Protect the Reproductive Health of Texas’ Young Women

TMA Testimony by Celia Neavel, MD

House Public Health Committee House Bill 800 by Rep. Donna Howard 

TMA Written testimony submitted on behalf of: Texas Medical Association

  • Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists District XI (Texas)
  • Texas Academy of Family Physicians Texas Pediatric Society

March 6, 2019

The Texas Medical Association, Texas Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – Chapter XI (Texas), Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Texas Pediatric Society strongly support House Bill 800 by Rep. Donna Howard. The associations represent more than 53,000 physician, resident, and medical student members. The proposal is an important step in protecting and promoting the health of young families in Texas. Physicians are strong advocates for preventive care for women, and this includes access to comprehensive reproductive health services for teens with parental consent.

The teen birth rate has continued to decline in recent years in Texas. However, almost 27,000 teens gave birth in 2017, and 20 percent were teens who already have a child. We want our patients to be healthy, and have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies when the time is right. In the latest high school risk behavior survey (2017), we learn that almost 40 percent of Texas high school students reported they had had sexual intercourse, and only 25 percent of those had used any means of contraception.

We know a variety of socioeconomic and health risks are associated with unplanned pregnancies of our young patients. With parental consent, reducing barriers to contraception – including long-acting reversible contraceptives – helps guarantee fewer unplanned pregnancies and associated health risks and fewer abortions, and more education and greater economic opportunities for our patients. Pregnancy prevention efforts increase teen participation in school, in turn providing teens greater support for reaching their potential for future educational and employment opportunities. In addition, according to Power to Decide, the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy, Texas could save nearly $250 million annually if we were able to avert all unintended births among teens.

We appreciate the opportunity to share our support for the bill and commend your efforts to provide comprehensive preventive health services to our young Texans.

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Last Updated On

March 06, 2019