Cutting Family Planning in Texas

October 1, 2012 • Family Planning, Reproductive Health, United States, Daily Email Recap

In 2011, Texas cut funding for family planning services by 2/3rds — from $111 million to $37.9 million for a 2-year period. The article was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. If you are interested in the references, please click through the link.

Cutting Family Planning in Texas

Kari White, Ph.D., Daniel Grossman, M.D., Kristine Hopkins, Ph.D., and Joseph E. Potter, Ph.D.

N Engl J Med 2012; 367:1179-1181September 27, 2012

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1207920

Four fundamental principles drive public funding for family planning. First, unintended pregnancy is associated with negative health consequences, including reduced use of prenatal care, lower breast-feeding rates, and poor maternal and neonatal outcomes.1,2 Second, governments realize substantial cost savings by investing in family planning, which reduces the rate of unintended pregnancies and the costs of prenatal, delivery, postpartum, and infant care.3 Third, all Americans have the right to choose the timing and number of their children. And fourth, family planning enables women to attain their educational and career goals and families to provide for their children. These principles led to the bipartisan passage of Title X in 1970 and later to other federal- and state-funded programs supporting family planning services for low-income women.

Despite the demonstrated positive effects of these programs, political support and funding for them have begun to erode. Recently, efforts to expand access to contraception through the Affordable Care Act ignited a broad debate regarding the proper role of government in this sphere, and proposals have been put forth to eliminate Title X.

Several states have already taken substantial steps to reduce public funding for family planning and other reproductive health services. In 2011, Texas enacted the most radical legislation to date, cutting funding for family planning services by two thirds – from $111 million to $37.9 million for the 2-year period. The remaining funds were allocated through a three-tiered priority system, with organizations that provide comprehensive primary care taking precedence over those providing only family planning services.

The Texas legislature also imposed new restrictions on abortion care and reauthorized the exclusion of organizations affiliated with abortion providers from participation in the state Medicaid waiver program, the Women’s Health Program (WHP), which was due for renewal in January 2012. Although the exclusion had not previously been enforced by the state Health and Human Services Commission, it runs contrary to federal policy, and the renewal of the WHP was declined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In 2010, the WHP provided services to nearly 106,000 women 18 years of age or older with incomes below 185% of the federal poverty level who had been legal residents of Texas for at least 5 years. Almost half of these women were served at Planned Parenthood clinics.

To read the full article, click here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1207920


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