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A young woman holding a no wire hangers sign at a protest against a Senate Bill that would strictly regulate abortion in the state of Texas. July 1, 2013.
Planned Parenthood is closing three clinics in Texas in response to the ongoing effects of the state's broader defunding of women's health care and, in one case, the state's new anti-abortion law. Those clinic closings—only one of a clinic that provided abortions—means the health care situation for women in the state, especially women who don't live in urban areas and who don't have good health insurance, is getting worse. And it was already bad:
About a year after Texas slashed its family-planning budget by two-thirds, with 50 clinics shutting down as a result, the Texas Policy Evaluation Project surveyed 300 pregnant women seeking an abortion in Texas. Nearly half said they were "unable to access the birth control that they wanted to use" in the three months before they became pregnant. Among the reasons: cost, lack of insurance, inability to find a clinic, and inability get a prescription. The state's health commission says Texas will see nearly 24,000 unplanned births between 2014 and 2015 thanks to these cuts, raising state and federal taxpayer's Medicaid costs by up to $273 million. [...]

The Planned Parenthood clinics that anti-choice legislators booted from the state's Women's Health Program serviced nearly 50 percent of the program's patients. Along with contraceptive counseling, the clinics provided basic screenings for cancer, hypertension, and other key problems. There's no shortage of need: women in Texas suffer high rates of STIs and unintended pregnancies compared to national figures, and the state ranks 50th for diabetes prevalence in women.

Statistics like these show clearly that what Texas Republican lawmakers really care about isn't abortion—if it was, they'd be making damn sure women had access to every kind of birth control under the sun. No, they're engaged in a much broader attack on women's health. Poor women's health, specifically. And their actions will lead to more unplanned pregnancies and more unsafe, unregulated abortions.

Join Daily Kos and Planned Parenthood Action Fund in sending a message: The fight to defend women's health and rights isn't over, and we're in it for the long run.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 12:46 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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