Women’s Health Talking Points
Senate Finance Committee; January 31, 2017
Extremist anti-abortion legislators slashed the family planning budget in 2011 which provided crucial life-saving health care for Texans. Effective family planning and reproductive health care also saves money, which is why the federal government provided a 9-1 match in federal dollars.
But after legislators removed Planned Parenthood from the state women’s health programs and cut services, Texas lost that generous federal match and thousands of Texans lost critical health care services.
The state also continues to divert millions of dollars, including $3 million of federal TANF money to CPC’s through a contract with minimal oversight to the Texas Pregnancy Care Network.
Texas is facing a maternal mortality crisis. This is not the time to fund anti-abortion organizations who do not provide medical care. Pregnant women need access to licensed healthcare.
The state is taking money away from programs in true crisis and giving it to ideological groups that lie to pregnant Texans and offer no medical care.
The Alternatives to Abortion program operates with almost no oversight by the state.
Tragically, we’ve seen the consequences for Texans when politicians block access to care:
· Nearly 30,000 fewer women received birth control, cancer screenings, and other care from the Texas Women’s Health Program (WHP) two years after the state barred care at Planned Parenthood in 2011, according to a report by Texas' health department. The Dallas Morning News reported that “the areas with the highest drops in the number of women served by the WHP occurred in areas where Planned Parenthood clinics shuttered.”
· The state’s family planning program served 54 percent fewer patients as a result of the 2011 budget cuts and funding scheme that blocked access to care at Planned Parenthood, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
· There was a 35% decline in women in publicly funded programs using the most effective methods of birth control and a dramatic 27% increase in births among women who had previously had access to injectable contraception through those programs, according to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
· Blocking patients from care has a disproportionate impact on those who already face far too many barriers to health care, such as people of color, people who live in rural areas, or people with low incomes. More than half of Texas women reported at least one barrier to reproductive health care. Spanish-speaking women from Mexico were more likely to report three or more barriers.
· In just one East Texas county, where the local health center lost 60 percent of its family planning funding, the number of abortions increased by 191 percent in two years. It’s obvious women who did not want to be pregnant didn’t have access to the care they needed to prevent pregnancy.
· A new study from the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology revealed the rate of pregnancy-related deaths in Texas has nearly doubled since 2010 – coinciding with stringent funding cuts for women’s health care and defunding Planned Parenthood. Black women accounted for nearly 29 percent of all maternal deaths, even though they gave birth to only 11 percent of all babies.
· After Texas removed Planned Parenthood from its HIV Program in December 2015, the Texas Observer reported that, as of June 2016, Harris County’s health department (the alternative provider) was yet to perform a single HIV test. Texas took the nearly 30-year-old HIV prevention contract away from Planned Parenthood in December, promising there’d be no gap in services.