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Need to Know: Dec. 7, 2012: The family planning fight

This week's host, Scott Simon. Photo: Will O’Leary

Need to Know examines how the Texas legislature has slashed funding to family planning programs because conservative lawmakers believe these programs may encourage women to get abortions.

Anchor Scott Simon interviews Pam Belluck, a health and science writer for The New York Times, who looks at what’s happening to these programs in other states.

And from “American Voices,” Judy Norsigian, one of the authors of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” provides an historical account of women’s health policy debates over the past 40 years.

Read this week’s transcript.

What’s on this week:

The family planning fight

Republican lawmakers in Texas have cut the state’s family planning budget by two-thirds, forcing many clinics that focus on women’s health to close across the state.

Interview: Pam Belluck

Health and science writer for The New York Times Pam Belluck sheds some light on how state family planning budgets are faring across the nation.

American Voices: “Our Bodies, Ourselves”

A look through the historical debate over women’s health issues with author Judy Norsigian.

Web exclusive: Interview with Emily Ramshaw

Editor of the Texas Tribune Emily Ramshaw explains how family planning in Texas was once seen by Republican lawmakers as a fiscally conservative program.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.



  • Sue Fryer

    I would like to say that there is a natural method that is safe, because it is natural and extremely effective when avoiding pregnancy and effective for couples to know when to time intercourse to achieve pregnancy…called, the Billings Ovulation Method™. It has been ignored and ridiculed by Planned Parenthood even though it has been in the world since 1953 and is within the family planning options of China and India and almost all the countries of the or
    Sue Fryer, Vancouver Island, Canada

  • simonsfriend

    I realized this morning that the Republican reductions in family planning funding (for all types) is just going against their own long term interests. People who tend to use free or low-cost family planning tend to be lower-income, many without group insurance. So cutting family planning means more babies born to low-income families. Which means more public funding is needed to support them. And long-term, since low-income people tend to vote with the Democratic party, this produces more Democratic voters. So the Republicans are acting against their own interest.

  • Janice Hoeschler

    Good for Texas to cut ” Planned Parenthood” funding. They are the BIGGEST ABORTION provider in the WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dano

    Just Outrageous! The Republicans are only interested in their wealth and their friend’s wealth. You know the old saying: “screw you, I got mine”