A new report from the New England Journal of Medicine proved what proponents of access to family planning already know: when lawmakers block funding for programs like Planned Parenthood, there is an increase in unintended births. And for Texas, that means a rise in births – by 27 percent.
Since 2011, some Texas lawmakers have sought to undermine women’s ability to access basic health care by defunding crucial providers like Planned Parenthood, which provides fundamental health care services for women of all income levels. Cutting family planning grant money by 66 percent led to the closure of 82 reproductive health clinics. And in 2013, lawmakers took it a step further by refusing federal Medicaid money and setting up a state-level fund to withhold money from clinics providing abortion care.
However, what Texas policymakers don’t see is the big picture. Family clinics provide women with access to safe and trustworthy contraceptives, among other needs like life-saving breast exams and STD testing. And when women lack access to basic health care, low-income women and families are hit the hardest. Right now, this new research is critical and hopefully serves as a much-needed wake-up call for Texas lawmakers who have so far ignored the ripple effects of this decision. In reality, Planned Parenthood provides all women, men, and their families the ability to lead healthier lives.