Lately I feel I’ve been doing so much preaching to the choir that even they might be getting sick of me. But my brain’s been working a lot, especially with everything that happened in Colorado yesterday.
I’m always amazed by how blatantly short-sighted the calls to defund Planned Parenthood are. And it isn’t even just the anti-abortion angle so many of them take (against a safe, legal medical procedure no less) that appalls me. It’s also the way they’re blatantly looking to screw over the low-income as far as health care is concerned.
In this country, we have next to no medical infrastructure for the poor. What little we do have is stretched to its limits, as I’ve sadly found out first-hand. Before my appointment with Planned Parenthood last week, I contacted the clinic in the town where I live to see if I could get in for my well-woman exams. The nice man on the phone explained to me that they didn’t just schedule exams right away; that I would first need to go in for an initial contact appointment (basically a consultation) before I could schedule exams...and the first available one from that point in time was in a month. The best part? The day of that appointment, an hour before I was supposed to be there, I got a call from the clinic. I was told the doctor I was supposed to meet with was no longer taking new patients, that there was another doctor I could reschedule to meet with...in three weeks. (This part wasn’t said, but I suspect there was no guarantee that in three weeks that doctor would be full as well.) That was the point where I thought ‘Hell with this’ and started looking at Planned Parenthood.
So here’s where I’m going with all this (since I veered off onto a tangent): The need for Planned Parenthood will not go away if PP itself does, it’ll just get shunted elsewhere. It’s already been discussed countless times that making abortions harder to access will lead women to seek less-safe alternatives. But when it comes to the non-abortion healthcare PP provides, those people will just get shoved back into the broken low-income healthcare pipeline that’s already been stretched way too thin as it is. It will be a lot more difficult to schedule a well-woman exam or men’s health exam if the most convenient clinic has a 2-3 month wait. It will be more difficult to access health care services if the only appointment times available to you are ones during work hours (necessitating time off from work, which not everyone can do without risking their job). And it will be much harder for health issues to be caught in a timely fashion if a person can’t even see a health professional to get checked out while problems are still small. (In my case at PP, since my Medi-Cal HMO covered it, the NP ordered a blood draw to check my Thyroid hormone levels, since she noticed something slightly amiss when examining my Thyroid.) That weird lump or bleeding may not get professional eyes on it until it’s progressed to a stage that’s harder to treat. That STI may not be caught until it’s progressed to the point it’s causing significant damage. And also, what about folks who may not have access to a public health clinic or a pharmacy (or can’t afford to pay), but need a flu shot?
I could go on, but I think this really covers my mental processes. It’s disgusting, that aspects of our society are so willing to keep throwing poor peoples’ health care under the bus for their own ideology. PP is so much more than abortions, but the ones who want to defund it refuse to see that.