The latest campaign against women’s health in the United States has taken place in the background of the Presidential Republican primaries.
Not surprisingly, the infamous videos filmed illegally in a Planned Parenthood office that spurred national propaganda against the organization were rigged. Amazingly, the anti abortion organization the Center for Medical Progress that released the videos with false assumptions claim, on their home page, to be a group dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances. They even claim to be concerned with bioethics and human dignity. In fact, their work is a distinct attack on women’s dignity and against all principles of ethics.
This group cannot produce medical progress and that is exactly the point. This imposture is inscribed in the larger project to eliminate and/or control a section of the population defined by gender, race and class. Low and middle-income women and women of color are the ones who are primarily going to be hurt. In 2013, 52% of all patients were Medicaid patients, 22% were Latinos, 14% African Americans. This campaign is formed in the political Republican discourse of discrimination.
This scheme is fueling the ongoing crusade against Planned Parenthood and against women’s health and rights in Republican states. We have already seen the consequences in Texas where 55% of women reported at least one barrier to accessing reproductive health care services including cervical cancer screening. Additionally, Bill HB2 has already effectively reduced women’s rights in Texas with only 6 ambulatory abortion centers left.
Each state has contracts with Planned Parenthood. What is being done is to eliminate public state money that was allocated to the organization to provide public health services to women.
These multilevel attacks are well orchestrated. Blocking them demands much resources a great deal of mobilization. Numerous inspections and bureaucratic hassles are put in place. Florida redefine gestational age. Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Utah and New Hampshire plan to end their contracts with Planned Parenthood.
Clearly, the intent is to continue to make the safety net thinner for the most vulnerable.
Pregnancy is already a risky business in the United States since women, and again especially low-income women and women of color, are under scrutiny and may end up in prison as well as deprived of medical and social support.
Jeb Bush declared that half a billion of dollars on women’s health is too much. Then, he shared his vision of public responsibility when it comes to women’s rights, asserting, “But abortion should not be funded by the government, any government in my mind.” Meanwhile, US women’s life expectancy is only 32nd in the world.
Should the role of the state be to allow women to control their reproductive health by guaranteeing them access to reproductive health services? Remember, half of all pregnancies are unintended in the United States, and pregnancy services are not free of charge. Remember as well, women have higher quality of life and life expectancy in countries where the government funds abortion and where pregnancy services are free of charge.
How the “life” of the unborn has toppled the life of a woman is no mystery: a great dose of political cynicism serves vested interest and neoliberal economics to create a geography of increasing discrimination and vulnerability.
As for morality, these videos, falsified and published by a dubious organization, got more traction and visibility than the reality of women’s reproductive health and lives! Why? Why are women’s universal rights to reproductive health and health care being systematically erased?
(Photo Credit: Anne Savage / eclectablog.com)