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Family planning fight in Texas

In 2010, Republicans won a decisive majority in the US House of Representatives and in many state legislatures across the nation. Lawmakers in several of those states have cut funding to Planned Parenthood and other family planning organizations. That’s the case most dramatically in Texas, where the budget for family planning services has been slashed by tens of millions of dollars for 2012 and 2013. Need to Know’s Mona Iskander reports.

Update: March 15, 2013

The battle in Texas didn’t end with the budget cuts and clinic closings. In the months since, Planned Parenthood and women’s health advocates have been protesting and organizing. The Texas Tribune has followed developments in the state house. On December 7, 2012, Tribune editor Emily Ramshaw had a story in The New York Times entitled: “Likely Increase in Births Has Some Lawmakers Revisiting Cuts.” Indeed, it seems those fears were well-founded and the resultant numbers convincing:

The Health and Human Services Commissions has projected that, because of funding cuts, unplanned pregnancies in Texas will add $273 million in costs to taxpayers. The Texas Legislative Budget Board also estimated that the cuts would lead to 284,000 women losing family planning services, resulting in 20,000 additional unplanned births at a cost upward of $200 million. — Salon, “Texas may restore some family planning funds”

The Texas Tribune has stayed on top of the whole debate, recently hosting a live conversation about family planning and women’s health with state Reps. Donna Howard, D-Austin, and Sarah Davis, R-West University Place. As the situation stands, the lawmakers are only discussing restoring some of the women’s health funding. But that money would not be going to Planned Parenthood. Those clinics, which according to a George Washington University health policy study had serviced nearly 50% of Texas women seeking aid from the Women’s Health Program, are out of the picture in Texas.

View our Web Extra interview with Emily Ramshaw and check up on the status of state reproductive laws and family planning funding by visiting The Guttmacher Institute’s state by state information.

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