Monday, August 24, 2009

Planned Parenthood & Women's Reproductive Health Care Reform

Today I was sent an appeal via Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates to write a letter to the editor on Women's Reproductive Health Care Reform. In case it does not get published (I sent it to The Morning Call and The Express Times, so keep your eyes peeled), I am reprinting it here.

Subject: Playing the Gender Card in Health Care Reform

To the Editor:

In the debate about health care reform, I am disappointed that while (albeit legitimate) discussion has centered around costs and government-run systems, little has focused on women's reproductive health care, an ambiguous term that arouses thoughts of mandated abortion coverage in right-wing minds.

Therefore, let me make myself clear. Reproductive health care does not just include abortion, and doesn't necessarily mandate abortion. Reproductive health care means preventive care including breast and cervical exams; STD testing and prevention; and access to contraception. While beliefs about contraception vary, ACCESS does not mandate its use--it just means that if one DOES choose to use it or any of the other aforementioned PREVENTIVE health care options, she will not have to pay out-of-pocket.

It is sad that our country allows coverage of Viagra over routine, life-saving women's health care, a statement proven in part by the fact that women pay 68% more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men. It is also sad that in a nation that denounces teen pregnancy, health care reform discussions threaten to eliminate preventive coverages provided by Planned Parenthood, the only option for some teens to prevent pregnancy. I know that when I reached childbearing age and knew I needed preventive care, Planned Parenthood was my only option for obtaining it. I am confident, based on my own experience, that if women's reproductive health care is not addressed further in health care reform, consequences would be devastating for millions of women across the nation.


Mrs. Kate A. Mack
Allentown, PA

To get involved in this or any other issues surrounding women's reproductive health, please consider joining the Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates Action Network.

1 comment:

  1. I would note that "reproductive freedom" also needs to be broadened to cover birth issues.

    Right now a hospital that accepts government money can not turn away a woman who is in labor if she is within something like 100 feet of the ER under the "EMTALA" rules.

    I believe that rule should be expanded to require that any hospital that accepts government funding should accommodate vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)--perhaps even setting a minimum VBAC level that hospitals must obtain--as well as having care providers trained to perform vaginal breech births, which SOGC (the Canadian version of ACOG) now says is safer than cesarean in many cases.



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