TX Discovers Cost of Defunding Family Planning

Here’s the least surprising story of the year. After massively cutting state funding to family planning clinics last year, the state of Texas is now discovering that it will cost them almost four times as much because of all the unwanted pregnancies and they’re trying to figure out how to restore the funding without angering the religious right.

Using taxpayer dollars to finance family-planning services has become politically thorny in Texas, largely because of Republican lawmakers’ assertions that the women’s health clinics providing that care are affiliated with abortion providers. In the fiscal crunch of 2011, the Legislature cut the state’s family-planning budget by two-thirds, with some lawmakers claiming that they were defunding the “abortion industry.” Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, found that more than 50 family-planning clinics had closed statewide as a result.

Now, amid estimates that the cuts could lead to 24,000 additional 2014-15 births at a cost to taxpayers of $273 million, lawmakers are seeking a way to restore financing without ruffling feathers.

Several state senators have suggested earmarking $100 million in general revenue to the Community Primary Care Services Program, to be used for women’s health services. The program contracts community health clinics and nonprofit organizations to provide a range of services for poor Texans who do not qualify for other state health programs. The additional money could increase the number of patients served annually in the program to 234,000 from 64,000 and nearly double the number of participating health care organizations, to 100 from 57, according to the Department of State Health Services.

But this is only necessary because the Republicans in Texas are so weirdly focused on making sure not a dime goes to Planned Parenthood or any other organization that performs abortions.

Health care advocates say there are reasons to restore federal family-planning financing, rather than putting state dollars into primary care. But that money, which Texas relied on in previous budgets, is no longer a sure thing. Two other organizations, including Planned Parenthood, that have submitted bids to receive and distribute the federal family-planning dollars.

“The goal has always been to keep the funds out of the abortion industry,” said Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life. She hopes the expanded primary-care program will serve a broader population but said Texas Right to Life was “still investigating the participating providers to ensure none are affiliated with abortion providers.”

Yeah, because political ideology should always be more important than women’s lives.

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  • I am a horrible person for being darkly amused by this.

  • raven

    Money spent on family planning saves the state 6 times what it costs the state.

    This is common knowledge, known for decades. Texas could have looked it up on Google in a few seconds.

    Spending $235 million on family planning would save $1.32 billion.

    RIck Perry is dumb, we know that. So is Texas.

    FWIW, birth control also lowers the abortion rate. Planned Parenthood prevents more abortions in one day than the forced birthers do in a year.

  • If so, I am too, Strewth.

    It is too bad it has to be at the expense of those who were deprived of the medical attention in the first place.

  • blf

    [P]olitical ideology should always be more important than cooties.


  • raven

    Texas has the nation’s highest child poverty rate at 25%.

    This is a key statistic because children growing up in poverty are unlikely to escape poverty. The USA, contrary to myth, has low levels of economic mobility.

  • MikeMa

    Certainly would be nice to rub the right wing’s face in the cost, if not the stupidity, of what they’ve done. More unwanted, poorly cared for babies. I’ll bet more than a few of them end up costing the state money their whole lives. Well done Rick ‘stupid is my middle name’ Perry! Too bad he and the other religious morons can’t be made to carry the cost of this.

  • TGAP Dad

    I feel confident in predicting that the state of Texas will deny any connection between the rise in unwanted/unplanned births and reduction in family planning. Would it actually be so bad if we just LET them secede???

  • Olav

    The “abortion industry”?

  • “The goal has always been to keep the funds out of the abortion industry,” said Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life.

    It’s sad how they keep missing the point.

    If you want fewer abortions, make contraception and sex education more available so they don’t get pregnant in the first place. Take those things away, and you’re going to have more abortions because they couldn’t prevent it, or because teens relied on some urban legend to inform them, rather than scientific consensus.

    If you want children to be raised in a stable home, make contraception and sex education more available so that pregnancy can be a planned event, rather than an accident resulting from hormones overriding sober judgement. Take those things away, and children will be born in impoverished homes, punished for their parents’ sexual attraction to each other during a time when they didn’t have a responsible option for safe sex.

    If you want to cut down on money spent on abortions, keep abortion accessible. If you’re worried about women’s health and safety, keep abortion accessible. If you make abortion inaccessible, the black market will provide, and they’re strictly profit-driven, not safety-driven.

