This year Texas cut 2/3 of its family planning services by defunding Planned Parenthood and drastically reducing the budgets of other family planning services in the state. While many politicians claim it was to reduce government spending and save the state money, others are quite fine expressing this was an ideological attack, including Rep. Wayne Christian, a Republican from Nacogdoches who says they specifically targeted family planning because of the abortion debate.
Fifty-one percent of Texans are uninsured, including many who work full-time but cannot pay the ever-increasing cost of private insurance. Health insurance premiums have soared 105 % in the last decade, forcing employers to raise deductibles or stop offering insurance altogether. These 6.5 million uninsured residents of Texas use hospitals and women’s health clinics to meet their medical needs.
There are 71 family planning and women’s health clinics in Texas. This loss of funding will make it significant harder to provide those services to the low income population they treat. These clinics will be forced to close, cut staff, cut hours, cut services provided, and/or raise prices on services. With this lack of access, many people will be forced to turn to the already overburden hospital system and county health departments. Or they will eschew care all together with potentially devastating consequences.
At the end of the day, this will not even save the state money. Birth Control is preventative care. Without access to it, it is predicted that there will be 20,000 extra unintended pregnancies as a result. Texas also spends $1.3 billion on teen pregnancy every year, the most of any state. That does not even begin to cover what other negative consequences lack of health services will cause. The state will also have to shoulder the costs of other health concerns that could have been treated early or prevented entirely if access to care was possible.