Who Are the Boobs in the Breast Health Debate?
Virginia State Senator Janet Howell
Last week it seemed that the rights of women were being attacked from all sides as the abortion debate moved front and center. In Virginia last week, the State Senate passed a bill that will require women to pay for an ultrasound before they have an abortion. The bill is expected to pass the Virginia House and be signed by the Governor. In protest, State Senator Janet Howell attempted to attach an amendment to the bill that would require men to have rectal exams and cardiac stress tests before receiving erectile dysfunction drugs. The amendment was voted down.
Early last week, The Susan G. Komen Foundation issued a statement that they would no longer provide funds to a program, at Planned Parenthood, designed to teach women about breast health and provide referrals for mammograms. After an uproar from many of their supporters, the organization changed course and decided that Planned Parenthood would be funded for the remainder of the grant and also would be allowed to apply for grant monies in the future. On Tuesday, the Vice President for public policy at The Foundation, a supporter for the decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood, resigned.
As my girlfriend reminded me last week, the abortion debate is not an easy one for any woman. What makes it more complicated is that the argument over abortion rights stems from two distinctly different worldviews. One viewpoint simply encompasses the belief that what makes us human begins with the union of the sperm and egg. When one adheres to that viewpoint, it is natural to believe that abortion during a pregnancy is murder.
The second viewpoint is also simple. While cell life begins with the union of the sperm and the egg, that cell is not human and does not become human for a period of time. When one adheres to this viewpoint, abortion becomes the removal of unwanted cells from the body, and is not murder.
While these are the two basic counterpoints, there are other moral issues involved. Should men be allowed to tell women what to do with their bodies? Is it moral to bring a child into the world when it is not wanted, or it cannot be supported? I am not suggesting that the decision to have an abortion is an easy one, even for women who believe that it is not murder.
The uproar last week was an indicator that we have entered a new realm of political and social activism. Once news of the policy change entered the media, women and men on both sides organized a rapid response. The political pressure became too much for The Foundation and within a matter of days, the policy was rescinded and a woman lost her job. But the debate will rage on.
I am proud of State Senator Howell for launching a new salvo into the conflict. Why is it that women seem to be the only ones to suffer indignities before receiving legal healthcare? Anyone?
Natalie Anne Porter lives in Richmond, VA and has been previously been published in gIRL magazine and Letters from Camp Rehoboth. Read her personal blog here.
“We want to take our name and a lot of the steps that are made in our community and see how we can help everybody attain the appropriate rights in their state.”June 29, 2016
- Planned Parenthood Discussion on LGBTQ History and Politics, July 1, 2013
- LGBTQ History To be Presented by VA Planned Parenthood, June 19, 2013
- Planned Parenthood Sponsors Inclusive Sexuality Workshops, September 2, 2010
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