    And, naturally, since these are common arguments from the pro-choice side, ignorance of them makes people wonder if you’re simply feigning ignorance and want women to be subjugated by impregnation made all too easy. Some of us think women should have the freedom to choose how they want to live their lives, not to be arbitrarily saddled with an obligation at any time dictated by biology. Some people want to be ready for children before pregnancy, and anti-choice policies tend to deny them that option.

  • slc1

    Re Bronze Dog @ #9

    The born agains have no interest in preventing unwanted pregnancies. They consider pregnancy of unwed mothers to be a form of punishment for their “immoral” behavior. To the born agains, the only acceptable form of birth control is an aspirin held tightly between the knees.

  • blf

    The “abortion industry”?

    The parts are imported from mainland China, taking jobs away from Good Olde Texans. Anti-work pro-scrounging Obama won’t impose punishing tariffs, so Texas decided to take matters into their own hands.

  • Sastra

    Their “people should all get what’s coming to them” mentality is coming home to roost.

    10 teenage girls get an Abstinence-Only Sex Ed program with no birth control information. Annie is one of those girls. Annie listens carefully to the message, takes it to heart, becomes a Christian and does not have sex before marriage. The other 9 girls ignore the teachings, succumb to temptation, have unprotected sex, and get pregnant.

    The program had a 100% success rate — because it is judged by looking at Annie. As for the 9 teenage mothers, they are responsible for failing to learn. Now they have consequences they have to live with. They got what they deserved … the sluts.

    But if the purpose of program was to lower the teenage pregnancy rate and instead people decided they wanted to come up with a program which would reward the good and punish the bad — now THEY are getting what’s coming to them. Petard hoisted.

  • Yeah. Was kind of a point I was building up to with the last paragraph: They have some motives they pay lip service to, but they’re largely insincere and inconsistent about them. Arguably, some denizens of their echo chambers can claim ignorance, in which case, they would now be informed of why their sincerity is questioned.

  • Chickens. Home. Roost.

  • marcus

    I am with strewth and thescwa in my schadenfreude at the “dilemma” they have created for themselves. I am also deeply angry at the women’s lives that were compromised with some lives most probably lost due to the state’s idiotic politicization of basic health care. This is evil at its most pernicious

    I strongly believe that women have died for the stupidity of these politicians. There is innocent blood on their hands, they are despicable human beings..

  • Randomfactor

    Why are they ignoring the modest proposal made to them to simply eat the extra babies? Pressure from the Beef Lobby?

  • Regarding my comment at #13: I meant to clarify the context to be if they left the echo chamber and came here and read the arguments.

  • abb3w

    Two relevant tidbits:

    1) Polling in Texas shows widespread support for the state funding birth control for low-income women.

    2) State legislators across the US — both liberal and conservative — apparently tend to think their districts are more conservative than the districts actually are.

    Which suggests it’s not that surprising that Texas politicians might have trouble doing the sensible things most of their constituents want them to do.

  • Trebuchet

    Yeah, because political ideology should always be more important than women’s lives.

    Not to mention the lives of actual children, as opposed to fetuses.

  • raven

    On the Records: Texas 1 of 5 “Minority-Majority” States | The Texas …

    ww.texastribune. rg/…/on-the-records-majority-texas-minority-race…

    May 17, 2012 – … U.S. Census Bureau, 55.2 percent of Texas’ 2011 population was of a race other than non-Hispanic white, making it one of five “minority-majority” states in the nation. … The Evening Brief: Texas Headlines for March 6, 2013 …


    UPDATE: OVER 41% of Texans voted for Obama. That is 3,285,200 …

    www. democraticunderground. com › … › General Discussion (Forum)

    – 7 Nov 2012

    Obama’s share of the vote went down from 2008 and gerrymandering did not have … We had a record number of registered voters this election.

    Don’t get mad at Texas. Fix it instead.

    Texas is now a majority nonwhite state. 41% of them voted for Obama.

    I’m guessing here but someday the peasants might well storm the castle. Time and demographics are on their side.

    It’s likely many of those unplanned babies are nonwhite and they and their parents are going to be ticked at the Texas christofascist ruling class.

  • Would it actually be so bad if we just LET them secede???

    Yes, it would, because the people of Texas would then be outside the protections of the US Constitution. Do you think the Texas Taliban would even let women apply for passports?

