Women’s March, Women’s Health: Why We Should Care

 

It’s estimated that at least 3.3 million women and men marched in 500 cities across the United States in the Women’s March on Washington, on Saturday, January 21, 2017, a grassroots movement that spread worldwide, where thousands of people marched out of solidarity in several cities around the globe.

Women in the US marched for a multitude of reasons–intersectional gender equity, non-draconian health policies, immigration, human rights, to name a few. But mostly, to collectively act as a conduit to communicate opposition against the newly elected president and his proposed, anti-women, anti-POC, anti-muslim, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-democratic policies.

Why should anyone else care about what happens in the US?

It’s a terrifying thing to watch a leading country of the world slowly become embraced by divisive language that divides people by gender, ethnicity, and religion. It’s terrifying to watch the President of the United States challenge the foundations of democracy with hate speech. It sets a precedent for us all; it’s a slippery slope.

I believe that many people, including myself, marched out of solidarity for women in the US and everywhere. It was about choosing not to be complacent and okay with the vitriolic language used, and precedent being set, by a newly elected president on the world platform. It was about defying the language of fear that desires silence and oppression.

 

Women’s Health

Women’s health is another reason why I marched. In 2017, I didn’t think that convincing was needed to prove that anti-abortion laws and cut funding for Planned Parenthood is a detriment for women’s health. And cut funding for the Affordable Care Act would certainly mean death, or a severe reduction to a person’s quality of life. The stats are there on what happens when basic social determinants for health are removed. For me, Canadian Health Care is a privilege and a right. I would not wish a life on anyone where the rights to affordable care were retracted because some “tough guy” wanted to prove a point without having another plan in place. Whether you need convincing or not, here are some stats you can checkout.

 

Stats you should know about:
1. Arguments made against Planned Parenthood are predominantly made from a pro-life perspective; however, based on Planned Parenthood statistics, only “3%” of services provided in counties across the USA came from providing abortion services.1 This number may be higher, but falls around 3%.  Looking at testing for STIs/ STDs–an important service providing preventative care from cervical cancer and other diseases–this service made-up 42% of patient care, and access to contraceptives provided 34% of services. (PP graphs taken fromNPR’s article on PP and gov funding.)2

 

2. Abortion services cost more than contraceptions and testing for SDIs/ STDs.3 Ah, yeah. This is a sensitive procedure requiring surgical care, it’s not as easy as handing out condoms or prescribing birth control. Costs are dependant on pricing per state, regulations per state, or federally, and one’s stage in pregnancy. If anything this is a point brought up to create doubt on whether Planned Parenthood’s abortion services are legally compliant with the Hyde Amendment.4  Costs do not indicate reason behind someone’s need for an abortion, but it’s an easier argument for politicians to make than questioning the discernment of trained medical professionals.  Considering the breadth of services provided preventing unintended pregnancy, Planned Parenthood has been providing better quality of life for US citizens by preventing higher need for abortions in the first place.

 

3. Government funding of Planned Parenthood from 2013-2014 (most recent statistics provided) provided $528 million in 
funding75% of government funding comes from Medicaid reimbursements.56

 

4. Taken from Planned Parenthood’s most recent statistics:  84% of PP patients are ages 20 and older; 78% are at or below the federal income poverty level; 80% received contraceptives, which PP estimated prevented over half a million unintended pregnancies (and also estimated that access to contraceptives, via PP, prevented 217,000 abortions per year).These numbers make a convincing argument regarding how beneficial Planned Parenthood is to women and families in the US.7

 

5. The Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, is an extension of Medicaid, allowing uninsured individuals, and non-elderly individuals, improved access to affordable health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid’s Key Facts on the Uninsured shows that by the end of 2015 there was a decrease of 13 million uninsured, non-elderly Americans.8 With a cut to funding for Planned Parenthood, and removal of the Affordable Care Act, the US is looking at a future with severe public health issues in terms of women’s health and health care access for its poor.

 

The reality is that some Americans do not know that the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are the same thing. This is a partisan advantage, creating divisive rhetoric and ideology that only helps political decision-makers wanting to dismantle the current health care system supporting the poor. Many Americans are fully aware of what’s happening, but some may not know until it’s all said and done. Women’s access to health care is a human right; access to affordable health care is a human right. This is why I care. It’s about embracing each other despite where we may live. Our silence protects no one.

Example of American health care as a partisan issue, here:

The Pussy Project

Interested in reading a few stories on Women’s rights, and life experiences, shared by women from across the US? Leading up to the US election, a friend posted The Pussy Project on their facebook page. The Pussy Project, a project with photos and content by Helena Price, is a beautifully curated website of anecdotes collected from US women, pre-election. America’s 45th is already in office, but more than ever, now is a time for women’s stories to be heard. You can check it out, here: The Pussy Project .


Quotes from The Pussy Project:


“For those who are wondering how to “be an ally,” for those wondering how to “be a part of the solution”, and “find a voice” and “help out,” this election is the platform for them to help make a difference.” ~PP

“I am fearful that this election could impact access to abortion and other crucial family planning and sexual and reproductive health services for women.”~PP

“I used to think feminism wasn’t an issue, because I was convinced gender equality had been achieved.”~pp

1st poster By Liza Donavan, “Hear Our Voice”

2nd poster By Kate Deciccio, “Embracing Each Other”

 

 

References:
1 (2015) Planned Parenthood: By the Numbers. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, website:  https://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/3314/3638/1447/PP_Numbers.pdf. 

2 Kurtzleben, Danielle. (August 5, 2015) Fact Check: How Does Planned Parenthood Spend That Government Money?  Nation Public Radio, website:  http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/08/05/429641062/fact-check-how-does-planned-parenthood-spend-that-government-money.

3 Ye Hee Lee, Michelle. (August 12, 2015) Fact Checker: For Planned Parenthood abortion stats, ‘3 percent’ and ’94 percent’ are both misleading. The Washington Post: democracy dies in darkness, website: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/08/12/for-planned-parenthood-abortion-stats-3-percent-and-94-percent-are-both-misleading/?utm_term=.6c9d1ac61ba0.

4 (February 11, 2017) Hyde Amendment.  Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyde_Amendment. 

5 (December 29, 2014) Planned Parenthood 2013-2014 Annual Report.  Planned Parenthood: Care. No Matter What, website:  https://issuu.com/actionfund/docs/annual_report_final_proof_12.16.14_.

6 Kurtzleben, Danielle. (August 5, 2015) Fact Check: How Does Planned Parenthood Spend That Government Money?  Nation Public Radio, website:  http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/08/05/429641062/fact-check-how-does-planned-parenthood-spend-that-government-money.

7  (July 2015) Planned Parenthood: By the Numbers. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, website:  https://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/3314/3638/1447/PP_Numbers.pdf. 

8 (September 29, 2016) Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured: Key Facts about the Uninsured Population. Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, website:  http://kff.org/uninsured/fact-sheet/key-facts-about-the-uninsured-population/.