Texas health care program that excludes Planned Parenthood sees 109% increase in women enrolled

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Texas health care programs served thousands more women last year compared to the year before.  The finding comes from a legislative report by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission released last Thursday.  The report reviews the Healthy Texas Women program (HTW) and the Family Planning Program (FPP) as required by the Texas Legislature as part of Senate Bill 1, the budget for the State of Texas.

The report shows that enrollment for HTW grew by 109 percent by the end of fiscal year 2017.  Client enrollment grew from 105,406 in September 2016 to 220,154 clients in August 2017.  The significant increase comes after a publicity campaign to raise awareness about the programs, especially the HTW website, which helps women find services and providers for which they are eligible.  During fiscal year 2017, HTW served 122,406 clients, a 29 percent increase from the previous year.  FPP also saw an increase in clients served. FPP does not require enrollment but the number of women served increased from 38,404 in fiscal year 2016 to 96,990, during fiscal year 2017. 

HTW is available for women ages 15 to 44 who lack health insurance and Medicaid.  The program offers screening for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings, contraceptive counseling, postpartum depression screenings, diabetes screening, and high blood pressure and high cholesterol screenings.  

Texas crafted the HTW and FPP programs to meet the needs of low income women across the state without sending them to abortion businesses for basic health care services.  In 2011, Pro-Life legislators redirected taxpayer money away from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers after restructuring the programs.  Because of other Legislative efforts in 2015 and 2017, Texans no longer send state money to the predatory abortion industry through healthcare programs.

Carrie Williams, spokesperson for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission stated, “More and more Texas women are being served, and that’s exactly the trajectory we want to be on.  We’re always committed to improvement when it comes to women’s health, and this report gives us that baseline to work from.”

Anti-Life critics have made much of the fact that the latest numbers on program enrollment cannot be compared to the number of women enrolled before Planned Parenthood was excluded because eligibility requirements and services provided have drastically changed.  However, based on outcomes in women’s health in our state, the success of the current program is evident. Since Texas defunded Planned Parenthood, abortions and unintended pregnancies declined.  Additionally, a new analysis of the data shows that Texas’s maternal mortality rate declined.

The growth of life-affirming health programs for Texas women is reason for celebration.  Much more is needed to address the diverse needs of Texas women and families, but the continued improvement of the HTW and FPP programs shows that the abortion industry is not needed for legitimate health care.  Abortion providers choose to exclude themselves by refusing to end their business model of profiting from killing preborn Texans. Texas women should never be sent to such businesses for health screenings and care.

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