Family planning cuts concern Nacogdoches health center

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - At the East Texas Community Health Center, family planning state funds pay for contraceptives and so much more.

"Family planning funds area a cornerstone in the foundation of our health center," said the health center's chief executive officer, Robin Moore. Moore is concerned how East Texans will be adversely impacted by a decrease in family planning state funding.

Family planning funding was reduced by nearly 70% from $111.5 million to $37.9 million in the 2012-2013 biennium.

"Women's health involves the well woman exam, which is the breast exam, along with the pap smear," explained Jody White, a licensed vocational nurse who works in the women's health division. "We try to do those yearly. We also do family planning, which means they want to get pregnant or after they've already gotten pregnant, we take care of the ob's as well."

Family planning also entails lab tests for cancer detection, sexually transmitted infections and hypertension.

All the services are at risk when East Texas Community Health Center loses more than a total of $202,000, part of the $38-million in statewide cuts.

"In the political rhetoric the only thing they link to family planning is abortion," said Moore. We have nothing to do with abortion and so it becomes a political hot potato."

Moore is enroute to a national convention for community health services. No doubt, severe funding cuts at all levels will be discussed.

The impact will mean less services, whether it be for well woman care or contraceptive methods. Some IUD's cost as much as $400.

"They do without, they end up pregnant and we have issues there," said White.

"There's no doubt in my mind that if you restrict contraception that there's going to be more births," said Dr. James Koerner, a obstetrician and gynecologist at the center. "And those people are going to come to the hospital and demand the same service that everybody else demands and they can't be denied when they show up on our door steps and you have a problem we're gonna deal with it."

The legislative budget board estimates the cuts to family planning could lead to over 20,000 additional births, many that will be unintended and undesired.

©2011 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.