clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

In these 105 counties, Planned Parenthood is the only full-service birth control clinic

HHS Secretary Tom Price wanted to see a list of counties where Planned Parenthood is the only option for women who need subsidized birth control. Here’s that list.

During a CNN Health Care Town Hall on Wednesday, co-host Dana Bash asked Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about what would happen to the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for health care if the organization were to be defunded.

Specifically, she asked about those who live in the 105 counties where Planned Parenthood is the only clinic that offers women the full range of contraceptive services.

“Well, I’d be interested in the list you have,” Price replied.

The list, it turns out, comes from data compiled by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which did extensive research on so-called contraceptive deserts — areas where women in need have relatively limited access to publicly funded clinics that offer birth control. (Here’s a map of these areas, broken down by county.)

Their research found that 3.1 million US women who need publicly funded contraception live in counties with zero publicly funded clinics that offer the full range of contraceptive methods, including longer-acting methods like IUDs that are the most effective at preventing pregnancy.

The National Campaign shared with Vox the full list of 105 counties where Planned Parenthood is the only full-service reproductive health clinic:


  • Imperial County
  • Madera County
  • Placer County
  • San Mateo County
  • Shasta County
  • Solano County
  • Sutter County


  • Chaffee County
  • Grand County
  • Montezuma County
  • Weld County


  • Windham County


  • Champaign County
  • LaSalle County
  • McLean County
  • Peoria County
  • St. Clair County
  • Sangamon County


  • Bartholomew County


  • Black Hawk County
  • Des Moines County
  • Johnson County
  • Lee County
  • Pottawattamie County
  • Story County
  • Woodbury County


  • Sagadahoc County
  • York County


  • Frederick County
  • Talbot County
  • Wicomico County


  • Berrien County
  • Jackson County
  • Livingston County
  • Macomb County
  • Marquette County


  • Beltrami County
  • Benton County
  • Dakota County
  • Douglas County
  • Kandiyohi County
  • Olmsted County
  • Washington County


  • Greene County
  • Jasper County
  • St. Charles County


  • Yellowstone County

New Hampshire:

  • Sullivan County

New Jersey:

  • Burlington County
  • Monmouth County
  • Passaic County
  • Union County

New York:

  • Dutchess County
  • Fulton County
  • Genesee County
  • Jefferson County
  • Lewis County
  • Madison County
  • Montgomery County
  • Oneida County
  • Orange County
  • Richmond County
  • Rockland County
  • St. Lawrence County
  • Schenectady County
  • Schoharie County
  • Schuyler County
  • Sullivan County
  • Warren County


  • Clark County
  • Delaware County
  • Lucas County
  • Mahoning County
  • Medina County
  • Portage County
  • Richland County
  • Wayne County


  • Cambria County
  • Somerset County


  • Wasatch County
  • Washington County
  • Weber County


  • Bennington County
  • Franklin County
  • Lamoille County
  • Orleans County
  • Washington County
  • Windham County
  • Windsor County


  • Albemarle County


  • Chelan County
  • Clallam County
  • Kittitas County
  • Okanogan County
  • San Juan County
  • Skagit County
  • Whitman County


  • Columbia County
  • Manitowoc County
  • Outagamie County
  • Racine County
  • Sheboygan County
  • Walworth County
  • Washington County
  • Wood County

Other community health centers simply can’t fill in the coverage gaps without Planned Parenthood

Price repeated a common Republican talking point: that since the nation has more than 13,000 community health centers, women don’t need Planned Parenthood’s 650 or so clinics. They can just go somewhere else for birth control.

Price also suggested that other community health centers would somehow “spring up” to fill the gaps in areas where Planned Parenthood was the major provider.

But that’s just not realistic. And if Price thinks otherwise, that means he doesn’t really understand how the nation’s safety-net family planning network works at all.

First, not every community health center is a safety-net family planning provider. In 2010, 8,409 (not 13,000) safety-net health centers offered subsidized family planning, according to research from the Guttmacher Institute, a think tank that studies reproductive health.

More to the point, though, Planned Parenthood offers a hugely disproportionate amount of services for the number of clinics it operates. In 2010, Planned Parenthood clinics made up just 10 percent of safety-net providers, but served 36 percent of women who got contraceptive care from safety-net centers.

In 2010, Planned Parenthood cared for at least half of all women who needed publicly funded family planning services in 332 of the 491 counties where it operates.

For many low-income women, Planned Parenthood is the only place they can count on to get subsidized birth control.
Guttmacher Institute

And because it specializes in reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood is usually much better at providing birth control than other clinics that focus on primary care:

While many community health centers offer high-quality care, there is just no way that most of them could take on Planned Parenthood’s patients if the organization shut down. They don’t have the capacity; they often struggle just to accommodate the patients they already have.

More government grant money alone would not solve that problem; health centers would need capital to build more clinics and hire more staff, and they would need time to build capacity.

And that’s if Republicans actually keep their promises to divert Planned Parenthood’s funding elsewhere. That often doesn’t happen. And when it does, it often doesn’t work.

After Republican lawmakers in Kansas kicked Planned Parenthood out of the state’s Title X program by restricting the grants to public entities in 2011, the number of patients seen in Title X–funded health centers in Kansas dropped dramatically, from 38,461 patients in 2011 to just 24,047 in 2015.

When Republican lawmakers in Texas kicked Planned Parenthood out of the state’s Women’s Health Program in 2013, other providers didn’t step up to fill in the gaps. Women just got less health care. In areas that had been served by Planned Parenthood before defunding, prescriptions for the most effective forms of birth control plummeted by a third, and women on Medicaid had 27 percent more births than normal.

Planned Parenthood of Michigan

In practice, defunding Planned Parenthood takes money away from its mostly low-income patients, who will no longer be able to use their Medicaid coverage at their preferred health care provider. Low-income women will be hit especially hard, but all Planned Parenthood patients may be affected if clinics are forced to close as a result of budget cuts.

Correction: Chelan County, Washington was mistakenly omitted when this article was first published.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.