Conservatives Republicans have got their way….
They’ve cut abortion AND poor women’s healthcare services ….
It WILL result is an INCREASE in children….
Those children will be American’s….
And just maybe down the road?
Those children will seal the fate of the Republicans…..
“Go to Mexico,” she said. “Go to Mexico – or stay pregnant.”
“If I hadn’t planned, I would have had at least 8 kids.”
MARLENA, 32, MOTHER OF FOUR
Marlena, 32, knew all about the raids on la pulga, because that’s where she used to buy her birth control. On a recent Wednesday, most of the women visiting the local San Juan Community Center, where Planned Parenthood has managed to keep open a once-weekly health clinic, had heard about the raids. Some of them said they had always been afraid to buy contraception there, because who knew how long the drugs had been sitting out in the sun?
Marlena said the drugs available at the flea market were just as good as those that her friends sometimes buy for her at pharmacies in Mexico. (She is undocumented.) The only trouble she has is finding someone to inject the Depo-Provera. “No one ever wants to do it,” she said. “They’re afraid of messing it up.”
Claudia, also 32, shook her head. “It’s better to be checked by a doctor,” she said. But she hadn’t seen a doctor since the birth of her youngest three years ago. She’d come to the clinic this time for a breast exam and a pap smear.
“If I hadn’t planned, I would have had at least eight kids,” said Marlena. The youngest of the four children she does have clambered at her feet. “But sometimes you have the money, and sometimes you don’t.” Her husband is a carpenter, and when it rains, there is little work.
It had taken both of them months of calling to get an appointment at the clinic. That Wednesday morning, a four-hour wait past the scheduled time to see the single nurse practitioner wasn’t a surprise. The women patiently juggled each other’s babies on their laps. Quiero cuidarme, they said of their need for birth control. I want to take care of myself.
Much as they’ve tried, they haven’t always been able to do that. One woman at the clinic has nine children. Both Claudia and Marlena want to get their tubes tied, but neither can afford it. “I’ve been on the waiting list for two years,” Marlena said.
In 2010, Planned Parenthood of Hidalgo County, which covers much of the vast Rio Grande area, saw 24,000 patients, including at the San Juan center. Then came the Republican legislature.
“Sixty-six percent of the funds were slashed completely and given to other programs that don’t do family planning – worthwhile programs, but they’re not for women, especially not poor and uninsured women,” said Patricio Gonzalez, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Hidalgo County.
That funding cut was followed by state legislation, heralded by Gov. Rick Perry, intended to stop Planned Parenthood from receiving any public funds. The Hidalgo County affiliate had never provided abortions – in fact, public health experts estimate it had prevented between 1,000 and 1,500 abortions a year with its family planning services – but it was doomed by its connection to national Planned Parenthood and its willingness to make referrals to Whole Woman’s Health, the now-shuttered abortion clinic in town.
The family planning money that was left after the funding cuts was divided into three tiers that put Planned Parenthood and other explicitly-pro-choice providers at the very bottom, even though none of the funds were going to abortion services. The county health departments and federally qualified health centers that were supposed to replace Planned Parenthood are already overwhelmed by providing primary care, and they don’t specialize in family planning.
“They’ve destroyed the infrastructure we had here for healthcare,” said Gonzalez. “To cut out the family planning funds was a very cruel thing to do.”