Women’s Health in Texas: A Need for Comprehensive Care

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Funding for women’s reproductive health has been drastically reduced in the state of Texas. In 2013, the state eliminated Planned Parenthood as an option for state Medicaid beneficiaries as part of their fee-for-service family planning program. Planned Parent is the largest non-profit organization in the United States that provides reproductive health care and delivers sex education to men and women worldwide. In 2004, Planned Parenthood Federation of America has reported that 4.5 million men, women as well as teenagers have benefited from their sexual and reproductive healthcare as well as education. Without access to the services that Planned Parenthood provides, the need remains high and many women are limited in the health care they have access to and may go without routine, preventive services.

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Source: Guttmacher Institute

The impact of doing so in a state with such great need should not be overlooked. As depicted above, the unintended and teen pregnancy rates; rates of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and new HIV diagnoses; and percent of uninsured women in need of publicly funded contraception are all higher in Texas than the national average. Women in Texas need to access care, and funding must be restored to Planned Parenthood.

Claims that the organization was misusing fetal tissue initiated the argument for and success of defunding, but these have since been proven false. Furthermore, since abortions are not legally funded by taxpayers, defunding Planned Parenthood only prevents people from accessing important health services, such as STD testing, annual reproductive exams, and prenatal care. Too many women go without these services, and the societal impacts are not slight.

This begs the question of why funding has not be restored and what must be done to see that it is. Women in Texas, and those who love, work with, or know a woman must encourage the legislature to restore funding, and in partnership with strong advocacy organizations. The Center for American Progress and National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League should all amplify their voice in support of the Planned Parenthood.

 

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Source: ThinkProgress

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “Women’s Health in Texas: A Need for Comprehensive Care”

  1. tkumarblog Says:

    Very interesting blog post! I fully agree with your position on this issue, and I think that this specific issue is representative of a much bigger issue in health care system: lack of focus on preventative health. Time and time again, we see funding being pulled away from services that aim to provide health education and prevent disease, and rather treatment/intervention-based health care becomes the focus of funding. While treatment of disease is, of course, important in our system, there is no question from the literature that, where possible, it is more economic, more beneficial, and more effective to try to prevent disease in the first place. However, I think we constantly fall victim to heath care policies being created by elected officials who are only in office for 4-8 years. The benefits of prevention and education are seen in the long-term, not within the span of one term in office. Furthermore, the creation of major research institutes and treatment facilities is a lot “sexier” to the media than health education and disease prevention strategies.

    Your example is a great one- it is far more cost effective and beneficial for health to teach women how to have sex safely, prevent unwanted pregnancies and STIs, and encourage regular screening and early identification of venereal diseases or cervical pathology, rather than to deal with all of the health, emotional, and financial ramifications of pelvic inflammatory disease, neglected or unwanted children, and complicated pregnancies. Yet, politicians will rarely consider the long-term in their policies.

    We need to start forcing our politicians to have a long-term view of health care, and make it clear to them that that is what is important to us, the voting public. Perhaps if we start to vote with this in mind, they will start to listen.

    Thanks for the post!

  2. laronjohnsonblog Says:

    This post reminds us that public health doesn’t only apply to viral epidemics in Africa or trendy international anti-vacciantion campaigns. Here in the US women’s reproductive rights are absolutely a public health issue.
    The costs of unwanted pregnancies funded by the public purse run into the billions every year. Much cheaper would be to simply provide abortions and family planning funding to prevent this unnecessary expenditures. Many states like Louisiana and Oklahoma distort access to wanted women’s services by mandating, at best, questionable practices such as requiring women to view fetal ultrasounds or by making up to 3 trips to a provider prior to having an abortion. This proves to be prohibitive for poor working class women who may or may not bale to arrange for transportation and time off of work to travel long distances to a provider.
    Fortunately, the US Supreme Court has struck down the Texas Law that requires doctors at ambulatory surgery centers providing abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, under the guise of increasing the safety of women’s health procedures. Though this Supreme Court decision, in and of itself, neither restores nor increases Planned Parenthood funding, having a legal basis for existing and operating without the threat of overly exigent regulations does bolster the support and availability women’s health services provided by both Planned Parenthood and all providers of Women’s Health Services.

  3. mstodoka Says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful post and for bringing attention to this crucial issue. I agree with your position that defunding Planned Parenthood, based in part on false and self-serving propaganda, has hurt the women and man of Texas. You write that defunding Planned Parenthood only prevents people from accessing important health services, such as STD testing, annual reproductive exams, and prenatal care. Too many women go without these services, and societal impacts are not slight. I would offer further evidence to support your point in the form of a recent CNN Health article – ‘Maternal deaths down globally, up in U.S, double in Texas’. Citing a study published in the September issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the article reports that Texas saw a 100%+ increase in the number of maternal deaths between 2010 to 2012; going from 72 to 148 deaths. In 2014, there were 135 maternal deaths reported.
    The sharp increase coincides with the successful vote to defund Planned Parenthood and family planning services. Sarah Wheat, chief external affairs office for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, provided in a written statement, “Women have been left out in the cold, without being able to obtain regular healthcare screenings, or birth control to space their pregnancies, and delays in their initial pregnancy test and prenatal referral – all of which are harmful to women’s health.”
    Planned Parenthood provides services to the underserved communities that are especially vulnerable to poor health outcomes when shortsighted public health policy is implemented. I would also encourage the people of Texas to call upon their legislators to put the health and wellbeing of women before their personal interests and beliefs, and restore funding to Planned Parenthood.
    Thank you again for this insightful post!

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/24/health/maternal-mortality-trends-double-texas/index.html

  4. Rohan Shamapant Says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful post centering a largely populous southern state and its tribulations with reproductive rights. I was curious if you have seen the data on maternal mortality rates in Texas as a repercussion of several state-based policies around healthcare. In short, the maternal mortality rate has doubled in less than 3 years.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/20/texas-maternal-mortality-rate-health-clinics-funding

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