Texas Demonstrates that Planned Parenthood Is Not Needed
This article originally appeared in this issue of the WSR: 2015-11-18

As the arguments about taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood across the country rage, PP supporters are always predicting dire consequences if PP loses the money. We have known for years that these claims are false. It is clear for anyone to see that, when PP loses funding and even closes down, this does not cause a women’s healthcare calamity.

For example, in June 2009, after years of both STOPP and local citizens fighting Planned Parenthood in El Paso, Texas, PP suddenly announced it was closing all of its clinics in the city. Immediately. The reason given was financial problems. Although this sudden closing certainly caused some short-term problems as patients at the six clinics had to find new places to go, the upheaval did not last long. Women found new providers and now, six years later, the closest PP facility to El Paso is over 200 miles away—in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In the Texas Panhandle around Amarillo, Planned Parenthood operated 19 clinics in 1997. Again, STOPP helped local citizens fight PP. Its first clinic closed in 1999, and by the end of 2006, there were no Planned Parenthood clinics in the Texas Panhandle. Today, the closest PP clinic is over 200 miles away in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Despite these closures, women are not having any major problems finding healthcare. Actually, teen pregnancy in the Panhandle began to fall as PP closed clinics and continued to fall after it completely left. The teen pregnancy rate went from 41.5 in 1998 (the year before PP started closing) to 27.2 in 2008 (two years after PP was gone).

As the entire state of Texas has been shutting off taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood since 2010, a similar lack of any crisis in women’s healthcare is taking place. State health officials report that, since Planned Parenthood has been excluded from the state programs, the number of women obtaining services is basically the same. A recent statement shows that 317,393 women were served in 2014 by the new system as compared to 320,044 in 2010—when PP was involved in the old system.

All of this data shows just one thing: Planned Parenthood is not needed. This fact is not only true for Texas, but in state after state all across the country. Planned Parenthood has closed over 270 clinics in the last 20 years and the only women’s healthcare crisis is how to overcome the problems caused by Obamacare.