PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND
PLANNED PARENTHOOD TEXAS VOTES
Planned Parenthood: “We have seen the devastation this causes. Texas is a cautionary tale for the rest of the country.”
Washington, DC – Today, Governor Abbott and the state of Texas took final action to try to block Medicaid patients from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood, including birth control, cancer screenings, and HIV tests. Planned Parenthood continues to serve Medicaid patients at its health centers in Texas and will seek a preliminary injunction in an ongoing lawsuit filed in November 2015, following the state’s original threats to take action against Planned Parenthood’s patients.
This comes as extreme politicians in the U.S. Congress want to defund and shut down Planned Parenthood, which would deny millions of people across the country access to the cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing and treatment, including HIV testing, they rely on.
Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes:
This is not over, and we will leave no stone unturned to protect access to care. We have seen the devastation caused to Texans when the state blocks access to care at Planned Parenthood. Already, tens of thousands of people are going without birth control, cancer screenings, HIV tests, and other care. The maternal mortality rate continues to rise. Yet Greg Abbott is hell-bent on chasing this ideological agenda, regardless of how many women it hurts.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
Texas is a cautionary tale for the rest of the nation. With this action, the state is doubling down on reckless policies that have been absolutely devastating for women. Already, tens of thousands of people have nowhere to turn for birth control, cancer screenings, HIV tests, and other care. If the nation goes the way of Texas, it will be nothing less than a national health care disaster. We will never back down and we will never stop fighting to ensure that Planned Parenthood patients have access to the care they need.
Each year, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas care for nearly 11,000 patients through Medicaid. These are people who have very low incomes or no health insurance, and often have nowhere else to turn for care. In Texas, nearly half of Planned Parenthood health centers serve underserved patient communities in health professional shortage areas, medically underserved areas or rural areas. It is well documented that people of color in the United States are disproportionately unable to access quality health care due to the intersection of racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, and and other systemic barriers, making them more likely to rely on Medicaid. These barriers are compounded when politicians place additional obstacles to essential and lifesaving health care.
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) 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.
- 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.
Not only is blocking care at Planned Parenthood dangerous, it’s deeply unpopular. 15 national polls have shown strong support for Planned Parenthood and extraordinarily strong opposition to policies targeting access to care at our health centers.
A year ago, the state originally tried to block Medicaid patients’ access to care at Planned Parenthood, basing their action on false claims from anti-abortion extremists in heavily edited and thoroughly discredited videos. Planned Parenthood never has and never would sell fetal tissue for profit. In fact when this went before a grand jury in Texas, not only did they choose to clear Planned Parenthood, but instead indicted members of the Center for Medical Progress. Planned Parenthood has been already cleared by 13 state investigations and an additional eight states declined to even investigate. The state of Texas is once again recycling these false accusations.