Thousands of low income, uninsured women must fend for themselves for cancer screenings, birth control and more in Texas.
When Texas chose to shun millions of dollars in federal funding for women’s health so that it could create the Texas Women's Health Program—decidedly shutting Planned Parenthood out of the equation—the future of women’s health in Texas seemed pretty dire. Now, the Lone Star State’s Health and Human Services Commission has published a new report on the program, confirming that the long-term consequences of banning Planned Parenthood are very real and very negative.
Image by badlyricspolice via Creative Commons
As a result of the changes, Planned Parenthood, which used to provide family planning services to about 40 percent of the previous incarnation of the Women’s Health Program was completely ousted, leaving thousands of low income, uninsured women to fend for themselves for cancer screenings, birth control and more, with little to no safety net provided by the state.
The Houston Press sums it up:
Well, the new HHSC report shows that women enrolled in the program dropped from 207,000 to about 188,000, a 9 percent decline in enrollment. Unsurprisingly, the impact was much more pronounced across the state's rural areas. In West Texas and in the Panhandle, enrollment dropped about 40 percent, while enrollment in the Rio Grande Valley dropped about 20 percent. Clients served (the number of women who actually filed claims) dropped 25 percent across the state, from 115,000 in 2011 to 85,619 in 2013.
This doesn't only mean that fewer women are now getting life-saving cancer screenings than under the federally-funded program that included Planned Parenthood clinics. Part of the whole point of this program when it was created by lawmakers in 2005 was to reduce unplanned pregnancies, a cost-saving measure when you consider more than half of all births in this state are covered by Medicaid. These huge enrollment drops would seem to indicate that fewer low-income women now have access to contraception and family planning services in Texas.
H/T Houston Press