A Texas official is being forced to retire due to pressure from Republican legislators who took exception to a study he co-authored. The study found GOP efforts to exclude Planned Parenthood from the state’s family planning programs had a detrimental effect on access to reproductive health care.
Rick Allgeyer, director of research at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, was one of five co-authors of a study that found widespread negative consequences for contraceptive users after Republicans in 2013 banned Planned Parenthood from the Texas family planning program.
The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that after Planned Parenthood affiliates were excluded from the Texas Medicaid program beginning in 2013, delivery of the most effective reversible methods of contraception, including IUDs, implants, and injectable contraception, declined.
There was a substantial reduction, for example, in use of injectable contraception among patients reliant on this method of birth control and a 27 percent increase in births covered by Medicaid.
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“It’s one thing for an agency to provide data upon request. It’s quite another to be listed as a ‘co-author’ on a deeply flawed and highly political report,” Nelson said. “I’ve communicated strong concerns to the agency. This should not have happened, and we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Nelson wrote a letter to Chris Traylor, executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission, requesting that the commission review the study. “While I appreciate efforts to shine light on policy challenges, it is important for that information to paint an accurate picture,” Nelson wrote.
“Critical evaluation is essential to good government,” Nelson continued. “But women should not be misled into thinking the services they need are not available to them. Those services are readily available, and Texas women need to know that.”
Nelson has a long history of supporting policies that choke off access to reproductive health care, and Nelson has defended these policies against mounting evidence that they have had a detrimental impact on women’s health in the state.
Bryan Black, spokesperson for the state health commission, told the Texas Tribune that Allgeyer violated the agency’s policy for working part-time outside of the agency, without explicit permission.
“Rick Allgeyer is eligible for retirement and has decided to retire from the Health and Human Services Commission,” Black said in an email. “His retirement is effective March 31.”
Black wrote that Allgeyer “broke policy by working on the study during his workday. He should have never been putting in time on this study during the normal business day, he was paid to perform state business.”