Teen Abortion Rate Skyrocketed In Texas After State Slashed Planned Parenthood Funds

As Senate Republicans plot to push through a healthcare bill that will eliminate all funding to Planned Parenthood for at least a year, a study from Texas A&M threatens to dismantle GOP claims that more abortion clinics equal more abortions.
The study, conducted by Analisa Packham, who's now an assistant professor at Miami University in Ohio, examined the number of teen abortions in Texas following the state's decision to cut funding for family planning by two-thirds and shut the doors on 82 women's health clinics, according to The Huffington Post.
While many of the state's lawmakers, including then-Gov. Rick Perry, thought that they'd see a drastic decrease in abortions across the state, the study found that abortions among teens actually increased by 3% over the course of three years, an uptick the study predicts wouldn't have occurred if the clinics were still available.
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"Although the primary stated objective of the funding cuts was to decrease abortion incidents, I find little evidence that reducing family planning funding achieved this goal," Packham wrote.
Medical professionals seem to agree. Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper, an OB-GYN in Maryland, told The Huffington Post that "the abortion rates nationally have decreased and are at a historic low" and that Texas, too, followed that trend until it eliminated funding for clinics like Planned Parenthood.
It's important to remind everyone that Planned Parenthood doesn't just offer abortions; it also offers life-saving care such as breast exams, cancer screenings, STD tests, HIV tests, hormone therapy for transgender patients, pelvic exams, and pregnancy support. That's right, Planned Parenthood helps give pregnant women the medical attention and resources they need.
Research gathered by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project found that abortions in rural areas skyrocketed, with some counties seeing up to a 191% increase in abortion rates. Of course, not every county saw such huge upswings. Counties that were over 100 miles away from the nearest clinic saw sharp declines in the procedures.
But just because the abortion rates in certain counties dropped didn't mean that teens weren't still having sex and getting pregnant. Packham's research also found that cuts to family planning services led to an increased teen birth rate by 3.4% over a four-year period.
To demonstrate the financial consequences, The Austin Chronicle broke down the cost of each birth (2,200) to an average taxpayer ($27,000) and found that the spending cuts actually wound up costing Texas $80 million.
Texas, one of the reddest states of all, serves as a great example of what the nation can expect to see if the GOP's dream of defunding Planned Parenthood comes true. Fewer resources and less sex education will ultimately lead to a higher number of abortions and births — and with massive cuts to Medicaid, children and their mothers won't be able to afford the care they need.
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