Defend women’s access to healthcare

By: Megan Graves, Columnist

Last week I discussed the intersection of racism and feminism, and I briefly mentioned that an intersection between classism and feminism exists as well.

In this column, I’m going to talk a lot about women’s healthcare, which I understand can be highly controversial. I’m not out to offend anyone, but this issue, particularly in regards to class, is incredibly important and vital to the lives of women.

Why is it that no one wants to talk about uteruses, but late night television is bombarded with old, white dudes talking about how Viagra helped their penises wake up? I personally agree with Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation when she says, “there’s nothing more cuterus than your uterus.”

In order to get a general idea of the prices of various healthcare procedures and medicines that are vital to women’s health, I looked online. Unsurprisingly, I had an insanely hard time finding valid calculations, so I can only offer an incredibly general idea.

For mammograms, I found the average prices to range from $80-$200, depending on different websites. Pap smears ranged immensely from free screenings to up to $1000, depending on how many lab tests the patients wanted done. According to Planned Parenthood’s website, abortions nationwide cost about $1500.

So, as you can see, it costs quite a bit to be a healthy woman nowadays. Of course, these prices, again, are very general, and they can vary based on certain insurance plans. This is also a list of just three procedures women might need to utilize.

All women need to schedule mammograms to be healthy, sexually active women need to schedule pap smears to be healthy, and, here’s the controversial part, some women may need access to a safe abortion in order to be healthy. Planned Parenthood offers the lowest prices for mammograms and pap smears. In fact, depending on the financial situation of the client, they can offer these exams for free.

Now, at this point in time I can’t just bring up Planned Parenthood without discussing the fact that some members of our government want to defund it.

This is a direct attack on lower-class women. Not everyone can afford to pay up to thousands of dollars a year just to keep themselves healthy, and it is blatantly unfair that they’d even have to. Planned Parenthood’s annual report for the years 2013-2014 shows that they performed 865,721 breast exams and pap smears, while offering 3,577,348 people information and services regarding birth control. That’s a lot of healthy women!

We need to be angry at the fact that members of our government are trying their hardest to defund this organization. If they are somehow successful in their goal, imagine how many women will no longer be able to afford just yearly breast exams, an important health procedure for women over 30.

All women need access to affordable health care, and we all need to stand together and defend the right that women of all classes have to be healthy, even if we disagree with their choices. It’s not about us as individuals, it’s about women as a whole having access to whatever they may need to keep themselves healthy. Her body, her rules: Defend your sisters.

One thought on “Defend women’s access to healthcare

  1. Yes, but there are only a few healthcare issues that are specific to women. Most healthcare can be applied to both genders. Does the ACA provide the woman-specific preventative measures you mention?

    It’s a heavy-handed suggestion to defund Planned Parenthood but it’s about abortion. Unfortunately this could effect how women get other health services as well. But we are supposed to take into consideration everyone’s point of view. That means giving full acceptance to the fact that some people believe abortion is ending a human life because they believe life begins at conception.

    If you disregard this segment of the population, who is next?

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