Thursday, January 9, 2014

Texas Makes Failing Grade For Reproductive Health Rights

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 5:42 PM

As a state, we really, really suck when it comes to reproductive rights and here's yet another round of proof: A newly released national report slaps Texas with an "F-" for its approach to reproductive health policy.

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Screen Grab From Population Institute 2013 Reproductive Rights Report Card

The Washington, D.C.-based Population Institute's Report Card On Reproductive Health and Rights judged states based on criteria like teen pregnancy rates, promotion of comprehensive sex education, support for access to emergency contraception, birth control affordability, access to family planning services and abortion care. Aside from Texas, 12 other states got smacked with a failing grade. The worst state for repro rights? Mississippi. The best? California. The U.S. overall received a “C-.”

“Every woman should be able to access affordable reproductive health care and young people should be getting comprehensive sex education in their school no matter where they live," said Robert Walker, president of the international research institute, in the report.

"With a failing grade it is clear that Texas is not meeting the reproductive health needs of women in the state. Failing to meet these needs can contribute to high rates of unintended pregnancies, including teen pregnancies," he said.

Considering 76 family planning clinics have shuttered their doors due to legislative budget cuts and around a dozen abortion clinics have halted services following a restrictive abortion law— currently being challenged in litigation for unconstitutionality— it's no surprise the Lone Star State faired so poorly. (Texas' new abortion law, which also outlaws abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, actually sunk the dismal F grade to an even lower F-.)

Other reasons this state is terrible when it comes to reproductive health, according to the report: A teen pregnancy rate of 85 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15-19, an education system that doesn't mandate sex education (that landed us zilch points) and our (i.e. GOP leadership) decided to refuse a federal Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, leaving increased access to health care out of reach for millions of low-income Texans. In total, Texas received 41.3/100, scoring particularly horrible in sex ed and abortion access. The report leaves us with a couple of alarming notes—52 percent of Texas pregnancies are unintended and 33 percent of Texas women live in area without an abortion provider.

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