A little more than three years after Texas effectively defunded Planned Parenthood by cutting funding to any organization that offers abortions, an Austin-based research team has released a report that shows how much women are affected when women’s health programs are cut. And the numbers are about as dismal as you might expect.
The study, which was performed by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at UT Austin and published yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine, shows a significant decrease in the number of women who filed claims for long-acting reversible contraceptives, like IUDs and implants, two of the most effective forms of birth control available. Two years before Planned Parenthood funding was cut from the program on Jan. 1. 2013, 1,042 women filed claims for LARCs under the state’s Medicaid Women’s Health Program. By the end of 2014, that number dropped by 35.5 percent, to a mere 672 women. Those figures are just as bad for women who use injectable contraception — within the same timeframe, those claims dropped from 6,832 to 4,709 (or by 31.1 percent).
Unsurprisingly, the study shows a 1.9 percent increase in the birthing rate in counties that once had state-funded Planned Parenthood clinics during that same time period of 2011 to 2014.
If there were any remaining doubts about how cutting Planned Parenthood funding affects women, those should be pretty much cleared up by this new data. When Texas removed Planned Parenthood from its state Medicaid family-planning program, low-income women who qualified for the program were no longer able to afford some of the most highly effective contraception options. And the subsequent consequence was an uptick in the birthrate.
Even after decades of dealing with the pro-abortion crowd, I’m still shocked and appalled at the way they treat childbirth like a disease. I also find it odd that the party of science remains vehemently opposed to the natural order of things.
What led me to check out the article, then the study it references, was this tweet:
— Cosmopolitan (@Cosmopolitan) February 4, 2016
See? Having babies is bad. So bad, in fact, it requires a sad-face emoji.
The Cosmo writer’s conclusion that all doubt had been removed about the link between birth rate and Planned Parenthood funding tickled my skeptic bone so I decided to look at the study itself. I had to wade through a few pages before I found the money line:
Although data are lacking on intendedness of pregnancy, it is likely that many of these pregnancies were unintended, since the rates of childbirth among these women increased in the counties that were affected by the exclusion and decreased in the rest of the state
Translation: “We’re not at all sure whether the pregnancies were wanted or unwanted, but we have a bias to confirm here people!”
Birth rates in the U.S. were low when the economy was really bad. Now that is less bad (that’s as generous as I can be on that subject), they’re moving up a bit.
So that could be one of many explanations.
There is also the fact that abortion rates have been dropping for a while, long before the Planned Parenthood funding brouhaha even hit the news.
We could do this dance for hours and there would only be one certain conclusion: the study cited in the Cosmo article has no certain conclusion.