accompanied by proportional reductions in disabilities.


Separately, we interviewed Kristi Watterberg, who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn. She told us survival rates have improved for infants born after 23 weeks of pregnancy, but it’s questionable that many extreme preemies make it to healthy childhoods. As more infants survive, she said, you have more and more infants with disabilities. “We need studies of” such “babies at school age, adolescents and adults,” she said. She said the Iowa study you shared included far too few infants born before 24 weeks of pregnancy—16 at the time of follow-up evaluations—to justify broad conclusions. “You cannot make any pronouncements based on that,” she said.

(From Havens) 1:03 pm, July 3, 2013

Take a look at these:



The point the governor is making is that babies born prior to the third trimester can survive outside the womb.  These children deserve a chance at life and the laws of this state need to reflect the right of these individuals to live.