The headline of The Austin Chronicle declared, What Happens When Texas Blocks Planned Parenthood? Abortions Rise.
Austin, Texas, is a beautiful and fun university city, but well-known for being a bastion of liberal thinking.
So you probably won’t be surprised that the paper didn’t get it right. As a matter of fact, it’s another glaring example of “fake news.” My momma — God rest her soul — would call it an outright lie.
The Texas Legislature reduced state funding of family planning by 67 percent to Planned Parenthood and other providers. Abortion and family planning are sacred cows within the media, so their apoplectic response is not unexpected.
In the Chronicle article, Mary Tuma cites a study by Analisa Packham, now an Assistant Professor at Miami University, Department of Economics. Tuma claims the study reveals an increase of 3.1 percent in the teen abortion rate during the first three years after funding was cut. Further, she asserts an increase of 3.4 percent in teen births for the first four years.
The first paragraph of the article removes all doubt about the bias of the “reporter.” She accused Texas Republicans of “obstruct[ing] patient access to care,” and conducting an “ideological, anti-choice crusade.” Interestingly, the article contained no comments from an opposing view.
As this story broke, pro-lifers were understandably concerned and doubtful about its accuracy. Upon my return from vacation, I found multiple email inquiries from pro-life leaders looking for answers.
Thankfully, Richard Doerflinger, a trusted and highly competent longtime pro-lifer, had already publicly responded, calling Tuma’s article “journalistic malpractice.” His response was spot-on and so valuable to this discussion that I want to share some parts of it with you, along with my own thoughts, so you can pass it along to others.
The reality is that both the teen birth and teen abortion rates went down.
The Texas legislature cut funding in 2011. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, the rate of abortion for Texas residents declined from 13.4 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 2011 to 12.5 in 2012 and 11.4 in 2013. In each year, Texas abortions were lower than the national average.
The author of the study was only saying that the rate of decline in Texas abortions during one of those years was slower than it would have been without the budget cuts. Professor Packham determined that 2,200 teens would not have given birth had the family planning funding continued unabated. She concocted this “synthetic Texas” approach using computer projections based on some assumptions. It may have been just as effective to consult a crystal ball.
Another problem was that most states don’t simply cut family planning like Texas, but divert it from Planned Parenthood to many other entities that aren’t part and parcel of the abortion industry. As a result, the study’s findings aren’t relevant to most states that are defunding the abortion giant.
According to a study done by STOPP (Stop Planned Parenthood), while multiple Planned Parenthood facilities served 16 counties in the Texas Panhandle, the rate of teen pregnancy was 43.6 per 1,000 girls between the ages of 13 to 17. Two years after all of the Planned Parenthood facilities closed, the teen pregnancy rate had dramatically dropped to 24.1. (Statistics from the Texas Department of State Health Services). The evidence shows that Planned Parenthood’s presence actually contributed to teen pregnancy rather than preventing it.
As Planned Parenthood fights to keep state and federal tax money flowing to them, evidence mounts showing they are part of the teen pregnancy and abortion problem, not the solution.
It’s time to stop funding of Planned Parenthood.
President, Life Issues Institute
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