Our right to reproductive health
When a white male (cough, cough, Republican Senator Mike Pence of Indiana and House Speaker John Boehner) gets to decide what happens to my cervix and uterine wall, I know something is seriously wrong. Ever heard of a thing called epistemic advantage? (If not, go look it up.) Sexism much?
Colby, I gotta let this out: my uterus is irate. My fallopian tubes are depressed. My ovaries are heartbroken. Why, you ask? Why are my reproductive organs in such a tizzy? Because Planned Parenthood is under attack. People are waging a war on women’s healthcare, and it must stop. So, I am asking you, dearest Colby College, to step up and stand with Planned Parenthood.
I’ll take a step back. What is Planned Parenthood? Planned Parenthood is a dependable health care provider, an informed educator and an ardent advocate of reproductive health care and sex education to millions of women, men and young people across the globe.
Every year, Planned Parenthood’s doctors and nurses carry out approximately 830,000 breast exams and one million lifesaving screenings for cervical cancer. The organization provides affordable birth control to nearly 2.5 million patients and completes about four million tests for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Consider this statistic: one in five American women receive care from Planned Parenthood during their lives (I am one of those women).
Women should be entitled to access to these affordable health care services, but members of the House recently passed Rep. Mike Pence’s amendment to the House Republican spending plan, barring Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funding. Simply put, the assault on Planned Parenthood is part of the larger movement against abortion rights. Here is the thing that doesn’t get through those congressmen’s heads: over 90 percent of the care Planned Parenthood offers is preventive—and federal funding does not go towards the cost abortions at Planned Parenthood.
If the Senate does not reverse Pence's amendment, the primary and preventive health care provider on which millions of American women rely will cease to exist. People, this is not about abortion (although the attackers are trying to make it seem like it is): this is about women’s rights. This is blatant sexism.
In many ways our health center is like Colby’s Planned Parenthood. We can walk into the health center and get birth control. We can get tested for STDs—heck, we can even get abortions—but it would be absurd to think about cutting all funding for the health center, would it not? Seriously, think for a minute about the problems we would have on this campus without the health center. No birth control pills. No condoms. No dental dams. No STD tests. No pregnancy tests. Just think about the student uproar that would ensue if the administration tried to do that! Our main source of healthcare would be gone! Well, that is happening on a national level.
Ladies and gentlemen, we would be flipping out if we couldn’t get access to sexual healthcare at Garrison Foster, so why aren’t we flipping out when such an attack is being made on millions of women across the country? Women of Colby, let this sink in: your right to healthcare is under attack.
Your rights may be taken away from you. This is a big deal. Scary much? Our lack of involvement in saving Planned Parenthood is disturbing. The Feminist Alliance worked diligently to encourage students to sign petitions, but we need to do more. Our generation does have a voice—a strong one—so let’s use it.
I stand with Planned Parenthood not just because I love my healthy body, but because my body—and everyone’s body—is worthy of sexual healthcare. I’m sick of the way we treat women’s bodies. Colby, I challenge you to take a stand.