Add your info above if you provide reproductive health care including planned parenthood. We want women in the USA of all economic status to have access to reproductive health care services.
A 2013 fact-finding report from the Nuestro Texas campaign chronicled the devastating impact on Latina women living in poverty in the Lower Rio Grande Valley after 28 percent of the reproductive health clinics in the state closed and those that stayed open had to reduce services and increase fees. (The author of this article is a former employee of the Center for Reproductive Rights, one of the groups that’s part of the Nuestro Texas campaign, but she had no involvement with the report.)
The stories in the report are tragic: A woman named Brenda went without having lumps in her breast examined because the waitlist for an appointment at her local clinic was so long and the $50 fee too expensive. Ida, who has HPV, which can cause cervical cancer, and cysts on her cervix that had to be surgically removed, had to choose between getting the Pap test her doctors recommended and buying her children food. Mayda didn’t have hundreds of dollars for a mammogram, so she went four years after lumps were discovered in her breasts without knowing whether she had cancer. Daniela waited six months for a mammogram appointment, but the clinic didn’t have the equipment by the time she got one. After her local clinic lost its funding, Fatima went on and off of birth control depending on when she could get some brought from Mexico. Many women reported traveling across the border for treatment, in fact; Adriana couldn’t afford to have her ovarian cysts removed in the U.S. so she went to Mexico, swimming across the river to get back to her family each time because she is undocumented.
Texas’ cuts resulted in 144,000 women losing access to family planning services. Texas Republicans tried to restore the funding after Medicaid spending spiked because more women became eligible due to unintended pregnancies. But instead of giving it to the family planning clinics that survived, they directed the funds to primary care providers who often lack the capacity to meet reproductive health needs in rural and poor areas. Most primary care providers lack the expertise and efficiency of family planning clinics, so cancer screenings and long-acting contraception have become less available.
Texas lost 82 family planning clinics by 2014, a third of them Planned Parenthoods, and learned the hard way that once you dismantle your reproductive health infrastructure, it is very difficult to put things back together. Even after restoring funding, the state is serving half the women it did before the cuts.
The fact is, our government has outsourced much of the reproductive health safety net to Planned Parenthood.
There is not another system with sufficient capacity, let alone name-recognition, where those in need can go for affordable care. This was illustrated when Louisiana tried to defend its attempt to defund Planned Parenthood in court by providing a list of 2,000 providers the state claimed provided family planning services – it included dermatologists, dentists and nursing home caregivers.
The corrected list had only 29 providers on it.
Proponents of the Medicaid ban know perfectly well that thousands of patients will go without contraception or cancer screenings if their local Planned Parenthood closes – they just don’t care.
Because abortion opponents have little hope of recriminalizing abortion, they’ve used economic attacks to make abortion unavailable to the poor.
If they have to take away additional medical care in service of that goal, so be it.