What is the Impact of Defunding Planned Parenthood in Texas?

By Charlotte Cooper (Flickr: I Stand With Planned Parenthood) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wiki

The public defunding of the Texas branch of Planned Parenthood could have led to a decrease in effective types of female birth control and resulted in an increase in Medicaid-paid childbirth among women who previously used injectable contraceptives, according to a new research study. The information comes from a peer-review study done by the University of Texas at Austin.

The Study

The results of the study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine on February 3rd, 2016. The research team used administrative records to assess the rates of the provision of contraceptives, as well as deliveries covered by Medicaid from 2011 through 2014. These dates were before and after Texas excluded Planned Parenthood and its affiliates from a publicly funded women’s health program.

The team found since Planned Parenthood was excluded, 35 percent fewer claims were made for long-acting, reversible birth control, such as implants and IUDs. There were 31 percent less claims made for injectable birth control such as Depo Provera. In contrast, no big changes were found in the provision of short-acting hormonal birth control such as the pill, patches or the contraceptive ring.

Joseph Potter, director of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project and professor in the university’s Population Research Center said, “Providers who are mission-driven and have the requisite experience and knowledge are critical in providing the most effective methods of contraception- IUDs, implants and injectables.” He further said, “From a demographic perspective, this is important because these methods dramatically decrease unintended pregnancy. We also have accumulating evidence of an unmet demand for these methods in Texas.”

The study also noted there was a 27 percent rise in the rate of babies being delivered and paid for by Medicaid, among women who received injectable contraceptives prior to funding being barred for Planned Parenthood.

Dr. Amanda Stevenson, PhD in Sociology at the university said, “This study isolates the effect of the exclusion not only on the delivery of services, but also on subsequent deliveries paid by Medicaid. We examined differences between counties that had Planned Parenthood affiliates versus those that did not to determine how the public was affected once affiliates could no longer use public funds to provide contraceptive services.”

In 2013, the Women’s Health Program was replaced in a large part, by the wholly state-funded Texas Women’s Health Program. Both of these programs provided services to women who were legal Texas residents between the ages of 18 and 44, who had incomes at or below 185 percent the federal poverty level.

Dr. Stevenson further said, “The U.S. continues to have higher rates of unintended pregnancies than most rich nations, and we know that U.S. and Texas women face barriers as they try to access preventative services. It’s a public health issue that Texas women struggle to achieve their reproductive goals.”


Stevenson and Potter co-authored the study, “Effect of removal of Planned Parenthood from Texas women’s health program,” with Imelda Flores-Vasquez and Richard Allgeyer from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and Peter Schenkkan an attorney of Graves, Dougherty and Moody. Funding for the study was provided by the Susan T. Buffett Foundation.


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