The Impact of Dramatic Budget Cuts on Women’s Experiences Seeking Affordable Family Planning Services in Texas
Kristine Hopkins, University of Texas at Austin
Fran Linkin, Columbia University
This study explores low-income women’s and teens’ experiences obtaining affordable family planning (FP) services following a two-thirds budget cut to Texas’ FP program in 2011. We conducted 11 focus groups with 92 women and 15 teens throughout Texas. Women reported that affordable FP services have long been difficult to access; programs are difficult to apply and qualify for, pregnancy-related care is easier to obtain than FP services, and teens have the additional barrier of obtaining parental consent. Women experience significant negative consequences (e.g. unintended pregnancy) because of an insufficient reproductive health safety net. Since the budget cuts, access has become more difficult. Previously free services now require payment, leaving some to forego care. Nearly all women expressed strong support for government-funded family planning and provided ideas for improvement. In sum, the funding cuts exacerbated the challenges low-income women in Texas already faced when trying to meet their reproductive health needs.