Let’s Talk about Women’s Reproductive Health

On the last day of May, Congress reached agreement over a spending bill that keeps the government funded until September. The House and the Senate are expected to vote on the bill this week despite missing some of the more controversial issues. In previous forms of the the government budget Republicans and the President wanted to crack down on various issues, the border wall, sanctuary cities and Planned Parenthood. While the full text of the bill hasn’t been released yet,  The Hill, notes that defunding Planned Parenthood has been kept out of the current bill. Yet, Congress must approve the measure by May 5th when the temporary stop gap measure put in place earlier in the week runs out.

In light of discussion surrounding Planned Parenthood, this post will be a little different. I have asked a colleague to provide her conservative perspective on the issue and I will provide my progressive prospective. We aren’t here to attack each other’s arguments, merely to show differing perspectives over the same issue.

Carolyn Guthrie, a graduate student in English, presents a Conservative Christian outlook on Planned Parenthood. She grew up in Protestant, Charismatic communities and continues to practice a Faith-based lifestyle. She is pursuing her MA at a state school and teaches Rhetoric and Composition.

I am a vehement advocate for women’s health issues. I do whatever research I can and I attempt to take care of my body to the best of my known abilities. In Christian circles, we consider ourselves “stewards” of our bodies. We were given the gift of life and how we take care of ourselves matters. Christians at large don’t do the best job of widely advertising that we feel this way, but in my personal circles women often gather together to help one another care for their bodies. I offer help when I can to female friends, and I argue that taking care of your body means knowing your body and what it needs. If that is hormonal birth control, then that is your choice.

I’m not a supporter of Planned Parenthood for the same reason. I believe life is precious and should be preserved, and I don’t support abortions. I do think PP gets attacked far too much without a plan for how to replace it. I think that the more productive approach from the Conservative stance should be to provide alternatives. I think that the ACA did a lovely job by making birth control free, which was one way to help women in lower-income settings to prevent pregnancy and therefore prevent the need for abortions.

What I take a much stronger issue with is when women use abortion because it is the most “convenient” answer. I get irritated at Christians who shame women in lower-income scenarios who have abortions for the sake of “Not having another mouth to feed.” I don’t agree with that choice, but if faced with someone trying to make that choice I would offer every alternative I could (including my own home for their child if need be) and then let them choose. Shame is never the answer. If you are not prepared to offer real, practical alternatives then you cannot step into a conversation about what someone should do with their body. The same applies on a large scale. PP offers important services, services other places are not offering at an affordable cost, so if you want to oppose them you must be ready to offer real, practical alternatives to solve the same problems PP solves.

Paige Russell, a graduate student in Communication, presents a progressive outlook over Planned Parenthood. She grew up in rural Wyoming and has traveled the nation pursuing degrees in higher education. She is currently finishing up her MA at a state school where she teaches Public Speaking and Competitive Forensics (Speech and Debate).

I have always advocated for women’s healthcare and that includes women’s reproductive health. While I have been privileged to receive reproductive healthcare from a family gynecologist, other women are not as lucky as I am. That’s why Planned Parenthood is so important. When women who are not able to afford such services are in desperate need of them, then they can go to Planned Parenthood.

The Planned Parenthood website states that their healthcare centers provide, “preventive care such as contraception, reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections through testing and treatment, and screen for cervical and other cancers.” These services are important when considering that the healthcare bill that Republicans have been trying to pass would be a financial strain on pregnant women. Further, women shouldn’t be shamed for getting pregnant, if all women had access to the birth control that benefited them the best, then we wouldn’t have the need for abortion. Abortion is not something that any woman takes lightly, they are often fully aware of their choices and the decisions they must make in order for them to live.

I have no problem with abortion. I believe that women should have access to the services they need when they need it. They shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to be given a service they choose to partake in. Women seeking abortions often have to travel miles to a clinic and even then the abortion is not guaranteed, they often have to meet with numerous doctors or phycologists in order to get approval to move forward with their choice. Even then they may have to wait a few weeks before the procedure can even take place, and these clinics are not often in the place they live in. Which means that already poor income women have to commit more time and resources to procedure that already takes so much of their emotional and mental health. I have no problem with a woman being informed of her choices, but the doctors, nurse practitioners and the staff at Planned Parenthood are fully capable of providing that education. Women should not be shamed for taking part in services they need to live.


Women’s Rights Are Human Rights


The infamous phrase that posited women’s rights are human rights was uttered by Hillary Clinton at the United Nation’s Fourth World conference on Women in Beijing, China in 1995. Yet 22 years later, we are still introducing policy that demeans and demoralizes women’s choices at home in the U.S. and abroad. We must fight for women to be recognized as human beings in this administration and forever.

The race to repeal the ACA would threaten pregnancy and maternity as part of the 10 essential health benefit categories. Prior to ACA plans could overcharge women because of their gender and exclude maternity coverage. For a party that is suppose to be Pro-Life, it would appear that consideration is not about the woman carrying the child, or even after the child is born. See: Cutting of Afterschool Programs

Please consider volunteering at your local Planned Parenthood. Clinics around the country need support in various ways, and we all can provide them with the help they aren’t receiving from the government.

On International Women’s Day, House Republicans reignited legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. Trump as vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that works for women’s reproductive health, especially low cost care for poor women. In December 2016, The Verge noted that 55 million women have access to birth control right now without a co-pay, thanks to the ACA.

-As a note, women already face extreme circumstances if they want to get an abortion. There are many women who have to travel to different states, where those localities may require counseling or an ultrasound prior to the procedure taking place. There are logistical and financial burdens that await any woman’s right to choose.

Only two days after the Women around the world protested and marched on behalf of Women’s Rights, Trump reinstated the global gag rule (The Mexico City policy) that blocks U.S. federal funding to any non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counselling, referrals, for the expansion of abortion services or advocate to decriminalize abortion.

– Marie Stopes International, an international nonprofit reproductive health group said they will not follow the order, which will result in the loss of USAID funding. They note this loss of funding will result in in 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.2 million abortions, 2.1 million unsafe abortions and 21,700 maternal deaths in Africa and Asia.


Look at all these white men deciding what women need…….