A senior Texas health official who co-authored a report that criticized the state's funding cuts to Planned Parenthood for reducing access to reproductive healthcare will retire from his post next month, a Texas commission said on Friday.
Rick Allgeyer, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's director of research, faced criticism from the state's Republican leaders over the report published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine this month. The report said state funding cuts to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates had an adverse effect on family planning for lower-income people.
Allgeyer is eligible to retire and decided to do so effective on March 31, the commission said. Allgeyer, who has been at the commission for 16 years and was one of the study's five listed authors, declined to comment.
In 2011, the Texas state legislature cut Planned Parenthood out of one family-planning program and revamped the way another program hands out funds, placing it and other private clinics at the bottom of the list.
Top Texas political leaders have said after cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood that the state has been able to rebuild its safety net.
Independent health experts dispute the claim, saying Texas still has a long way to go before it can provide the level of service it did when Planned Parenthood was an integral part of its family planning efforts.
The Texas plan has garnered attention among Republicans in the U.S. Congress who are looking to defund the nation's largest family-planning provider at the national level.
The study said the cuts appeared to lead to an increase of unintended pregnancies among lower-income residents and a decrease in access to long-acting reversible contraception. It also said the cuts appeared to increase the rate of childbirths covered by Medicaid.
Some Texas Republicans said it was inappropriate for a state employee to be involved in such a study and that its results were flawed, putting political pressure on Allgeyer.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)