Oh, Texas. What have you done? In your attempt to defund “the abortion industry,” you’ve actually gone ahead and made it harder for women to access family planning services. Which means that in Texas, women’s health access is taking a serious hit. Can we all guess what will happen next? Yup, more babies. More unplanned births, more women in poverty on Medicaid and a $237 million cost to taxpayers. Good job.
The Health and Human Services Commissions has projected that, because of funding cuts, unplanned pregnancies in Texas will add $273 million in costs to taxpayers. The Texas Legislative Budget Board also estimated that the cuts would lead to 284,000 women losing family planning services, resulting in 20,000 additional unplanned births at a cost upward of $200 million.
In order to combat the potential financial disaster of these budget cuts, Republican state senators have proposed adding $100 million to a state-run primary care program specifically for women’s health services. “It’s a much better way to treat the women because they don’t just have family-planning issues,” said Senator Robert Deuell, a Republican and a family physician who has advocated for an increase in primary-care services for women. Right. Isn’t that the argument we’ve all been making for years? That women’s health clinics aren’t just abortion factories – but provide necessary medical care to women who need it? I guess a Republican had to say it.
In 2011, the Texas legislature cut the family planning budget by two-thirds. The $100 million the state senators are proposing will essentially be used to rebuild what their own cuts dismantled. But since it is being restructured as a state run primary care program, anti-choice legislators can still be assured that money will not be given to those associated with abortion providers. Many advocates of women’s health services believe that money would better be funneled back into federal programs:
Health care advocates say there are reasons to restore federal family-planning financing, rather than putting state dollars into primary care. But that money, which Texas relied on in previous budgets, is no longer a sure thing. Two other organizations, including Planned Parenthood, that have submitted bids to receive and distribute the federal family-planning dollars.
Unfortunately, this is still a victory for those who refuse to believe women’s health clinics provide necessary health care:
“The goal has always been to keep the funds out of the abortion industry,” said Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life. She hopes the expanded primary-care program will serve a broader population but said Texas Right to Life was “still investigating the participating providers to ensure none are affiliated with abortion providers.”