Can West Texas provide an isolated experiment for what happens when Planned Parenthood is defunded?

Jan 19, 2017

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The Trump administration and the GOP-controlled congress have pledged to defund Planned Parenthood this year.

As The Guardian reports, West Texas may offer a cautionary tale about what happens when the government defunds the nation’s largest women’s healthcare provider.

In late 2013, Texas instituted legislative cuts aimed at directly defunding Planned Parenthood. The funding cuts were an effort to stop Planned Parenthood from performing abortions, though it’s worth noting that the clinics do not receive federal or state funding for abortion services.

Mike Austin is chief executive of Midland Community Healthcare Services. He noted that after the Planned Parenthood clinic in Midland closed, the region saw a subsequent rise in STDs and a rise in unplanned pregnancies. “I hate to say it,” Austin said, “but I think an awful lot of women just opted to go without care.”

In the weeks ahead, members of Congress are expected to block Planned Parenthood from accepting Medicaid money, thus replicating what happened in Midland on a grand scale.