Sunday, November 1, 2015

On De-funding Planned Parenthood

by James Wheat

On October 19, the Texas government announced that it was cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood clinics.[1] This is in response to videos released by the Center for Medical Progress that allegedly show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue and altering abortion procedures. Multiple federal and state-level investigations have found no evidence of such practices at Planned Parenthood clinics. No court of law has found Planned Parenthood or any of its employees guilty of these practices.

And yet, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission has terminated funding for Planned Parenthood based only on these videos and allegations in other lawsuits.[2] The Health and Human Services Commission argues that cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood “will not affect access to care in this State because there are thousands of alternate providers in Texas”.[3] If we examine the available data, we can see that this is not the case, and that thousands of people will be adversely affected.

Planned Parenthood is not the only provider of contraceptive services in the United States, but it is the largest, providing services to 36 percent of people receiving publicly-supported contraceptive care.[4] In many counties in Texas, that number is considerably higher: Fort Bend County, 43%; Travis County, 66%; Hidalgo County, 72%. In nine counties (Angelina, Cooke, Ellis, Falls, Johnson, Navarro, Starr, Tarrant, and Walker), 100% of publicly-supported contraceptive care is provided by Planned Parenthood. Of the nearly 1.7 million women in Texas in need of publicly-supported contraceptive services, more than 474,000 live in counties where Planned Parenthood serves 50 percent or more of all clients.[5] Thus, by removing funding for Planned Parenthood, the state government has gravely impacted the availability of reproductive healthcare for hundreds of thousands of women across the state.

As socialists, we recognize that a woman's control over if, when, and how to have children is fundamental to the liberation of women. As noted by the Women's Commission during a previous attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, the Socialist Party “believe[s] that access to a broad range of reproductive choices is a right of all women. This includes safe, affordable and on demand access to abortion, as well as access to birth control and prenatal care.”[6] Defending our sisters' rights to reproductive choice goes hand-in-hand with our struggle against capitalism. Let us oppose the state government's decision to shackle women by limiting access to reproductive healthcare! Support the liberation of our sisters!

[1]     Texas cuts off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood. (19 October, 2015) The Associated Press. Retrieved from
[2]     Office of Inspector General, Texas Health and Human Services Commission. (19 October, 2015). Notice of Termination.  Retrieved from The Houston Chronicle
[3]     Office of Inspector General, paragraph 2.
[4]     Jennifer Frost and Kinsey Hasstedt. (8 September, 2015). Quantifying Planned Parenthood's Critical Role in Meeting the Need for Publicly Supported Contraceptive Care. The Guttmacher Institute. Retrieved from
[5]     Jennifer J. Frost. (14 August, 2015). Response to inquiry concerning geographic service availability from Planned Parenthood health centers. [Correspondence to Lisa Ramirez-Branum, Congressional Budget Office] Table 3. Retrieved from
[6]     Andrea Pason and Kristin Schall. (26 February, 2011). Stop the Right Wing Attack on Women! Statement by the Socialist Party USA Women's Commission. Retrieved from   

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