After Family Planning Cuts, More Than 17,000 Dallas County Women Lost Access to Care

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In 2011, as we just cannot seem to stop mentioning, your state legislators cut $73 million from the state's family planning budget, instituted a tiered funding system designed to give family planning clinics any federal dollars dead last, and launched a weird war on the Medicaid Women's Health Program. All of this was in the name of halting those wanton, rampant, state- and federally funded abortions, a thing that doesn't actually exist. The impacts of all these cuts were clear from a mile off: a study last September in the New England Journal of Medicine warned that they were dismantling "a safety net that took decades to build and could not easily be recreated."

Nonsense, said Texas' Health and Human Services Commission. Among other pieces of "evidence," they released a deeply sketchy report that purported to show that even without Planned Parenthood, the new Texas Women's Health Program would easily be able to serve absolutely everybody who needed a new doctor. They did that, somehow, without even talking to more than half the family planning providers in the state.

Now, UT Austin has teamed up with a number of other research entities to form the Texas Policy Evaluation Project . It's meant to assess the impact of the reproductive healthcare cuts at a local level; they've even created a handy little app so you can look at just how many people in your county no longer have access to affordable healthcare.

Of course, you can also look at the data from the state level, as well as the House and Senate districts. But what's really eye-opening is those county numbers, which provide a ground-level view of the effect of the cuts that we haven't really been able to see before, except anecdotally. As Joseph Potter, a UT Austin sociology professor and the lead investigator on the project, told the Texas Tribune, "We put together this web app so people could see the direct impact of these cuts. It was brought to our attention that people around the state had seen the global figures of what the cuts were, but people didn't necessarily see it at the local level, and legislators certainly weren't seeing it at a local level."

In Dallas County, for example, the TxPEP research shows 225,029 low-income women need help paying for family planning services and reproductive healthcare. In 2010, before the cuts took place, 36,036 women were served through clinics receiving money from the Department of State Health Services (some of that money came from the state, and some from federal Title X funds). So, even before the cuts happened, only a fraction of poor women were actually getting the family planning assistance they needed. Afterwards, the number plummeted: In 2012, only 18,871 women were served at these clinics.

In dollar amounts, the TxPEP data shows those clinics got $7.2 million in 2010 and only about $2.5 million in 2012. There were 12 clinics open in Dallas County in 2010, all of them funded with that DSHS money. By 2012, one of those clinics had closed, seven others had lost their funding, and only four were still receiving DSHS family planning grants.

The TxPEP researchers even managed to estimate how many fewer unplanned pregnancies were prevented in Dallas County in 2012 versus 2010: 3,928 last year, versus 7,500 in 2010. How do they do that? As a researcher with the project told the Trib, previous public health research indicates that for every 1,000 women provided with family planning help, about 242 unintended pregnancies are prevented.

None of this is at all surprising, although it is deeply depressing. As a bonus round, take a look at the data they pulled on Dallas County's STD rates. Now allow yourself to think about how much worse those could get, with thousands of people no longer getting access to basic reproductive health services.

In a small piece of good news, the House adopted a budget yesterday that adds back $100 million towards family planning. The House members also tried very hard to avoid having any sort of floor debate about abortion , with both the Republican and Democrat sides each withdrawing a few potentially controversial family-planning amendments earlier this week.

"It doesn't restore us. It doesn't fix things," Representative Jessica Farrar, a Democrat from Houston, told the Austin-American Statesman of the $100 million. "But we're better off than we were before." Right now, that's about the best Texas women can hope for.


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52 comments
Jaborah
Jaborah

As long as I get my free birth control pills what difference does it make?

Melissa Howell
Melissa Howell

You're an idiot, Esteban. Just like morons Perry and Abbott, you too seem to think Planned Parenthood was only there to handle abortions and pass out birth control. They do/did A LOT more than that, like well woman checks which check for cancer and other issues. Some women are on birth control because of hormonal imbalances, not just because they're having sex. Something tells me you haven't been with many, if any women, so I can understand why you're completely oblivious.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

"You can't pick and choose what your taxes are for." ya, actually we can, that's why we have elections. you're kind of stupid.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

"If you don't want to pay for other people's condoms or healthcare move to somewhere without taxes" or...how about if you want to "change" the country...why don't YOU move to someplace like cuba that DOES provide everything to people?

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

"If you don't want to pay for other people's condoms or healthcare move to somewhere without taxes" again, you STILL can't answer the question of why can't people be responsible and not have sex if they can't afford condoms or birth control?

