The Mercury News reported recently on the increase in birth control related visits across Northern California clinics. Comparing the number of visits per month to the previous year, there has been a peak of 25% more visits in December 2008 compared to December 2007 at these clinics.
The article quotes San Jose clinic manager, Eileen Sims: “women coming to her clinic for birth control tend to fall into two categories: those who want to start and those who are on birth control but lost their job or private insurance and can no longer afford the cost.” Besides the cost conundrum women find themselves in with affording birth control, the article also reports that immigrants, who are here on visas, are concerned about losing their jobs if they become pregnant, and therefore are increasing their birth control usage.
The majority of people served at Planned Parenthood clinics, and other public health clinics in California, depend on Family PACT (Planning, Access, Care and Treatment), the state’s Medicaid program for family planning services. A recent report put out by the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, reveals an increase of women in need of Family PACT services from 1999 to 2004, topping off at 1.6 million women receiving services in the 2003-2004 Fiscal Year. Unfortunately this program is at risk of getting its funding cut, due to major budgetary problems in California. Other states, such as Texas, are also experiencing budgetary problems in health care.
We recently wrote about the six Planned Parenthood clinics in El Paso, TX that have been closed due to monetary problems. These Texas clinics provided vital sexual health services to both men and women, and now there are more people who are without a clinic to access, so it is extremely important that we fight to keep the clinics that are left, open in every state.
Robin Mangini, Research Intern