It’s been a little more than three years since the state of Texas effectively defunded Planned Parenthood by cutting funding to any organization that offers abortions. The defunding was not without consequences, however. The Texas Policy Evaluation Project, an Austin-based research team, has released a report that shows how much women are affected when their health care programs are cut.
Yes, it’s about to get quite dreary in here.
The study was published yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine. It shows a significant decrease in the number of women who filed claims for long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as IUDs and implants – the two most effective forms of birth control available. In comparison, two years before Planned Parenthood’s funding was cut by Texas, 1,042 women filed claims for LARCs under Texas’s Medicaid Women’s Health Program. At the end of 2014, that number dropped by 35.5 percent to a minuscule 672 women.
Women who use injectable contraception were not immune from the effects of defunded Planned Parenthood clinics either. Within the same time frame, injectable contraceptive claims dropped from 6,832 to 4,709 women (or 31.1 percent). The study additionally shows an 1.9 percent increase in the birthing rate in counties that once had state-funded Planned Parenthood clinics between 2011 and 2014.
As a result of the defunding, many low-income women in Texas who qualified for Texas’ Medicaid family-planning program became unable to afford some of the most highly effective contraception options. Thus, it only makes sense that there was an increase in Texas’ birthrate.
If you had any doubts about the importance of Planned Parenthood for women’s health, this study should clear that up pretty quickly. Texas accidentally stumbled into being a massive testing ground for demonstrating what happens when you take away women’s health care. In short? Don’t do it.