While the Republican-led House and Senate are attempting to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers on a national scale, a new study out of Texas shows that these budget cuts to women’s healthcare providers have led to an increase in abortion and birth rates.
The study, conducted at Texas A&M University by Miami University economics professor Analisa Packham, focused on teenagers. Packham’s findings suggest that after the Texas State Legislature cut and reallocated family planning funding in 2011 in an effort to defund Planned Parenthood, teen abortions increased 3.1 percent in the three years that followed. Teen births also saw an increase of 3.4 percent in the four years following the cuts.
“Although the primary stated objective of the funding cuts was to decrease abortion incidence, I find little evidence that reducing family planning funding achieved this goal,” Packham wrote in her conclusion.
In 2012, then-Gov. Rick Perry declared that outlawing abortion was the ultimate goal, stating that Texas would “pass laws to ensure abortions are as rare as possible under existing law.” While the 2011 cuts reduced the budget by 67 percent and closed more than 80 family planning clinics, they didn’t affect abortion rates the way Texas Republicans intended.
As a result, Packham concludes that nearly 2,200 teens wouldn’t have given birth had the cuts not taken place. And while the increase in teen births and abortion didn’t reverse an overall decreasing abortion rate, the increase in teen pregnancy did slow the overall progress of the decreasing rate.
“Family planning clinics provide contraceptives. As such, they play a critical role in preventing unintended pregnancy, which is critical to reducing abortion,” Jason M. Lindo, an associate economics professor at Texas A&M University, wrote in an opinion piece for Dallas Morning News. “This is why defunding Planned Parenthood’s family planning clinics is at odds with the pro-life mission.”