When Planned Parenthood is De-Funded, Abortion and Unintended Pregnancy Rates Drop

The recent undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood physicians discussing the sale of fetal body parts have sent the mainstream media spin machine into overdrive… Some commentators have emphasized the health care services provided by various Planned Parenthood affiliates. Another defense offered by pundits, most notably Dana Milbank in The Washington Post, is that cutting off federal funding for Planned Parenthood’s contraceptive programs would result in more unintended pregnancies and more abortions. But state level data demonstrate that this particular set of arguments is without merit. Consider Texas. Starting in 2012 Texas excluded Planned Parenthood clinics from the state family planning program. Instead, state health funding went to other facilities that did not perform abortions. Much has been made of a Texas Health and Human Services Commission report that found a 54 percent decline in claims submitted for contraceptives between 2011 and 2013. However, the most important metric is not contraceptive claims, but rather unintended pregnancies. And in Texas, both the birth rate and the abortion rate have declined since 2011. In short, even after the state of Texas defunded Planned Parenthood, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the unintended pregnancy rate increased. There are a variety of reasons why the abortion rate and the birth rate might have both fallen after Texas cut off state funding to Planned Parenthood. One possibility is that women who obtained contraceptives through the state family planning program simply purchased them on their own. Another possibility is that Planned Parenthood was fraudulently billing the state for contraceptives that it did not actually provide. In fact, in...