Latest attack will cut off access to essential care for thousands in the state’s hardest-hit communities
(PRESS RELEASE) Texas politicians today moved to further restrict access to women’s health care in the state by cutting Medicaid funding for all Planned Parenthood affiliates, which provide essential services including cancer screenings, HIV testing, and birth control. The decision threatens to deepen the state’s current public health crisis created by its devastating budget cuts to family planning services and a scorched-earth campaign to shutter safe and legal reproductive health clinics across Texas.
Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“Against all odds, Texas politicians have found a way to worsen the health care crisis they have created for women across the state. This attack on Planned Parenthood is an attack on the health and well-being of all Texas women, and it will hit hardest among the poor, rural, and largely Latina communities that were already reeling from the state’s relentless efforts to deny women their rights and access to essential health care.
“It’s time for the entire country to stand with the women of Texas and say: enough is enough.” Said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH).
“While this threatens all Texas women, it’s particularly harmful for Latinas, who have been among the hardest hit by recent clinic closures throughout the state. Nearly 40 percent of Texas women are Latina, and Latinas are twice as likely to experience unintended pregnancies as non-Latina white women and more likely to be of reproductive age. Latinas already face formidable barriers to healthcare, including: poverty, lack of transportation, linguistic and cultural barriers, and restrictions on healthcare for immigrant women. This means that Latinas are among the most likely to rely on the very clinics these politicians are trying to shut down.
“We stand with Planned Parenthood and against these malicious attacks on healthcare and personal decision-making.”
The Center and NLIRH have been documenting the devastating impact of Texas family planning cuts and other threats to the health and human rights of Latinas and immigrant women in South Texas since late 2012. Earlier this month, the Center and NLIRH released a report called ¡Somos Poderosas! A Human Rights Hearing in the Rio Grande Valley on the first-ever domestic women’s human rights hearing. The report and accompanying testimony detail how the dismantling of the state’s reproductive health care safety net—through budget cuts to family planning services and policies targeting the provider network–has left the Texas women most in need of affordable health care without access to critical reproductive health services.
Earlier this year, the Center and NLIRH released a policy blueprint called Nuestro Texas: A Reproductive Justice Agenda for Latinas that outlines proactive policies Texas politicians should enact to end the current health care crisis in the state and restore access to critical reproductive health services. The blueprint calls for expanding services and eligibility criteria for state-funded women’s health programs in order to meet the growing demand for affordable services, especially among the state’s large Latina population.
The Center for Reproductive Rights recently asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review its challenge to two components of Texas’ omnibus bill HB2, which has already succeeded in shuttering more than half of the 42 clinics previously operating in the state. If the Supreme Court does not accept the case, Texas would be left with as few as 10 clinics to serve a population of 5.4 million women of reproductive age. NLIRH community leaders provided expert testimony in the case and are on the front lines advocating for reproductive justice for Texas Latinas.