a bird and a bottle


Missouri: Now the Show Me (the Cervical Cancer) State
March 26, 2007, 8:20 pm
Filed under: civil rights, feminism/s & gender, law, news, politics, reproductive justice, sexuality

From Salon’s Broadsheet:

Hey folks, I’ve got a joke for you. Missouri’s Governor has cut funding for Planned Parenthood’s free breast and cervical cancer screenings because he feels patients shouldn’t be forced to “go to an abortion clinic to access life-saving tests.” Here’s the tragically funny punch-line: None of the clinics in question actually offer abortion services!

How d’ya like that? Now being anti-woman doesn’t even require a legitimate reason.

Oh, wait…

Anyway, there’s really no excuse for this. Up until now, Planned Parenthood has been able to provide this important screenings for free because of the funding cut today. It’s a politically expedient way to cut funding for important women’s health services. And because may people don’t dig beneath the headlines (nevermind many local newspapers), a lot of people won’t know the truth (though the feminist blogosphere is doing what we can to make sure that’s not the case).

The bottom line is, even if the Planned Parenthood clinics in question did provide abortions, that wouldn’t and shouldn’t matter. Jill sums it up:

And even if they did, patients don’t “have” to go to abortion clinics to access these tests — they just have the option to go to Planned Parenthood, which may be closer to where they live, easier for them to access, and more affordable than a private doctor.

We also can’t overlook the glaring racist aspects of this: the mortality rate from cervical cancer among Black women is more than twice that among White women. The reason why? It’s not necessarily genetics. It’s because Black (and Latina) women – particularly those who lack healthcare – are less likely to get often expensive annual pap smears, which can detect pre-cancerous cells, and are less likely to follow up on abnormal paps. Gynecological care is expensive but vital. But Missouri Gov. Blunt is letting politics get in the way of women’s health…and sometimes, their survival.

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