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

"You shouldn't have to pay for other's people resposiblity but thats what taxes do." lmao. where do you think taxes come from, idiot?

Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz

You can't pick and choose what your taxes are for.

Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz

If you don't want to pay for other people's condoms or healthcare move to somewhere without taxes

Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz

Oh sorry I was busy. You shouldn't have to pay for other's people resposiblity but thats what taxes do.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

typical liberals. when questions are asked that boil down to PERSONAL responsibility...they suddenly run away.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

i guess brianna doesn't want to answer my question. don't come to play if you're a coward.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

that's not what i asked, is it. you're just spitting out liberal agenda. why can't people be responsible and not get pregnant in the first place?

Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz

It's going to cost you more money not to pay for people's irresponsibility whether you want to or not. Do you want to pay more money or less?

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

family values means taking care of MY family, not yours.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

why should i pay for people's irresponsibility? if you are so much smarter than me, you should be able to answer my question.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

"I don't know why I even tried talking sense to him." can't answer my question, huh?

Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz

I don't know why I even tried talking sense to him. He has not said anything substantial

Brianna Jackson
Brianna Jackson

Shocker! Another idiot making stereotypes about Black people! Good thing I've got a thick skin. Almost as thick as your head.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

answer, my question, luiz. why should i pay for people's irresponsibility?

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

if you are not responsible to not get pregnant. why should i pay for your baby?

Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz

It costs more not to have family planning. It's simple as that

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

lmao! wow! a black woman wanting tax payers to pay for stuff! shocker! that almost NEVER happens!

Brianna Jackson
Brianna Jackson

Let me just say...I'm not a skank. And neither are women who choose to have sex regularly. If a man could get pregnant this entire fiasco would not even be an issue. Shit would be paid for.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

calling me dense means i have shut down your argument.

Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz

You're obviously dense and assuming women are skanks

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

"Wouldn't it be better if they are given condoms? Rather than having another baby and costing more in tax dollars" why can't they be adults and make good decisions instead of asking taxpayers to pay for their laziness and mistakes?

Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz

They are going to have sex regardless. That's human nature. It's better to prevent it than treat the symptom

Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz

Wouldn't it be better if they are given condoms? Rather than having another baby and costing more in tax dollars

Julie Clemens
Julie Clemens

And every unemployed person has no interest in getting a job...

Blake Wilson
Blake Wilson

March to Collin County; I'm sure Frisco and McKinney can afford it.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

"In Dallas County, for example, the TxPEP research shows 225,029 low-income women need help paying for family planning services and reproductive healthcare." if you're too poor to afford a condom, stop having sex. skanks.

Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz

yes because everyone with a job has access to care

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

maybe they can get off their backs and go get a job? maybe?

Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz

And it'll end up costing more than what the cuts were worth.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

3/5 Vaginas today.  Missing a lot of the gusto that usually come with these.  I cant believe I didnt get to read how perry wants to control vaginas (he does) or how the house repubs all hell bent on removing all rights women have to their vaginas.  I guess you are being nice today, and Im ok with that since its the Rangers home opener.  Plus it must've been hard to be scathing about vagina control after writing about the Aryans all week

JackJett
JackJett

When will women learn that old white men with ultra saggy ball sacks know what is best for the health of women.  Ladies should stay in the kitchen and trust that christian values will determine what your health needs might be.  Who knows what is best for a Vagina than a man named Dick Armey.

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

I think a lot of the 'Christians' in our state government are in for a nasty surprise when then pass from this world and see who's gate they end up in front of.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@JackJett Little-known rule of procedure on the House floor: the saggier your balls are, the more time you get to talk. 

itchyjack
itchyjack

@Anna_Merlan @ScottsMerkinAryans don't particularly care for vaginas.  They like to act like they like vaginas; but really, they like boys and their toys.  Why do you think they like short hair/shaved heads and don't mind being in prison?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Anna_Merlan @ScottsMerkin from reading your articles, I gleaned that they must like them because they kill you if you take a fellow Aryans girlfriend.  See I do read everything you write

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @oakclifftownie  Its change of life at our house ...The best approach here is to just STAY OUT OF THE WAY .

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@ScottsMerkin I'm sort of hard to avoid, but thank you, Merk.

I wonder, though, if they like vaginas all that much or if they're just super enthused about killing each other. Doesn't seem to take much. 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@oakclifftownie  

Yep.  At my house I went and hid for about three years ... 8-D

You might want to make sure that you always have chocolate within reach ...  Here honey, have some chocolate ...

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