Friday, February 5, 2016
Texas Funding Cuts Targeting Planned Parenthood and Other Family Planning Clinics Result in Increased Birth Rates
La Times (Feb. 3, 2016): After Texas stopped funding Planned Parenthood, low-income women had more babies, Deborah Netburn:
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that cuts to Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics affiliated with abortion providers in Texas resulted in increased births among low-income women. Researchers from the Population Research Center at the University of Texas calculated that the relative increase in births for women who lost access to Planned Parenthood was 27%.
The funding cuts resulted in closures of family planning clinics and a shortage of appointments at the remaining facilities.
The first blow to Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics in Texas came in 2011, when lawmakers cut family-planning grants by 66% across the state. The money that remained was directed toward community health centers and county health departments that provide more comprehensive care.
This dramatic cut in funding was responsible for the closure of 82 family-planning clinics in the state, researchers said. About one-third of them were affiliated with Planned Parenthood.
Because the state’s federally funded Medicaid program was prohibited from discriminating against Planned Parenthood clinics in 2013, the state set up its own state-funded Texas Women’s Health Program, which could legally withhold funds from any clinic affiliated with an abortion provider. The funding cuts and closures hit low-income women particularly hard. Before 2013, Planned Parenthood served 60% of the state's low income women of childbearing age.
The study's results are instructive as to the possible outcome of similar policies to defund Planned Parenthood enacted in Arkansas, Alabama, New Hampshire, Louisiana, North Carolina and Utah.