When the Framers of the Constitution wrote about freedom of religion, it is certain that they meant that government should not force certain religious beliefs on the citizens of this country. Indeed, the First Amendment asserts that individuals and groups have the right to practice (or not) any religion they choose. Yet, Republicans insist on turning their religious beliefs into law. And there is no other example of this that is quite so egregious as their obsession with abortion and Planned Parenthood.
In Texas, Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood have already caused all kinds of havoc like an increase in teen abortion rates. And a new study shows that four years after Planned Parenthood was dropped from the state’s family-planning program for low-income women, “the number of clients obtaining birth control dropped by 41 percent.”
Using the state’s own data, the Center for Public Policy Priorities reported that, from 2011 to 2015,
number of women receiving birth control through the state program dropped from 97,163 to 57,696. […]
Also, fewer women obtained other health-care services, such as cancer screenings and sexually transmitted disease treatment, the study found.
Why these lawmakers continue to get elected literally defies comprehension. Clearly, being pro-life and saving unborn babies in Texas is more important than literally anything else—including the health and well-being of women. Texas has the worst maternal mortality rate in the developed world and these Republicans can do nothing but waste their time and energy on taking away vital services from poor women that ensure that they have access to quality reproductive care. Women of color are disproportionately impacted, as black women in Texas are much more likely to “die of pregnancy-related causes in the year after birth than white or Hispanic women.” If you are a poor woman in Texas, especially if you are black, prayer is pretty much your only chance of help if you get reproductive cancer or an STD or become pregnant because without Planned Parenthood, there is simply not enough access to reproductive health care services.
“The idea that you can remove a large provider like Planned Parenthood and not have any loss of access to care just didn’t turn out to be true,” said Stacey Pogue, senior policy analyst for the [Center for Public Policy Priorities, a think tank based in Austin]. […]
Research shows counties that lost Planned Parenthood clinics saw a 35 percent drop in client use of long-acting contraception, the study found. Among women who used injectible contraception, their continuation of use dropped from 60 percent to 38 percent. In that same population, the number of Medicaid-funded births jumped by 27 percent, from 2011 to 2014.