Archive for the ‘Contraception’ Category

I notice that our dear friend Amazona asks, “Just curious—does anyone know what impact losing state funding has had on Planned Parenthood activity in Texas?” Well, since you asked…

Before answering her question, we should probably clear up one thing. She seems to be under the impression that Texas defunded Planned Parenthood clinics only since October 2015. Ergo, the span of four months is not long enough to demonstrate any effect on pregancies since it takes longer than that to make a human baby. Of course, she’s wrong again. Not about gestation, but about when Planned Parenthood clinics began to lose funding in Texas.

The fact is, Since Texas slashed funding to Planned Parenthood in 2011, more than half the state’s abortion clinics have shuttered — and data show births among poor women have surged.

You see, Amazona? It was 2011, not October 2015. And some folks have actually studied the situation, as opposed to making up suppositions off the top of their heads to support their ideology. You should try it sometime.

Since Texas slashed funding to Planned Parenthood in 2011, more than half the state’s abortion clinics have shuttered — and data show births among poor women have surged.

Researchers looked at fertility trends among women who qualified for birth control through the state’s public family planning programs in the two years before and after Texas lawmakers booted Planned Parenthood from its payroll. Each woman lived in a county that lost a Planned Parenthood clinic and had, at some point, received an injectable contraceptive from an affiliate before it closed.

The group’s birth rate shot up.

Between 2011 and 2014, the number of these births, covered by Medicaid, climbed 27 percent, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. (Medicaid coverage for healthy pregnancies — prenatal care, labor and delivery — typically costs at least $8,000 per baby.)

The birth increase coincided with a 36-percent drop in claims for long-acting contraceptives, including implants and intrauterine devices — meaning significantly fewer women started using what gynecologists consider the most effective form of birth control. Claims for injectable contraceptives fell 31 percent. No significant change emerged in women obtaining birth control pills and contraceptive rings.

Joseph Potter, an economist at the University of Texas at Austin who co-authored the study, said there’s no way to prove the Planned Parenthood closures sparked a baby boom.

Perhaps more women simply decided, at higher-than-previous rates, to have babies. Or perhaps they couldn’t find or fund another contraceptive shot, which need to be taken every three months to stay effective. Perhaps they simply lost access to reliable birth control, in general.

“You’ve got a very strong signal that there was an impact of [the Texas exclusion of Planned Parenthood],” Potter said. “The thing about this study, it more or less contradicts the claim you can’t implement that policy at no cost, without hurting people.”

The study, which comes as the national debate over abortion rages on and Planned Parenthood stays firmly in the spotlight, received funding from the Susan T. Buffett Foundation, a Planned Parenthood supporter. Potter said the foundation wasn’t involved in the research and did not ask to see the study.

In 2011, Texas became the first state to block funding to Planned Parenthood, cutting its family-planning funds by 66 percent and redirecting the rest to general health-care providers. After excluding Planned Parenthood, a qualified provider under federal law, the state lost all federal funding for its women’s health program. The new, entirely state-run Texas Women’s Health Program bars funds from clinics that offer abortions.

In 2013, former Gov. Rick Perry pushed harder to quash abortion access in Texas, signing a law requiring all providers to meet ambulatory surgical center standards and physicians to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The move delivered another financial blow to women’s health clinics across the state, forcing many to close their doors. From 2012 to 2014, the number of abortion providers in Texas shrank from 42 to 18.

“To be clear, my goal, and the goal of many of those joining me here today, is to make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past,” Perry said of the policy.

Proponents of the regulations under House Bill 2 say they wanted to protect women’s health. Abortion rights supporters, however, say the mandates are unnecessary, expensive and an “undue burden” on women’s rights. Some Texas women now have to drive 250 miles to get the procedure.

The Supreme Court is slated to review the law this year, with a hearing scheduled for March.

The trend Texas started carries national implications, Potter said. Alabama, Arkansas, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Louisiana and Utah have also taken steps to block public money from Planned Parenthood clinics. Ohio is now considering similar action.

The Congressional Budget Office said in a report last year that cutting off Planned Parenthood from federal money would increase public spending by an estimated $130 million over 10 years. The clinics serve more than 40 percent of women who receive birth control from safety-net providers in 18 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit reproductive health advocacy organization, and more than half of such women in 11 states.

The CBO, a nonpartisan watchdog, asserted that defunding Planned Parenthood, which counts roughly 2.6 million women as clients, would lead to more unplanned births as patients lost access to birth control.

Though Republicans in Texas and across the country have long spoken out against Planned Parenthood, their efforts to defund the organization found new energy last year after anti-abortion activists released video of Planned Parenthood employees discussing the cost of donating fetal tissue.

David Daleiden, the filmmaker behind the videos, claimed the organization was selling fetal tissue for profit – a charge the organization has denied.

Eleven states opened investigations into Planned Parenthood. None found evidence of wrongdoing – and last week, in a surprise move, a Texas grand jury indicted Daleiden on felony charges related to creating a fake ID and trying to buy human tissue. He turned himself over to authorities on Thursday.

