Why Texas needs Planned Parenthood

Photo by John Jordan

The Proverbs tell us to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. This is why The Embrey Family Foundation began funding Planned Parenthood in 2009.

We know the truth: Women and girls need medically accurate, age-appropriate education to know and understand their bodies, and above all, they need access to high-quality health care to ensure they have an opportunity to live a full life. The recent attempts by the State of Texas to exclude Planned Parenthood affiliates from the state’s Medicaid program puts women and girls at risk.

Despite state lawmakers suggesting there are alternatives to care for women in Texas, one in five women report relying on Planned Parenthood for health care in her lifetime. For many, the local Planned Parenthood health center may be the only source available for the specialized care they provide. This includes lifesaving services like well-women exams, clinical breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, birth control, HIV testing and other preventative care for low-income patients, including men. Without Planned Parenthood as an option, where will the nearly 13,000 Texans with Medicaid who rely on their care go?

According to the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, in spite of the strong “abstinence only” method of sex education being taught throughout public schools, Texas is third in the nation in teen birthrates, and first in repeat pregnancies. Almost three-fourths of Texas schools still teach abstinence only curriculums. We can do better. We must.

If we care about our children, then we need to provide affordable care for them and their mothers and fathers. We need to educate our youth on how to take care of their bodies, just as Planned Parenthood has always done, providing a safe place to ask questions and gather information without judgment.

According to our own research, Dallas wants to see change, and they want a bright future for the sake of our children. We need Planned Parenthood to continue to educate our children and youth. 6 million people visit Planned Parenthood websites seeking health information every month and an additional 1.5 million are reached through education and outreach programs every year.

Supporting Planned Parenthood is about helping thousands of low-income Texans who depend on the organization's health care. It is about educating the marginalized and bringing healing to the hurting. It is an honorable legacy we are proud to stand behind.

Disclosure: Planned Parenthood was a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune in 2011. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Lauren Embrey

CEO, The Embrey Family Foundation