A new report published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows evidence of what women’s reproductive rights advocates have been warning about for years: When Texas defunded Planned Parenthood, births by low-income mothers increased, many of which were covered by Medicaid.
After Texas cut government funding for Planned Parenthood affiliates in 2013, researchers saw a steady decrease in the amount of effective, long-term birth control prescriptions that were filled. It also saw a steady increase in the number of births by women who had previously received birth control through the organization.
“Our analyses suggest that the exclusion of Planned Parenthood affiliates from the Texas Women’s Health Program had an adverse effect on low-income women in Texas by reducing the provision of highly effective methods of contraception, interrupting contraceptive continuation, and increasing the rate of childbirth covered by Medicaid,” write the authors of the report, who are from the University of Texas,
The Planned Parenthood centers served roughly 60 percent of the state’s low-income women. Texas’s decision to cut any funding to the centers meant that women who relied on effective measures of birth control (such as IUDs) from the organization were no longer able to access or afford them. The number of women using IUDs dropped by 35.5 percent in two years, and the number of women who continued to get the Depo-Provera birth control shot fell by 21 percent over two years in counties in which centers were shuttered.