Planned Parenthood is a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping feminist and health organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.
Since January 1, 2013, 127,000 women across the state of Texas have been affected by the $73 million budget cuts that the Texas Legislature passed; removing Planned Parenthood’s access to public funds.
This affects all parts of the Texas community. It is preventing lower income men, women, and children from getting the care that they need.
Rick Perry is glad that they aren’t getting funding anymore because he doesn’t want to send taxpayers’ dollars to fund clinics that are affiliated with abortion care providers. Planned Parenthood fits into this category because it uses 1% of its budget on abortion care.
The Health and Human Resources Commission has said that other clinics are going to be able to treat thousands of more people and that we don’t need Planned Parenthood; but there have been studies done to contradict this. In fact, most of these clinics will not be able to expand due to limited resources and staff. Their lack of ability to provide comprehensive healthcare services to Texas citizens will only be worsened by the fact that they have even less funding now than they did in years past.
With that said, abortion is not the only service Planned Parenthood provides. They provide essential services as well, such as: screenings and treatment for STDs, cervical cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and vaginitis; as well as providing regular health screenings, contraceptive care, body image work, emergency contraceptive care, and prenatal care to qualified residents. They provide many vital services to men, women, and children in Texas.
I am deeply concerned by your actions to cut the State Family Planning Budget by $73 million and remove Planned Parenthood from receiving any public funding. By doing this, an estimated 127,000 women will lose access to reproductive healthcare in the state of Texas.
According to a poll conducted by Texas Freedom Network, 2/3 of voters in Texas think that all women in the state deserve access to birth control and family planning regardless of their income. This means 68% of the people living in the state that you represent don’t agree with your budget cuts. 57% of voters opposed the budget cuts, including 49% of Republicans. That is almost half of the political party that you represent in the state of Texas – a significant concern for a governor in a largely conservative state.
The Health and Human Services Commission said that Planned Parenthood only served about 40% of the woman who are provided for under the Women’s Health Program, but the Texas Tribune has done research which concludes that the real number of women who used Planned Parenthood could be up to 80% of the women who are involved with the WHP. They also state that under the new program, thousands more women will be able to be covered. Yet, a study conducted by George Washington’s University’s School of Public Health found that many of the non Planned Parenthood providers were already close to their capacity limits due to staffing and resource limits. This almost 2/3 budget cut is requesting a lot from other providers by asking that they provide services to attend to thousands of more patients without any budget increases, which will be nearly impossible for healthcare providers.
The Health and Human Services Commission released a study showing that there was going to be enough care for women in the WHP, and that the numbers of women enrolled in the WHP could actually sustainably increase. However, the study was completed after the Health and Human Services Commission only contacted 44% of clinics that are qualifying under the program. The agency hasn’t released a full list yet of providers, which raises a lot of concerns about the accuracy of the information they are releasing.
Lastly, the Health and Human Services commission estimated that between 2014 and 2015, women will deliver an estimated 23,760 more babies than they would have due to the reduction of availability of state subsidized healthcare. These children are going to be conceived by the people who need the Women’s Health Program, meaning most of them are low income women. This is going to increase the number of children that need Medicaid provided for them and could increase taxes by up to $273 million.
As such, I request :
-that you consider the women affected by these budget cuts. I want a legitimate survey of the constituents who are directly affected by these cuts: constituents who have used public healthcare in the past. The study should ask questions such as: how constituents felt about the cuts before they happened, what constituents have had to do to adjust to budget cuts, if constituents they believe that the money for Planned Parenthood was vital, and if their healthcare needs affect the everyday lives of constituents.
-that there are community committees made to oversee these surveys, and also a committee for women’s health made of community members to pinpoint the exact health risks involved in Planned Parenthood losing funding.
-that you contemplate the many flaws that have been found in this ‘new system’ through the research that has already been conducted. I would like to see more factual research conducted that is not influenced by partisan swings, and clearly reflects the costs and benefits of both the new and the old system of funding public healthcare services.
-that the Health and Human Services Commission be required to release the complete list of clinics and what they 44% that were surveyed responded.
Ultimately, until further research is conducted in a legitimate way, I request that funding be given back to Planned Parenthood.