In response to the most recent attack of the culture warriors, Texas (of course it would be Texas!) defunded Planned Parenthood. So how is that working out?
According to a recent report in the Guardian, not well.
Texas’s aggressive campaign to defund Planned Parenthood has led to a steep drop-off in access to popular forms of contraceptions for poor women, and, for some women, a 27% increase in births, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found.
In the wake of the doctored videos fiasco, anti-choice activists have renewed efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. In response to concerns about healthcare for low-income women (by far the most significant part of Planned Parenthood’s activities), they have insisted that there are other publicly funded providers who could absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.
This study suggests those claims are bogus.
In order to justify defunding Planned Parenthood, Texas officials in 2013 drew up a list of alternative providers. But women’s health advocates found that the list included radiologists and anesthesiologists – not providers who routinely prescribe contraceptives. Likewise, officials in Louisiana and abortion opponents in Ohio have suggested food banks and dentist offices as alternatives to Planned Parenthood.
Texas’ experience demonstrates once again that fanaticism is expensive. The spike in births to Medicaid-eligible women was costly, and in order to exclude Planned Parenthood from the state-funded women’s health program, the state had to completely forfeit the $9-to-$1 match in federal Medicaid dollars for women’s health.
Planned Parenthood had been providing 40% of state-funded family planning services.
The new women’s health program enrolled about 20,000 fewer women after it excluded Planned Parenthood, according to an April 2015 report by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
The study I would be interested in seeing would compare abortion rates before and after Planned Parenthood was defunded. How many women who lost access to reliable contraception and found themselves with an unwanted pregnancy decided to terminate those pregnancies?
The only way to reduce the incidence of abortion is to make reliable birth control easily available, but anti-choice activists are increasingly trying to restrict access to contraception.
It’s hard to escape the conviction that what anti-Planned Parenthood zealots really want is a return to the days when women had no control over their own reproduction—when we were “barefoot and pregnant”— and properly submissive.