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A message posted on Twitter by Gov. Greg Abbott got us checking on the measurable impact of legislative actions targeting Planned Parenthood.
On Aug. 25, Abbott tweeted: "After Texas defunded Planned Parenthood, both the unintended pregnancy and abortion rates dropped."
Abbott’s tweet included a web link to a LifeNews.com post headlined: "When Planned Parenthood is De-Funded, Abortion and Unintended Pregnancy Rates Drop." The linked article, by Michael New, a visiting associate professor of economics at Ave Maria University in Florida, mentioned unintended pregnancies but it hinted at other indicators, stating that "in Texas, both the birth rate and the abortion rate have declined since 2011."
Rewind: 2011 was the year the Republican-led Legislature voted to bar government aid covering women’s health services, including contraception and cancer screenings, from going to Texas clinics affiliated with abortion providers. That cut-off took full effect by January 2013 as the state directed funding to clinics lacking such affiliations.
So, did the legislative action, signed into law by then-Gov. Rick Perry, hasten reductions in abortions and unintended pregnancies?
Abortions were already declining before the described defunding while data directly gauging unintended pregnancy rates since the defunding don’t yet exist.
We ultimately found that half this claim drew on cherry-picked statistics, the other half lacked factual backup and the full statement implied causation unproved. Our rating: Mostly False.