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Exclusion of Planned Parenthood in Texas Results in Increase in Births Paid by Medicaid


A study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) showed an approximately 35% decrease in on-time return visits for long-acting (three months) injectable contraceptives and a 1.9% increase in births paid for by state Medicaid in the affected areas after Texas excluded Planned Parenthood (PP) from its state-paid family planning services.  Both changes were significant, the first being p<0.001 and the second p<0.01 (significant enough for physicists as well as biologists.)

This study shows that Planned Parenthood was effective at reducing the birthrate for mothers dependent on Medicaid for family planning services, and that banning PP resulted in an increased birthrate in the counties where PP was providing services.

The Texas Health and Human Services (THHS) Commission was not happy with this article.  One of the authors had been employed by Texas since 2001, and he was forced to retire to avoid disciplinary action after a state senator claimed that he was using at-work time to produce the article.  The THHS asked NEJM to add a disclaimer to the article, which they did, since it was purely a formality, stating that the article does not represent the views of THHS.  In the letter to NEJM, the THHS even claimed that the article was inaccurate, an absurdity since there was no room for inaccuracy in the numbers.  See the Retraction Watch (RW) post revealing the disclaimer for a full discussion of the THHS’ behavior in regard to this article.

The letter from THHS, quoted in the RW post, claims that “The article also includes incorrect statements concerning the birth rate and number of births in Texas.”  If you read the article, you will see that it does not refer to the total number of births in Texas, only those paid by Medicaid in the counties affected by the THHS purge.  Numbers don’t lie, but statements like those in the letter from THHS can wrongfully cast aspersions on the integrity of a NEJM article.

The attitude of the THHS is to be expected, since everything done in Texas government is forced to toe the Tea Party line promulgated by the Republican governor.  That party’s line includes outright lies as well as forged statistics, wrong reasoning, a blinkered outlook, and false moral outrage.

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