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Just took a look at the comments on the Blogs For Victory “Never Again” post, in which Leo Pusateri insanely equates Planned Parenthood with the Nazi Germany genocide of European jews. Apparently poor Leo is completely unaware that real genocide actually has occurred in the intervening years since World War II ended. But I don’t want to talk about Leo as the comments thread is much more interesting than his original post. And I guess the moderator is on vacation because rusty’s comments haven’t been deleted, leaving a nonsensical half-a-thread in its wake. Nice to see some actual give and take. It’s all been pretty civil, except of course for tiredoflibbs. Good ol’ tired is nothing, if not consistent. Always the first–and in this case, the only poster–to resort to name calling. Attaboy, tired! Have a treat!

Regarding rusty’s point that the loss of Planned Parenthood clinics would, in many places, result in decreased family planning and contraceptive services, thereby leading to increased instances of pregnancies and abortions, one can look at the experience in Texas.

In 2011, Texas legislators excluded Planned Parenthood from taxpayer funding. The state has yet to make up for the loss.

The number of women served by clinics within the Texas Women’s Health Program dropped significantly between Fiscal Years 2011 and 2013, when the funding changes took effect. According to a Texas Health and Human Services Commission study, there was an average 25 percent drop statewide, with two of 11 HHSC regions reporting more than 50 percent drops.

As a result of this change, some Texas patients had trouble finding alternate sources of family planning and women’s health, in part because other providers in their area had not previously been providing specialized family planning services and had to first get expensive, time-consuming training in those areas.

“That high quality family planning is very difficult to integrate into primary care without specific programs to do that,” Dr. Janet Realini, the chair of the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition, a coalition of organizations working to assure access to preventive women’s care.

Realini did praise the state government, however, for “stepping up” and trying to compensate for the lost Medicaid funds.

Rep. Jim Keffer, a Republican state senator in Texas who worked on the defunding measures, also acknowledged that the state is still working to address lost provider capacity, including recently introducing a new website to help women access family planning programs.

“As Planned Parenthood has been going through their spiral here, we have been bolstering what Texas can offer through this other network,” Keffer said. “You can’t just close it off and wipe your hands of the situation because comprehensive women’s health care has to still be provided.”

A related issue is that some women might not go to a general practitioner — even one that introduced family planning into their practice — because they prefer going to a specialist.

“Some women prefer to go to dedicated family planning providers to get dedicated contraceptive services,” said Amanda Stevenson, a researcher at the University of Austin’s Texas Policy Evaluation Project working on the impact of excluding Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program in Texas.

Stevenson noted a 2013 review from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health policy group, which found that women say they prefer going to specialists for this care because of “the respectful, confidential, affordable and high-quality care they receive from them.”

I know it’s hard for the Bob Eisenhowers of the world to believe, but according to those who have actually studied the situation, some women prefer going to dedicated family planning providers instead of their primary care physicians–assuming they have a primary care physician. But then Bob Eisenhower has probably never had to worry about his health care ever. In fact, it would not surprise me to find out that Bob was a life-long civil service employee like so many conservatives who can’t conceive of life without guaranteed health care. (At least, this is my direct experience with conservatives; their entire lifestyle–including their healthcare–has been funded on the taxpayer dime. I know some might view this as anecdotal, but apparently that is all it takes to make a definitive judgement about the entire lot of ’em.)

The other fact that Bob Eisenhower ignores is that 20 states–all of them governed by conservatives like Bob–rejected the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, leaving an estimated 6.5 million Americans still without health insurance, and mostly without access to healthcare except in dire emergencies. It’s simple to sit back in your easy chair and pontificate about how easy it is for anyone–anyone!–to access health care whenever they need it, but that’s just not the case. And either Bob Eisenhower knows this and is being a tad deceitful, or he is woefully ignorant.

Not only that, “teen abortion rate dropped 35 percent from 2009 to 2012 in those counties served by the initiative.”

From the State Of Colorado:

DENVERThursday, July 3, 2014 — Gov. John Hickenlooper announced today the teen birth rate in Colorado dropped 40 percent from 2009 through 2013, driven by a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment initiative that helps low-income women get long-acting reversible contraceptives.

“Unintended pregnancies, especially among teenagers, carry health risks for mother and baby,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, department executive director and chief medical officer. “Our Colorado Family Planning Initiative has helped thousands of young women who weren’t ready to have children avoid pregnancy with affordable, safe and effective contraceptives.”

The Colorado Family Planning Initiative has provided more than 30,000 intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants at low or no cost to low-income women at 68 family planning clinics across Colorado since 2009. The decline in births among young women served by these agencies accounted for three-quarters of the overall decline in the Colorado teen birth rate.

While the family planning initiative has helped thousands of young women avoid unintended pregnancy, it also has helped reduce social and economic costs to Colorado. The teen abortion rate dropped 35 percent from 2009 to 2012 in those counties served by the initiative. The infant caseload for Colorado WIC, a program that provides nutrition education and support to low-income women and their babies, fell 23 percent from 2008 to 2013. And Colorado saved millions in health care expenditures associated with teen births, $42.5 million in public funds in 2010 alone based on the latest available data.

“This initiative has saved Colorado millions of dollars,” said Gov. Hickenlooper. “But more importantly, it has helped thousands of young Colorado women continue their education, pursue their professional goals and postpone pregnancy until they are ready to start a family.”