    Then there’s the question of whether a Texas ruling coalition would have any sense of responsibility; or whether they’d just fall back on blaming outsiders for all of their own problems.

  • blf

    Why are they ignoring the modest proposal made to them to simply eat the extra babies? Pressure from the Beef Lobby?

    Babymeat is more expensive than horsemeat. Proof that pressure from the “Beef” Lobby is why it’s being ignored.

  • and they’re trying to figure out how to restore the funding without angering the religious right.

    To which I would say, who cares if the religious right gets upset? It will be a great day when that happens.

  • Larry

    Reality is a real bitch, ain’t it, Texans?

  • unbound

    So, basically, the Republicans in Texas have done a marvelous job of increasing the need for a nanny-state…

  • busterggi

    First – this cannot be happening as Texas considers itself a Christian state and Christians never have pre-marital sex.

    Second – if it did happen they would simply demand more federal funding from the government they want to seceed from to take care of the problem.

  • otrame

    What Raven said. Give it a few more years.

    Reminds me of 15 years ago, when my visiting father-in-law, a deliberately ignorant backwoods Wisconsinite, asked me what the largest minority in the city was. I told him, “Anglos.”

    He said, “What the hell is that?”

    Delighted that he had fed me my line, I smiled sweetly and said, “That’s us.”

    The rest of Texas will get there. Give it time.

  • twincats

    The “abortion industry”?

    a.k.a. the Abortion Industrial Complex

    Yeah, because political ideology should always be more important than women’s lives.

    Not to mention the lives of actual children, as opposed to fetuses.

    If I ever move to Texas, I’m going to declare myself a fetus in my 208th trimester.

  • Pteryxx

    The “abortion industry”?

    Refers to the right-wing myth about Planned Parenthood making massive amounts of money by hard-selling abortions to confused women and girls; also claims that abortions are the vast majority of PP services and women’s health care just a smokescreen to get them in the door, et cetera.

    Here’s a few examples of this myth in the wild:




  • erichoug

    GAH! This is so ridiculous. Texas has learned the hard way that this kind of crap is counter productive. It costs money and, despite what a lot of people seem to think, the people of Texas are not complete morons.

    Frankly, I blame” the Hair’s” failed presidential bid. Typically when the governors race doesn’t get a lot of TV time and the Mr. Perry’s presidential bid exposed a whole lot about him that many people weren’t aware of. To try to re-establish himself with the base he tries to go to the wackaloon fringe and suddenly we have all this sort of crap.

    Rick Perry and the rest of the legislature need to remember that what Texans really want from their government is less of it. That said, they need to keep the cost down and MIND THEIR OWN GODDAMNED BUSINESS!!!

  • thumper1990

    This would be utterly fucking hilarious if it weren’t for all those women now stuck with babies they don’t want.

  • dingojack

    Ah the party of ‘fiscal responsibility’.



    But we all know who’s going to have the bear the cost of this blunder – Texan women and their unwanted children. Another generation (or three) thrown under the bus to keep a couple of old white dudes happy. 🙁

  • PatrickG

    Would it actually be so bad if we just LET them secede???

    On behalf of the Texans I know, yes, yes it would. Come to think of it, on behalf of the Texans I don’t know, as well. As Raging Bee said above, do we really want a xenophobic theocracy replacing legally recognized in Texas? Texans at least have nominal recourse to the federal court system right now. If Pope Perry (or his ilk) declares himself dictator for life… not so much!

    Also, what Marcus said… a lot of women lost health services because of this theodiocy. Blood almost certainly on their hands.

  • This would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. This is along the lines of trying to get religion in the public schools; all well and good until someone other than Christians try to do it.

  • peterh

    There is, in the general course of things, the Law of Unintended Consequences. I submit there is also the Law of Fairly Obvious Potential Yet Stupidly Ignored Consequences. I keep telling people that Texas is a nice place to be from.

  • left0ver1under

    Those clowns still live under the delusion that they can dictate people’s personal lives, and that the populace will obey. And they act surprised when their policies are as wrong as their claims.

    By banning a few abortions, they’ve condemned thousands of people to live their lives in poverty. We’re not just talking about the children being born, but of parents who can’t afford to take care and an unplanned and unwanted birth. How many people who had unwanted pregnancies would have better lives (and be better able financially) to take care of a child or children from a planned pregnancy?

    This case is a living example for the saying, “It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.”