“Debates in 2012 about birth control and restricting women’s access to health care undermines decades of progress,” says President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Vicki Cowart.
Planned Parenthood turned 95 years old in October, 2011. If Romney has his way, the government will stop feeding the program, which will then possibly starve it to death, affecting women’s health on a global scale. Planned Parenthood receives close to 50% in funding from the government. Romney told a Missouri TV journalist straight forwardly, “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.”
Romney, a previous supporter of Planned Parenthood services so he could get the vote in Mass., has now changed his position, and will work, if elected to “get rid of” federal funding to a program that serves millions of women throughout the United States. Abortion services aside, Planned Parenthood serves as a station for women’s health in general, including breast cancer screening, gynecological care, and STI screening and treatment.
Romney said to college students in Missouri recently, that “It’s a free country,” and women can go wherever they want to get their healthcare needs met. That is a tricky statement, because there is nothing really free in this country. Romney said earlier to a student, “If you want free handouts, go to the Democrats,” and that he is not the candidate for free stuff. We are a country that rests on personal responsibility and has a “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” ideology, so the “free” in Romney’s statement feels a little inaccurate, even if we have free choice, which is most likely what he really means.
The free choice seems restricting to those women who cannot afford a healthcare plan on their own, and even if she works, some employers cannot provide a healthcare plan to her. Nearly 17 million women (roughly 1:5) aged 18- 64 do not have healthcare, according to womenshealth.gov. So while she works, she is either not offered a plan as companies slit their benefit offerings, or she cannot afford a private plan that is available to her. If she is working, she probably does not qualify for Medicaid, the government’s safety net for the uninsured. So what is a woman’s free choice if there is no Planned Parenthood? She ignores her health until she becomes gravely ill, needs to quit her job, and then go to the government for state funded aid- healthcare, and then other assistance including cash, because now she is not working. So ultimately, a woman’s illness falls on the government anyway.
Part of personal responsibility is to be able to partake in preventative health measures, and that includes regular check-ups. Take that option away, and our gamble on the health of our mothers, wives, sisters, aunts and friends becomes quite high.
“Where it used to be Roe that anti-choice politicians railed against, now it’s also birth control, access to health care, and a woman’s right to privacy. It is 2012! These issues should not be in question,” said President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Vicki Cowart.
As it stands now, STI screening and treatment accounts for 38% of what Planned Parenthood provides. Contraception at 33% comes in second for most sought after service at Planned Parenthood. Abortion in Planned Parenthood, if anyone is interested only accounts for 3% of services rendered, according to Planned Parenthood’s 2010 annual report. Over one million women received cancer screening and preventative services. Almost half of Planned Parenthood’s budget is funded by the government. As women represent half the U.S. population, is it not then the government’s job to support the care of half our population in some way?