Expanding the fight over women’s health


The politics surrounding women’s health have taken center stage this year in ways unseen in quite a while, and it’s not likely to fade away anytime soon.

With the Affordable Care Act back in the news – the Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on Monday – the Democratic National Committee has a new video, connecting Republican repeal efforts to the larger concerns about women’s interests.

The message focuses on an aspect of the health care reform law that often goes overlooked: it prevents insurance companies from charging women more for coverage based solely on gender. Those who want to scrap the Affordable Care Act also, whether they like to admit it or not, are pushing to end this protection for women.

Similarly, a Chicago woman named Courtney Everette has a powerful op-ed today, explaining the role Planned Parenthood played in helping her with medication to treat endometriosis, which is why she’s a mother today. Her son, Everette wrote, wouldn’t be here today if Mitt Romney “had his way.”

Every year, more than 3 million people visit a Planned Parenthood health center. More than 90 percent of the care they get is preventive – birth control, like I got; clinical breast exams that can help detect breast cancer early; Pap smears; or tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

Last year, 770,000 women got clinical breast exams at Planned Parenthood. When an abnormality is detected, Planned Parenthood arranges for mammogram referrals, often at a low cost or no cost.

That’s what Mitt Romney wants to get rid of… [H]e’s using women’s healthcare to score political points. Our most personal medical issues shouldn’t be political fodder.

In recent years, when the political world talked about “women’s issues,” the focus tended to be fairly narrow, limited largely to reproductive rights. In 2012, thanks to an unexpected culture war agenda from Republicans, it’s a much larger and more encompassing policy landscape, covering contraception, medically-unnecessary ultrasounds, the Violence Against Women Act, insurance discrimination, and whether Planned Parenthood and family-planning aid should even exist.

One can only wonder if the GOP realized what it was getting itself into.

Emergency Rooms

Expanding the fight over women's health