These are the thoughts of a cantankerous ol' gynecologist who remembers when things were a little different. I try to find a little humor in my life and the people I meet along the way. Come meet the characters in my world.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Women’s Health and Politics

I am not only a Techno-dinosaur, but an old fart that grew up in the turbulent 1960s.  There was a lot of upheaval during that time.  We even had an expression “never trust anyone over thirty”.  I have recently heard that out of my own kids.  Maybe it’s an age thing.

We fought for civil rights, women’s rights, and the right not to go to war.  Vietnam was still a hot issue.  Our brothers (but not sisters) were going off to war.  We were burning our draft cards and our bras.  We had sit-ins, rallies, the first Earth Day, demonstrations and all kinds of protests.  “Peace and Love” was a motto for the Hippie generation. 

One of the things that we fought for was women’s right to birth control and control over our own bodies.  The invention of birth control pills in the late 1950s gave women some control over their fertility.  The Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973 made abortion legal, ended generations of illegal, dangerous “back street” abortions.
Planned Parenthood was and is where many women obtain their reproductive health services.  This is especially true for women who are medically underserved (those without insurance and financially strained).  In many areas, PP is a major provider of women’s health care.  It’s where women go to get their pap smears, their birth control, their STD checks and their breast checks.  They get treated for any abnormalities.  Some federal or state programs help with some of these.  Others are funded with donations. 

The Susan G. Komen foundation has helped fund the breast care screening, education and treatment part of this for PP for many years.  Recently they decided to withdraw their funding because PP is “under investigation”.  This investigation is by a congressman who is anti-abortion.  Nothing was found, but he refuses to close the investigation.  SGK states that their move is not political.

Evidently there has been some pressure on SGK by some conservative organizations to stop their support of PP because they were afraid the support money was going to abortion care. 

America realized this.  America spoke.  The internet lit up.  Donations were huge to PP.  In less than 48 hrs, SGK issued an apology and promised to restore funds.  Women won’t be quiet anymore.  Don’t mess with our health care.

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