The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Mariel Puryear


Family planning has opened economic and social doors for women. Contraception, specifically, allows women to choose when they have children, how far apart their children are born, or if they have children at all. This freedom empowers women to pursue higher education and careers which might not have been attainable otherwise. The increase in education effectively levels the playing field between genders, bringing more women into traditionally male-dominated professions. Family planning and contraceptive measures also dramatically impact low-income families. The role of family planning clinics is extremely important in a state like Texas, where many do not have insurance, and more than half of all pregnancies are unintended. Texas also ranks third in the nation for teen births and number one in repeat teen births. Texas lawmakers should take initiative to educate the population about reproductive health, while also providing family planning and contraception. However, the Texas Legislature continuously decreases funding for family planning and restricts access to care. These policies are due to political pressures imposed by socially conservative lawmakers who view contraception and abortion as one in the same. Publicly funded family planning has allowed many low-income families the opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty. Family planning effects are well-documented, but attacks on the program persist in states such as Texas. The broader goals of decreasing unintended pregnancies, decreasing abortions, and increasing the quality of care for women and low-income families should be the primary motivation for lawmakers. This should hold true despite what lawmakers might consider to be the more contentious aspects of family planning.

Volume Number


Issue Number



St. Mary's University School of Law



Included in

Law Commons