<\body> Stories in America: Planned Parenthood's Future in Texas

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Planned Parenthood's Future in Texas

Texas's teen pregnancy rate ranks fifth nationally, according to The Alan Guttmacher Institute. The state's 2,469,310 women are in need of contraceptive services and supplies. Of these, 1,303,550 women--including 366,540 teenagers--are in need of publicly supported contraceptive services.

Family planning clinics in Texas serve 540,620 women, including 138,050 teenagers. Forty-one percent are served by Planned Parenthood clinics.

I just returned from a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston. One of the nurses on staff told me that the Texas legislature is trying to pass a bill that would allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense the pill for moral reasons.

"They also want to cut our funding," she said. "If they had their way, we wouldn't exist." She went on to say that most Republican politicians believe Planned Parenthood is in the business of performing abortions all day. "They should visit this clinic," she said. "They would find that we actually provide free prenatal care and regular check-ups for low-income women."

The waiting room was full of Hispanic women with a few kids each. I asked a 32-year-old woman with three small kids how she would be affected if Planned Parenthood lost its funding. "I can't imagine life without it. I don't want any more kids!" she said forcefully. "Without this clinic, I wouldn't have had any prenatal care because I don't have health insurance."


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