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How Defunding Planned Parenthood Hurts Women

The state of Texas has thrown Planned Parenthood out of its Women’s Health Program, which is intended to replace the federally-funded Medicaid Women’s Health Program. And it claims that there are lots of clinics available to replace the PP clinics and serve women’s health needs. Andrea Grimes has produced an article and a video report that shows that the state’s list of such clinics is a fraud.

For now, I’m going to concentrate on Austin and talk about the WHP providers there, specifically, because that’s what I address in the video I made last week. When I used the search function on the Texas Women’s Health Program website, it turned up 181 ostensible providers of WHP services within 30 miles of Austin, which is located in Travis County. Sounds like a big number–sounds like there should be plenty of access to care even if one Planned Parenthood clinic there can’t see patients. But for anyone who wants to stop by online and do a quick check, it is an incredibly deceptive number.

The state’s search function recommends places like the Austin Endoscopy Clinic, which is great for colonoscopies but not-so-much for pap smears. It also lists places like the Austin Radiological Association. It lists pediatricians. It contains a whopping 92 duplicate entries. I was finally able to whittle the list down to 13 providers that could take on a WHP patient at this time–and remember, Planned Parenthood is still a participant in WHP as of now, because Medicaid funding doesn’t stop until November 1st of this year.

Still: 13 providers versus 14 providers including Planned Parenthood, can’t be all that bad, right? That’s just one little ole’ clinic.

Well, it’s one little ole’ clinic that served 1,748 patients in 2010, according to the state’s own public health records, available as an addendum to the existing lawsuit between Planned Parenthood and the State of Texas. Taken together, all the other Travis County WHP providers–29 doctors or clinics that could actually see patients, not the labs that are also listed that processed test results–saw 670 patients.

That means that one Planned Parenthood clinic saw over two and a half times the number of patients that 29 other clinics saw in one year. And that’s just in Austin, where health clinics and doctors are numerous and easily accessible, and where we have a number of low-income clinics like Community Care, which between all 11 of its locations saw 127 patients, and the People’s Community Clinic (which saw 318 patients), plus the Austin Regional Clinic (which saw 90 patients). Most locations? Saw just a few clients. When I made my calls last week, the People’s Community Clinic told me they were only taking new teen-aged patients, because they’re already overloaded.

Defunding Planned Parenthood is a purely political gesture to the religious right, but in the real world it will make basic health care and family planning much more difficult for women to get. It will inevitably cost the lives of women who would then lack access to birth control, prenatal testing and care, breast and uterine cancer screening and many other important types of medical care.

Comments

  1. says

    Defunding Planned Parenthood is a purely political gesture to the religious right, but in the real world it will make basic health care and family planning much more difficult for women to get. It will inevitably cost the lives of women who would then lack access to birth control, prenatal testing and care, breast and uterine cancer screening and many other important types of medical care.

    That’s the point. That’s why they’re doing it. They just want women to perenially pump out kids (unless they’re not WASPS) until they keel over and die. Conservatives and fundamentalists hate women.

  2. Mr Ed says

    I remember when the Taliban controlled Afghanistan and the stories of woman not being able to get health care because of restrictions on travel. A woman need to be dressed in certain clothes and be accompanied by a male relative to see a doctor if she couldn’t afford the clothes or get a relative to take her she was out of luck. They claimed to be protecting woman with these rules too.

  3. d cwilson says

    Why do women fetal incubation units need pap smears anyway? If they get cancer, it’s because they were slutty-sluts who were deservedly punished by Jesus with the HPV, amirite?

    How did people this vile ever get into positions of authority in this country?

  4. says

    Look, we can’t go on subsidizing uteruses. That just promotes sloth. Then you end up with out-of-shape, lazy uteruses everywhere, begging for change, disrespecting authority, and shooting up the marihuana. Do you really want that? Do you?!

  5. Shawn says

    I say we start a ‘kick a pro-lifer in the privates’ day. This kind of stupid should’t be allowed to breed.

