Anti-choice legislators in Texas have long been in the business of violating reproductive rights, demonstrated ever so bluntly last year when they pushed one of the most demeaning, invasive ultrasound laws ever enacted. Today, Texas women are shown ultrasound images, which the doctor must describe in detail, then listen to the fetal heartbeat, and finally must wait 24 hours before having the abortion they need. It’s discrimination, pure and simple.
Slate reports that it may not be getting any better for Texas women, especially those who struggle economically. Gov. Rick Perry has vowed that the state will not participate in two critical components of the Affordable Care Act, recently ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court—a huge blow to the quarter of all Texans who don’t have health insurance. First, the government won’t create an insurance exchange for its citizens to purchase health care coverage. What’s more, Gov. Perry will refuse to expand Medicaid—and the federal assistance to pay for it.
Texas’ disregard for lower-income women has already had a staggering impact on sexual health:
…the chlamydia rate in Texas from 2003-10 rose from 310 cases out of 100,000 people a year to 467 cases per 100,000, which means a net gain of 50,000 cases, a 73 percent increase in cases. How much of this increase is due to people ignoring symptoms because they simply can’t afford to see a doctor?
Texas doesn’t do much better when it comes to teen pregnancy, either. The national teen pregnancy rate in 2005 was 70 pregnancies per 1,000 girls ages 15-19. In Texas? Eighty-eight pregnancies per 1,000 girls.
That’s about 26 percent higher, if you’re keeping score at home, in a state where the government has already demonstrated its hostility toward contraception and sexuality education.