Texas Republicans Reconsider Cuts to Women’s Health Clinics After Realizing Unintended Pregnancies Are Likely to Rise
Some GOP lawmakers in Texas are suddenly realizing that defunding their state’s Planned Parenthood clinics isn’t a good strategy for helping women avoid unintended pregnancy.
The state’s Health and Human Services Commission projects that — in the aftermath of stripping Planned Parenthood from over $70 million in funds that used to go toward its family planning services, in Texas lawmakers’ ongoing crusade to target the women’s health organization — low-income women will deliver an estimated 23,760 additional babies during 2014 and 2015 than they would have otherwise. The HHS credits the sharp rise in the birth rate to the state budget cuts that have reduced poor women’s access to affordable birth control, and estimates that taxpayers will be shouldered with an estimated additional $273 million in medical expenses and Medicaid coverage for those infants.
And now that the HHS report is being circulated among Texas legislators, some of them are experiencing a wake-up call about the real impact of defunding organizations that provide low-income women with essential preventative health services:
‘I know some of my colleagues felt like in retrospect they did not fully grasp the implications of what was done last session,’ said Representative Donna Howard, Democrat of Austin, who said she had been discussing ways to restore financing with several other lawmakers in both parties.