University of Texas and Ibis research on family planning budget cuts in Texas published in the New England Journal of Medicine
September 27, 2012 – Texas has enacted the most extreme restrictions on reproductive health services of any state to date, slashing funding for family planning by two-thirds and threatening the survival of the state's Medicaid waiver program. The number of funded family planning organizations in Texas has been reduced from 76 to 41, and some organizations that continue to receive funding have lost up to 75% of their budgets.
Together with colleagues at the University of Texas, Ibis is conducting a three-year evaluation of the impact of these restrictions and published preliminary research findings on September 27 in the New England Journal of Medicine. These results are based on interviews with 56 providers from across the state, and showed that the funding cuts has forced clinics to shut down and reduce services, and limited women’s abilities to make decisions that affect their health and well being.
The research shows that the funding cuts could lead to higher rates of unintended pregnancy: Clinics have restricted access to effective and long-acting contraceptive methods, like the IUD, because they have higher upfront costs, and are also providing fewer birth control pill packs per visit. Limited access to higher costs of services have a detrimental effect on vulnerable groups, especially immigrants and adolescents, who may not be able to afford services and therefore forego contraception and other preventive services as a result. Over the next three years the study team will assess the impact of the cuts on family clinic budgets and services, women’s contraceptive use and experience seeking care, the total number of unintended pregnancies and births among different populations, and the number of abortions. Although the cuts have had detrimental effects on low-income clients seeking family planning services, studying the impact will provide valuable information to ultimately inform policymakers as debates about contraceptive access and government spending continue.
You can read the full article here.