Florida Lawmakers Tell Women to Visit Dentist for Women's Health Services
The smear campaign against Planned Parenthood has reached congressional floors nationwide. Blinded by doctored videos that were “leaked” by an anti-choice lobby last year, lawmakers nationwide have revealed themselves woefully inept when it comes to understanding Planned Parenthood outside of abortive services.
Take this week. When Florida’s legislature passed its controversial bill that would effectively defund Planned Parenthood, HB 1411, it pointed to a list of alternative sexual health centers that included dental offices, the Salvation Army, and a slew of schools ranging from elementary to high school level. Because nothing says “We value women’s rights” more than directing ailing women to elementary school doctors offices.
Speaking to The Guardian, university student Kheyanna Suarez dismissed the so-called alternative clinics. “Were they blind and mashed everything from Google on to one list?” she asked. Florida’s list of alternatives is an insult. The Salvation Army’s religious bias means you can forget about any sort of sexual honesty. And unless you’ve got vagina dentata, no amount of dentistry is going to help with women’s issues.
Women deserve thoughtful care, from professionals who can consistently consult with patients without worrying about whether Jimmy is faking his cough in order to skip class. Preaching abstinence, providing woeful sex education, and eliminating women’s healthcare clinics is gross negligence on the part of lawmakers.
Unfortunately, no amount of evidence seems to deter the growing wave of anti-choice legislation. Florida has the highest rate of new HIV infections in the country. It is ranked 12th nationwide in teen pregnancies. Planned Parenthood’s services include cancer screening, sexual health and awareness, and encourage openness for women who are suffering. And yet, the response is not compassion for women, it is shame.
Now, the fate of women’s health falls to Florida governor Rick Scott, who would have to veto the bill in order to prevent the closure of clinics statewide. It shouldn’t have come to this. Women’s health is a personal right, not a state right. Perhaps, lawmakers think, if they defund Planned Parenthood, the need for women’s primary care will simply fade into oblivion. “We’re not going to go away and we’re not going to close our health centers,” said Chris Estes, a medical officer at Planned Parenthood. “This will only affect women who count on us to provide free and reduced cost services.”
Image via The Nation and original image courtesy of Kathryn Chadason.
Stay tuned to Milk for more on women’s health.