Mainstream Media Mislead on Public Health in Texas

Michael J. New, Ph.D.  

Texas has clearly shown that positive public health outcomes are possible without taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood — but one would scarcely know from reading the media coverage, writes Dr. Michael New at CNSNews:

After Texas defunded Planned Parenthood in 2011, The Heidi Group, led by long time pro-life activist Carol Everett, planned to establish a network of pro-life medical clinics in the Lone Star State.  However, last week, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced substantial funding cuts to the Heidi Group – citing a failure to serve as many patients as anticipated. Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media, eager to report on bad public health news from Texas, pounced on the announcement.  This story was first covered by Politico and subsequently reported on by a number of other outlets including The Texas TribuneYahoo! News, Newsweek, and the Associated Press.


It is disappointing that Carol Everett’s idea to organize a network of pro-life medical facilities failed to go as planned.  However, by focusing on Everett’s program and relying on dated statistics, the media coverage, particularly the Politico article, paints a misleading picture about the state of public health in Texas.  In particular, the Politico story argued that the defunding of Planned Parenthood has resulted in fewer Texas women accessing contraceptives though various state programs.  However, more women are using Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) which require fewer physician visits.  Additionally, since the Affordable Care Act requires companies to cover dependents under the age of 26, young women are more likely to obtain contraceptive coverage through their parents’ insurance plans.

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