FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again

My nieces, who range in age from 17 to 25, grew up in a very different world from the one I knew coming of age in the 1970s.

For their entire lives, abortion has been legal. And Planned Parenthood and other women’s clinics have served as a steadfast source of health care.

Although access to reproductive care is still too often contingent on income or zip code, until recently it felt like our fundamental rights were, by and large, standing on solid ground.

It no longer feels that way — and that makes me truly afraid for my nieces.

Politicians putting women’s health on the chopping block isn’t new. But the pain feels so much sharper with this Congress and White House chipping away at constitutional rights and slashing funding for women’s health. The burden will fall heaviest on women who can least afford cuts, but who will be forced to pay the heaviest price.

These attacks, which are part of the larger war on women, have already begun in the few short months since Trump took office.

Not surprisingly, in April President Trump signed legislation to undo a rule protecting the Title X family planning program. I wonder if he knew or cared that Title X is a vital safety net program that has supported access to affordable health care — including cancer screenings, well-woman exams, and birth control — for millions of low-income people.

Does he know or care that about one in five Title X patients are African American, nearly one third are Latino, and around half are white? That the vast majority of people who use Title X make do on incomes less than 150 percent of the federal poverty line?

The sad reality is most of those served by this program simply can’t afford care on their own, and this administration doesn’t care.

This newly signed repeal lets states prevent Title X patients from accessing critical health services if their local health care provider also provides abortions, like Planned Parenthood. This should be seen for what it is: a shameful move that puts partisan politics above the health of low-income women and their families — including many who voted for this administration.

Despite recent failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, extreme politicians remain committed unnecessarily to “defunding” Planned Parenthood. Why unnecessary? Because since 1976, Congress has had a rule — the Hyde Amendment — that prevents federal dollars from paying for abortions.

That means Planned Parenthood already can’t spend tax dollars on abortions. So when politicians talk about “defunding” it, what they’re really talking about is preventing women who rely on programs like Medicaid from accessing other services — like pre-natal care — through Planned Parenthood.

If Congress were to successfully shut down Planned Parenthood health centers, a breathtaking 2.5 million people, both men and women, would no longer have access to cancer screenings, birth control, and other critical services each year — likely causing a national health care crisis.

Whether she lives in the city, a suburb, or in a rural community, a low-income woman would find herself with a personal health care crisis like no other in recent times. For many, there are simply no other affordable options to turn to if their local Planned Parenthood center shuts down.

Our right to safe, affordable, accessible health care is on the chopping block. As the attacks ramp up, women of all ages, ethnicities, and racial identities should be talking together, sharing together, and demanding together our right to be healthy. Our health — and that of our families and communities — should never be disregarded for the sake of political expediency.

For my nieces’ generation — and for women across the country — the price is just too high.

Minister Leslie Watson Malachi is the director of African American Religious Affairs at People For the American Way.

Distributed by OtherWords.org. 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail