Press release


March 6, 2020

(Washington, D.C.) — Recent data from Power to Decide, show that 1,747,510 women living at or below 250% of the poverty level in Texas live in contraceptive deserts, counties in which there is not reasonable access to a health center offering the full range of contraceptive methods. Currently, across the country more than 19 million U.S. women of low income live in contraceptive deserts.

“It is unacceptable that more than 1.7 million women in Texas face tremendous barriers to accessing contraception they need and deserve in order to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child,” said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO, Power to Decide. “Because access to contraception is limited in many parts of Texas, women who are already struggling to make ends meet are now burdened with additional costs to access basic health care. Many of these women are being faced with the untenable decision of deciding whether to use their limited transportation and child-care dollars to go to work or get to a clinic. This is compounded by the fact that women who are faced with long distance travel may also need to take unpaid time off from work just to access basic health care.”

Women in Texas are also far less likely to have health coverage than women in other parts of the country, which limits their ability to get the birth control method that is right for them. In Texas, one quarter (24.3%) of women of reproductive age (13-44) are uninsured, double the national average of 11.7%.

“Women in Texas face a challenging contraceptive access landscape, which was made even worse by the recent federal approval of a waiver severely limiting the providers who can provide family planning services with Medicaid funding. Texas could help rather than hinder women in need through policies that protect and expand access to contraception,” said Ehrlich.

Expanding Medicaid to childless adults would help decrease the percentage of uninsured women, and by extension, give them contraceptive coverage. In addition, allowing pharmacists to prescribe contraception, and requiring insurance to cover an extended supply of prescription contraceptives can make it easier to access some contraceptive methods. Texas can also guard against additional barriers to access by enacting policies that protect insurance coverage of the full range of contraceptive methods. More information about these policies can be found here.

Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to ensure all people—no matter who they are, where they live or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Please visit us at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.