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Interview: College-Age Women Hardest Hit by Texas Health Cuts

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

After sparking raucous protests and a famous filibuster, new restrictions on abortion in Texas captured the nation’s attention this summer. But the fight over abortion and women’s health is not new in Texas.

In a new piece for The Austin Chronicle, investigative reporter Jordan Smith examines how the fallout from the abortion fight impacts care options for college-aged women. Her article, “From ‘Abstinence-Only’ to Plan Z” is part of a nationwide day of reporting on women’s health and reproductive issues.  

Here’s an excerpt:

Although it is hard to determine precisely how many young women in Austin or the rest of Texas lack meaningful access to health care, data recently released by the Census Bureau reflects that, once again, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the nation – and, at nearly 30%, the highest rate of uninsured women in the country, according to the National Women's Law Center – and that, nationally, more than 27% of all college-aged individuals (19-25, by federal standards) lack health insurance. (Accord­ing to city demographer Ryan Robinson, college-enrolled students make up 9.4% of the entire Austin metropolitan area, which includes San Marcos.) Mean­while, local rates of two of the most common sexually transmitted infections are highest among college-aged persons, and nationally, women 25 and younger account for 51% of all new STIs; in Texas, college-aged women annually account for a high percentage of terminated pregnancies. Those are the kinds of statistics that health care providers say make it all the more important for young women to have good information about and access to women's health services. Yet in Austin, access to family planning remains difficult, complicated greatly by limited access to comprehensive sex education statewide and more recently, drastic cuts to the state's family planning budget, leaving women … on their own to seek out information and to figure out how to afford – and where to find – basic care.

Listen to KUT’s interview with Jordan Smith in the player above.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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