Our friends over at the New England Journal of Medicine just alerted us to a new perspectives piece addressing the impact of cutting family planning funds in Texas (the piece was also picked up by Politico). The authors interviewed 56 leaders of organizations throughout the state that provided reproductive health services using public funding before cuts went into effect, and what they found was disturbing:
- Most clinics have restricted access to the most effective contraceptive methods because of their higher up-front costs (choosing pills over IUDs or subdermal implants).
- Clinics have started to turn away those who canot pay, when previously their visits would have been covered by public funds, and women who can pay the newly instated fees are choosing less effective methods and fewer tests to save money.
- A number of clinics have lost their exemption from Texas’ law requiring parental consent for teens under 18 who seek contraceptives.
Overall, the authors conclude that laws intended to defund Planned Parenthood in an attempt to limit access to abortion (even though federal and state funding cannot be used for abortion anyway) have resulted in policies limiting women’s access to range of preventative reproductive health services and screenings.
Alta Charo weighs in via a NEJM podcast, discussing the future of reproductive health care for women in the US, particularly in light of upcoming elections (as well as the article we discussed last week on conscientious action, and other general issues in reproductive health policy). Take a listen!
And one more NEJM plug for now: our Bill of Health blogger Kevin Outterson also has a podcast online discussing the record-breaking settlements of pharmaceutical fraud cases and the need for further regulation.