Two Texas state employees are under intense scrutiny for their unauthorized involvement in a biased “study” attempting to vilify Texas for defunding Planned Parenthood in 2011.
The employees, Rick Allgeyer and Imelda Flores-Vazquez of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission are listed as co-authors of the report. “It's one thing for an agency to provide data upon request,” said Senator Jane Nelson of the gaffe. “It's quite another to be listed as a ‘co-author’ on a deeply flawed and highly political report. I’ve communicated strong concerns to the agency. This should not have happened, and we need to make sure it doesn't happen again.”
The publication, entitled, Effect of Removal of Planned Parenthood from the Texas Women’s Health Program, appeared earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine. The “effect?” More babies have been born in Texas since Planned Parenthood was removed from the Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP), in other words, “defunded.” The publication asserts that the uptick in births is directly related to the legislature defunding Planned Parenthood. The study makes the troubling assumption that an increase in births could be due to nothing other than a perceived lack of access to abortion and contraception, as opposed to, say, increasing Pro-Life sentiment among Texans.
But even if these assumptions were confirmed, the study is fundamentally and hopelessly flawed. The first red flag is the funding source: The Susan T. Buffett Foundation. This funding arm of the deeply anti-Life bankroller, Warren Buffett, also backed an equally-bogus “study” on abortion in Texas. That study concluded that Pro-Life laws in Texas (namely House Bill 2) led to an alarming increase in “self-induced abortions” – purportedly by Texas women desperate for abortion but unable to undergo one legally. The publication was fraught with fiction and methodological error (spoiler alert: there is no evidence that HB 2 had any effect whatsoever on abortion self-induction in Texas), and was entirely debunked. Buffett paid over $4.5 million for the study.
As Texas Right to Life reported last week, the most recent study also cherry-picked information to create the intended conclusion: Planned Parenthood’s removal from TWHP predictably angered abortion activists who historically love Planned Parenthood regardless of how mired the organization becomes. Read a comprehensive breakdown of the study’s errors by National Review contributor Michael J. New here.
In spite of the fear-mongering from Planned Parenthood’s friends in high places, women’s health advocates have long praised the state’s decision to remove Planned Parenthood from the Texas Women’s Health Program because much of the funding once funneled into Planned Parenthood as a TWHP affiliate was redirected to incorporate life-affirming women’s health providers into TWHP. In fact, according to Sen. Nelson, who was integral to expanding the program after Planned Parenthood was removed, TWHP has tripled in size since 2011.
The fate of the two disgraced Health and Human Services employees still hangs in the balance. What we do know is that HHSC spokesman Bryan Black has joined Senator Nelson in denouncing their participation. In a twist lending irony to the debacle, a Planned Parenthood attorney denounced the backlash against Allgeyer and Flores-Vazquez, saying that public officials should be expected to welcome the revelation of “facts,” “not to punish those who bring the facts to them.” We agree, although in this case, the word “fact” is being used quite loosely.
Despite Texas catching Planned Parenthood defrauding Texas taxpayers numerous times and admitting to heinous abuses of the law in undercover video footage, Planned Parenthood still feels entitled to the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars they receive every year. Last week, the abortion group trumpeted the study’s reaching conclusions, saying “The truth hurts.” Truth. Planned Parenthood clearly does not know the meaning of that word.