From the year 1969 to 2012 much has changed in the sphere of women’s health. In the past, organizations such as the “Cooperative Jane Collection” thrived in providing health care “…by women, for women” as stated in Sandra Morgen’s book Into Our Own Hands. Even before that time period Ehrenreich and English enlightened us on the supportive and essential role of the midwife in early twentieth century customs in her piece For Her Own Good. Nearly entering the year 2013 we have organizations like Planned Parenthood that are fulfilling the goals of the women’s health movement which began in the late 60’s. Yet even though we are about four decades into the future, why is it that Planned Parenthood and other women’s health networks are still being targeted by anti-abortion legislation and my favorite, Mitt Romney. Women’s health networks are constantly being threatened on reduction in funding, closing of clinics and outlawing essential services such as distributing birth control, cancer screenings, etc. which are essential for women, especially low-income women. Does this sound familiar? Looks like we’re going to make a trip a couple of decades back when controversial laws on women’s reproductive health was being hotly debated and restricted…oh wait its still going on. These facilities are constantly under fire for providing abortion services and counseling, oral contraceptives and information on their effects as well as checking up on general health concerns.
There are currently “944 provisions” that legislators have introduced in 2012 associated to women’s reproductive health rights cited Planned Parenthood: Action Center. The legislation being introduced further limits the reproductive rights of women by outlawing abortions, eliminating mandatory ultra-sounds, restriction on distributing and informing patients on oral contraceptives, etc. A recent article I read in the Huffington Post titled “Texas Planned Parenthood Awaits Funding Cutoff” elongates the list of state legislators threatening to limit women’s accessibility to proper healthcare. Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas are the most accessible and most funded centers devoted to serving women’s health. Texas legislators are avid at withholding funding to clinics that provide abortions as a way to penalize health providers associated with abortion services. The health services provided in these clinics help with family planning and other services to about “130,000 low-income women”, especially those who do not have Medicaid (Weber and Weissert).
The women’s health movement is still fighting for rights that were promised to them by past feminist movements. Those rights are slowly being taken away by intolerant government officials who are giving away women’s bodily integrity to male dominated government. The power of women’s health, bodies and ability to plan for their future is diminishing, but the fight must go on!
The resistance to fight the attack on women’s health is just as fierce as it was in the past. Using media and social networking as a viable tool, the feminist community can put pressure on state legislators to halt decisions that undermine women’s healthcare. “…The women’s health movement is not widely known,” which is true when speaking in context to its historical representation. I sure didn’t know about the “Cooperative Jane Collective” group and their extraordinary commitment to assisting women in abortion services and their hands-on journey to learning and educating women on their bodies. Additionally, organizations like Planned Parenthood and educating books such as Our Bodies, Ourselves, make it easy for women to be empowered by learning about their bodies. The latter are widely known sources that are the offspring of the women’s health movement. So although the history of how it all began is not widely known by everyone, everyone has a piece of that history within their everyday lives.