The titular question is in earnest, dear reader, just as it was for Amanda J. Stevenson and four others. Yes, those fine academics were just as perplexed as you probably are, but they, unlike you, were in a position to research the question, whereas you and I can only guess.
And research it they did, leading to the peer-reviewed paper “Effect of Removal of Planned Parenthood from the Texas Women’s Health Program“, found in that prestigious organ the New England Journal of Medicine. Thanks to reader Gail Finke for uncovering this treasure.
The paper’s abstract opens with “Texas is one of several states that have barred Planned Parenthood affiliates from providing health care services with the use of public funds.” Now this is very strange, because, at least for us civilians, health care meant those acts done to preserve human life. Yet Stevenson uses the term in the precise opposite sense: the killing and prevention of human lives. I have no explanation for this except to admit that academic minds are in a class far above our own.
Let’s press on. Texas cut off state funds from PP offices commencing in 2013. PP of course still received federal and private monies, and I can’t see from this article that any PP office was forced to close because of lack of state monies. Still, it is obvious that if any PP office had less money to spend because of these cuts, they would spend less money.
Before the cuts only 23 Texas counties had PP offices, and 231 did not. Women in Texas do venture outside their home counties, so it’s unknown how many who lived in “dry” countries went for “wet work” in PP counties. Stevenson does’t say. She and her co-authors did note that about 8.2% of women 18-44 who took money from Medicaid had babies in non-PP counties before the state’s ban on funding. About 9.1% of women in PP counties had babies before the ban. About women paying their own way Stevenson is mute.
After the ban, how many babies born? I have no idea. Stevenson did not see fit to report the raw numbers and instead present some sort of statistical regression, probably because she and her co-authors were under the delusion that changes in counts cannot be “real” until they are certified by wee p-values.
Yes, sir. This happens time and again in research. I’m making these numbers up, but if in 2011 there were 28,000 babies born, and in 2014 there were 30,000, it is true (contingent on accurate counting) that in 2014 2,000 more babies were born. No p-value is needed to make this claim. It matters not one whit whether this difference was “statistically significant.” The difference is there and true regardless.
Anyway, Stevenson suggests, via an unnecessary and complex model that (government-funded) births increased in PP counties after Texas ceased their funding.
Why might this be so? We’re right back to the question posed in the post’s title. (It’s starting to get exciting, isn’t it?)
Stevenson also tracked, and this time actually reported the raw numbers, that Medicaid claims for injectable and short-acting hormonal contraceptives decreased, both in PP counties and non-PP counties, after Texas cut off funding. Don’t forget, women are allowed to cross county lines.
The authors commented: “Among women using injectable contraceptives, fewer women who received an injection in the quarter preceding the exclusion continued to receive an injection through the program than did those in an earlier cohort.” Probably nobody saw this coming, which is why Stevenson says Texas “abruptly excluded Planned Parenthood affiliates” from the public teat.
Are you sitting down? Here is the stunning conclusion: as a result of taking few contraceptives there was an “increase in the rate of childbirth covered by Medicaid”!
There’s the answer! Isn’t science amazing?
Don’t answer yet, because it gets better. Stevenson said, “it is likely that many of these pregnancies were unintended”.
We’re right back at another mystery. How did these women get pregnant if they didn’t intend to? Yes, you’ve heard that question before, but its answer remains elusive, an imponderable scientific conundrum. Somehow—the clues lead in all directions—women are non-pregnant one day, and, without any intention whatsoever, are pregnant the next. More research is clearly needed.