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University of Texas at Austin

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As the state health department prepares to implement stringent new abortion facility regulations approved by lawmakers in July, abortion rights advocates continue to voice concerns that the rules will endanger women.

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In the 2013 legislative session, lawmakers sought to mitigate the impact of 2011 budget cuts with the largest financial package for women’s health services in state history. Yet, women’s health advocates have raised concerns that the financing does not go far enough and about abortion restrictions.

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The number of claims filed for medical and family planning services in the new state-run Texas Women's Health Program has dropped since the state ousted Planned Parenthood from it and set up its own program without federal financing, according to figures from the Health & Human Services Commission.

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Texas is fertile ground for debate on women’s health issues, as the national attention on state Sen. Wendy Davis’s recent filibuster of controversial regulations revealed. What's ahead for family planning services in the state and the women who depend on the programs?

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This year, there's no political fireworks or high-octane drama like the 2011 fight over women’s health care and abortion in Texas. Democrats will not die on the sword of bringing Planned Parenthood back into the fold, and Republicans will not put up additional barriers to women’s access to care.

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David C. Warner is the Wilbur J. Cohen Fellow in Health and Social Policy at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and a professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He also is a visiting professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. His major teaching and research interests are in economics, health policy and health finance. He formerly taught at Wayne State University and Yale University and was deputy director of the Office of Program Analysis of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

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