In 2011, family planning funding in Texas took a significant hit.
Clinics across the state lost a total of $73 million in state funding for contraception, cancer screenings, and other preventive care services (a decision that resulted in an additional 23,800 Medicaid-funded births from unintended pregnancies, at a cost of $273 million.) Over the two last years, 53 clinics have closed, workers have been laid off, and even more disconcerting, low-income women have lost services. Since these cuts were made, approximately 147,000 women haven’t received the preventive care they need to keep themselves healthy and plan the size and timing of their families.
On top of that, the strength of the Women’s Health Program has been compromised. A new state law that excludes Planned Parenthood, a major women’s health and preventive care provider, from providing WHP services to low-income women resulted in the loss of $30 million a year in federal funds to maintain the program. Without Planned Parenthood, the now-state-run Texas Women’s Health Program is missing a provider that served 40 percent of all the women in the program. The future of the Women’s Health Program is now up to the courts, and concerns remain around a Health and Human Services Commission survey concluding the remaining WHP providers have the capacity to serve Texas women without Planned Parenthood.
This session, legislators have the opportunity to restore the funding lost in 2011 and give women the preventive care they need and the opportunity to plan the timing and size of their families. Funding family planning and other preventive care services also saves Texas taxpayers money in the long run.