Investigative

When Texas defunded Planned Parenthood, they didn’t leave women suffering

For many years, I lived in a rural northeast Texas community. We were miles from a major highway, and so small that we had no stoplights and only two ATMs when I moved there from Los Angeles. A female in my 20s, I was also an uninsured college student, and exactly the type of woman Planned Parenthood would claim needed their services. After all, well woman exams and cancer screenings cost big bucks, and unless I was terribly ill, medical care was out of the question.

By looking at only Planned Parenthood’s viewpoint, it’s not difficult to see why women in my position would buy into the idea that their health care would suffer without Planned Parenthood receiving its government funding. But the truth is, women in Texas are better off without Planned Parenthood because what the state did in place of the abortion corporation’s funding is even better.

I looked at the Texas program as if I were that single 20-something needing women’s health care. Excluding abortion, I looked for similar services through the expanded Healthy Texas Women program the state launched after defunding Planned Parenthood. The program has three sub-programs:

The Healthy Texas Women and Breast & Cervical Cancer Services offer free care to women who make less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level guidelines, or $1980 a month for a single person. The Family Planning Program caps it at 250% of the Federal Poverty Level guidelines, or under $2475 for a single person.

For comparison’s sake, I wondered what a Planned Parenthood fee scale might be. I found this fee calculator on Planned Parenthood of Southern New England’s website. It asked me for my income and I listed it at $1979 per month, one dollar less than the lowest Healthy Texas Woman income cap for some services.

I selected Providence, RI as my location, and said I wanted the cost for a birth control prescription with a well woman exam. Here’s what the calculator estimated:

I also plugged in a pregnancy test estimate ($25) and added in a screening for STDs:

The Texas Healthy Woman program doesn’t have a calculator available for one simple fact. It’s free:

But to be fair, over at Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, it seems they use the same income scale as Texas — 200% of the federal poverty level — and offer some free services. So as a 22-year-old making $1979 a month, I could go from Texas to Minnesota and receive some free services. The difference is in the services I would receive at no cost. In Minnesota here’s what I could get:

The state of Texas still gives more comprehensive health care services, for free. Here are some of the services available for free:

Since Texas offers comprehensive women’s health care, the Family Planning Program is offered in addition to the Healthy Texas Woman. While a few of the services under this program have nominal charges, the copay will never exceed $30, the program says. However it’s important to note that many of the services here are also offered under the main program, which is absolutely free.

Texas also offers the Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program with still more benefits:

It’s notable that the Texas program includes actual mammograms, something Planned Parenthood does not do anywhere. A woman can only receive a referral if she goes to Planned Parenthood.

And yes, the mammograms in Texas are also free.

Texas also has a host of other free medical services.

That’s all great news if 22-year old me needed any sort of women’s health care. But what if I lived in rural east Texas, in a town without a stoplight, and needed to find a provider? It turns out that one clinic is close enough that I could have walked to it from my old address. When I expanded the search to clinics within 20 miles, I found seven providers. Some of them are affiliates of a major hospital system in the area, CHRISTUS Trinity-Mother Frances Health System. The state of Texas will send women to some of the best medical providers located in the region — and do it on their dime — so women will have excellent health care, even if they cannot afford it.

And Planned Parenthood locations in the same rural area? Well, there’s one 34 miles away and another 59 miles away. That’s it.

It’s a wonder any Texas woman would believe she needs Planned Parenthood for her health care.

Texas may have defunded the abortion corporation, but they didn’t leave women suffering because of it. Women have more options, more access, and more health care because Texas cares for its women better than Planned Parenthood.

One more note: If Planned Parenthood did not provide abortions, its facilities would qualify to participate in the Healthy Texas Women program. In a note to potential providers, the program info says:

The Healthy Texas Women program offers women’s health and family planning services to low-income women in Texas. To provide HTW services, you must be an existing Medicaid provider. In addition, a provider must complete the HTW certification process affirming that you do not perform or affiliate with an entity that performs or promotes elective abortions.

The truth is, if Planned Parenthood’s services were actually only three percent of what it does, it would be financially beneficial for the abortion corporation to cease abortions in Texas and, instead, provide women’s health care and receive the reimbursements from the state. But the truth is that abortion is what Planned Parenthood is about.

Women don’t need Planned Parenthood. They do need health care. And Texas has them covered. For free.

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