    (Note that I wouldn’t actually be in favor of actually doing that, but the idea makes me grin)

  6. frrolfe says

    who’d a thunk? defunding planned parenthood hurts women. surely not! i see 2 options here:

    1: fold up your tents and sneak away.

    2: do something useful.

    “free” thought blogs are the exact mirror image of faux news.

    whiners gotta whine.

    mr heath, can you give us the benefit of your experience and wisdom, pref in less than a gazillion turds, sorry, words.

  7. Chiroptera says

    frrolfe, #7:

    I, for one, appreciate the break frrolfe took from doing something useful to tell us this.

    I’m sure the people who could have been helped by frrolfe, but weren’t because he/she was too busy reading this blog and typing a comment to do something useful, also appreciate how ffrolfe took the time to put us all in our places.

  8. 'smee says

    @frrolfe:

    Trolling. Perhaps frrolfe can share with us all of the sterling charitable community service works he* has personally engaged in recently?

    * I don’t know for sure, but the commentary has the flavor of stick up my ass, PWM**

    **Privileged White Male

  9. frrolfe says

    sorry for intruding on your circle wank. free speech is a pearl beyond price. allowing your pals fred phelps etc to spew is ????

  10. Michael Heath says

    Rob F writes:

    That’s the point. That’s why they’re doing it. They just want women to perenially pump out kids (unless they’re not WASPS) until they keel over and die. Conservatives and fundamentalists hate women.

    This motivation doesn’t make sense since Planned Parenthood disproportionately helps poor women reduce their birth rate, where the poor are disproportionately non-WASPs relative to the population as a whole.

  11. frrolfe says

    @ 11, guess what? i do exactly what you dont do. i VOLUNTEER for a charity 6 days a week. and you and the rest of your committed pals? why do i see youse all as a confederacy of dunces? mr heath as miss trixie.

  12. iknklast says

    re frrolfe:

    You are assuming that the individuals here do no charity, take no actions. Do you have any evidence to support this contention? If not, then perhaps you might consider rethinking your assumptions.

    After all, if you can do charity work and still post, why can’t someone who thinks something different about this issue do the same?

  13. frrolfe says

    @16. thanks for being civil. i have had absolutely no indication of charitable work done by ed’s little troop. i volunteer for a charity that actually achieves help for kids with special needs. ed and his pals?

  14. says

    “I, for one, appreciate the break frrolfe took from doing something useful to tell us this.”

    The next time fffucking tttroll rolfie does something usefull will be the first time he’s done so.

    I have a few ideas for him.

    He could wrap his head in cotton batting and go stick it up an elephant cow’s “special place” to be a tampon.

    Or, maybe he could provide his cadaver for pre-med students to dissect; that would be helpful.

  15. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Lying, cheating and hurting women? It’s what “Republicans” do, instead of work.

  16. Nepenthe says

    *cough* Elephants don’t menstruate, democommie. That’s a special gift from Mother Nature to female simians, some bats, and elephant shrews. *flips bird to Mother Nature*

    /pedant

  17. spamamander, more skeptical-er and rational-er than you says

    Ffuckhead I certainly hope you live nowhere in my area. I wouldn’t want someone with your attitude anywhere NEAR my special-needs daughter.

    (I admit, I don’t volunteer as much as I would like. I donate pet food and kitty litter to the local shelter. I participated in the Slutwalk last weekend. I try to volunteer at Planned Parenthood events. Some of us don’t have time to volunteer ’6 days a week’ when we’re working minimum wage jobs and taking care of one child with Down syndrome and another with severe ADHD. Silly me.)

  18. says

    “*cough* Elephants don’t menstruate, democommie”

    I love it when I learn something new! That will come in handy for a trivia contest, one day soon:

    Which of these traits do pachyderms share with primates?

    A.) The ability to hear low frequency noises.
    B.) A fondness for ground nuts.
    C.) A prehensile nose.
    D.) Menstrual cycles.
    E.) None of the above.

    So, okay, instead of being a jumbotampon, Trrolfie can be a giant PSA swab for the bull elephants.

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