In the past year, Republican Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Legislature cut family planning funding by 66 percent, which amounts to $74 million. However, state lawmakers voted to increase funding by $300,000 for Alternatives to Abortion Services, a state program comprised of 26 crisis pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, and maternity homes. According to the the Texas Independent, family planning clinics serve approximately 220,000 women per year, as compared to the 18,000 women who go to CPCs, which are often run by anti-abortion advocates who are not licensed medical professionals.
Texas’s 71 family planning clinics provide vitally important health care services to low-income and uninsured women in the state, many of whom use the clinics as their primary care providers. Dr. Celia Neavel, who runs the People’s Clinic in Austin, Texas, stated, “That particular funding was used obviously for birth control, but also Pap smears, breast cancer screening, for diabetes, thyroid disorders, anemia, [and] high cholesterol.”
According to NPR, “The state estimates nearly 300,000 women will lose access to family planning services, resulting in roughly 20,000 additional unplanned pregnancies. Texas already spends $1.2 billion on teen pregnancies,” which is more than any other state in the nation.
Currently, there are an estimated 3,500 CPCs nationwide, most of which are affiliated with one or more national umbrella organizations. CPCs often pose as comprehensive health centers and offer “free” pregnancy tests. Some CPCs coerce and intimidate women out of considering abortion as an option, and do not offer women neutral or comprehensive medical advice.
The Texas Independent 9/20/11; NPR 9/20/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/15/11