If Texas Republicans Really Care About Reducing Abortions They Need To Stop Blocking Access To Contraception

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IUD

Texas’ newest abortion law has nothing to do with reducing abortions — it’s about policing women. 

One look at the GOP’s approach to family planning services in Texas and makes that clear. Republicans only want to strip women of their right to choose while also giving them no other choices. 

Texas’ abortion law is part of a long history of blocking women’s access to reproductive healthcare.

Wanting to reduce abortions is a bipartisan issue and a goal we can likely all agree on. Abortion is a last resort for most women when other measures fail. 

Yet, how we approach reducing abortions is where anti-abortion and pro-choice movements differ and Republicans have been getting this mission wrong for decades. 

Texas has blocked access to Planned Parenthood.

For years, Texas Republicans have worked to block women’s access to contraceptives and pregnancy prevention.

In 2011, Texas began a multipronged campaign to cut funding to Planned Parenthood — a service that provides crucial support to women before, during and after pregnancy.

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The move was intended to appease groups opposed to legal abortion by reducing funding for the service from $111 million to $38 million.

What the cuts actually did, instead of reducing abortions, was eliminate services that are intended to prevent abortion.

One in four family planning clinics around the state closed, there was a reduction of 36% in the provision of IUDs and implants.

The provision of injectable contraceptives was reduced by 31%, all while teen birth and abortion rates increased.

Surely Texas should know by now that removing options from women creates unintended effects. 

Or perhaps stripping women of their choices is the GOP’s only goal.

Texas’ Alternatives To Abortion program is costly and unsuccessful.

As Texas’ enacts their new abortion law, you’ll likely hear boasting about their Alternatives To Abortion program — a program whose primary goal is to dissuade women from having abortions.

The program is expected to receive $100 million of funding in the next budget but what their funding actually achieves remains largely a mystery.

The program does provide some funding to maternity homes and adoption centers but mostly funds Christian crisis pregnancy centers.

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While stripping healthcare funding from Planned Parenthood, Texas has been funding centers who provide non-medical, ideological counseling to people dealing with unplanned pregnancies.

Again, if the state cared about reducing abortion they would be funding actual medical care for women to prevent pregnancy.

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The program also doesn’t provide any reports on what success they’ve had — if any — in reducing abortions.

While Texas has seen a reduced number of legal abortions in recent years, so has the rest of the country, so it’s difficult to credit Alternatives To Abortion with this decline.

Equally, if the program was something to boast about, wouldn’t Texas be advertising it’s success?

Texas has repeatedly limited contraceptive access.

Texas also tightened it’s Medicaid rules to prevent low-income households from accessing Planned Parenthood’s services, all while providing limited alternatives. 

Limiting women’s access to family planning services has already been linked to a rise in unwanted pregnancies yet Texas continues to force women into decisions while claiming to advocate for their best interests. 

Equally, the state has refused to expand their children’s health insurance program to cover birth control despite Texas’ high rates of teen pregnancy. 

If Texas Republicans really cared about reducing abortions, they would be prioritising women’s healthcare.

Reducing abortions means giving women contraceptives as well as other supports before, during and after pregnancy not forcing archaic ideologies down their throats and hoping they’ll just navigate pregnancy and parenthood alone. 

Given how little Texas has done to actually meaningfully reduce abortions perhaps it’s time conservative lawmakers acknowledge that abortions laws have little to do with actual abortions and more to do with controlling the people accessing them. 

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.