At the beginning of this year, Texas officials succeeded in their yearlong crusade to defund Planned Parenthood, a move that has forced thousands of low-income women to search for new doctors — and Republicans in the state show no signs of easing up in their obsession to block the national health organization at every turn. But, in a state where half of all pregnancies were unintended in 2011, Texas’ vendetta against Planned Parenthood has had stark consequences.
As Mother Jones details, the attacks on women’s health in the Lonestar State have made a serious, quantifiable impact. Now that Texas Republicans have left significantly fewer resources to provide low-income or uninsured women with the programs they need, this is what’s happening, by the numbers:
- Planned Parenthood provided care for nearly 50 percent of the low-income women who get Medicaid benefits through Texas’ Women’s Health Program (WHP) before anti-choice lawmakers kicked the organization out of the program.
- Thanks to the decline in state funds designated for family planning services, Texas is now funding 176 fewer health clinics than it did in 2011.
- 53 health clinics in Texas have been forced to close as a result of the budget cuts. 39 of those weren’t affiliated whatsoever with Planned Parenthood, and zero of them performed abortions.
- After health clinics began closing their doors last year, a survey of about 300 Texas women seeking abortions revealed that nearly half of those women were “unable to access the birth control that they wanted to use” in the 3 months before they became pregnant. Women cited cost barriers, lack of insurance coverage, and inability to find a clinic.
- Now that lawmakers have both cut family planning programs and defunded Planned Parenthood, 200,000 low-income women in Texas have already lost or could soon lose access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other critical preventative care.
- Because so many women are losing access to the preventative resources they need, the family planning cuts are projected to result in an additional 24,000 unplanned births between 2014 and 2015.
- Every dollar invested in family planning services leads to as much as $5.60 in Medicaid savings. On the other end of the spectrum, the increased unplanned births resulting from Texas’ cuts are expected to cost taxpayers an estimated additional $273 million in medical expenses and Medicaid coverage.
(HT: Mother Jones)