Friday, March 23, 2007

Bad timing in MO

In the wake of the Edwards' announcement of Elizabeth Edwards cancer return, the actions of Matt Blunt, Republican governor of Missouri, look all the worse.

Missouri Republican Governor Matt Blunt recently announced he's slashing funding for Planned Parenthood clinics that provide free cervical cancer and other health screenings to poor women in the state.

"Patients should not have to go to an abortion clinic to access lifesaving tests," Blunt said in a written statement.

Except for the fact that the affected clinics don't even provide abortions. They do, however, provide cervical and breast cancer screenings -- about 1,500 a year -- paid for under the Show Me Healthy Women program. This just drives home the point that, even though anti-choicers love to characterize Planned Parenthood as an abortion provider only, their clinics primarily provide other types of reproductive and women's health care.

"Gov. Blunt's sudden decision to cut a 15-year partnership to prevent cancer in southwest Missouri is a shocking, misguided act driven by political ideology rather than sound health care delivery," [Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Kellie] Rohrbaugh said in a written statement.

Blunt's timing is awful. Missouri is one of several states considering a bill to make the HPV vaccine (which prevents some types of cervical cancer) a school-entry requirement. If the bill manages to make it through the legislature and lands on Blunt's desk, he's going to face a lot of pressure from his conservative base to veto it.

Here's an idea for Blunt and other conservative governors: If they want to defuse some of the tension over the HPV vaccine, they should seriously step up the public funding for cervical cancer screenings and regular reproductive health care for low-income women. Not that screenings are a substitute for vaccination, but it would go a long way toward showing they aren't totally deaf to women's health concerns.

Sara Anderson has more.

Planned Parenthood. ACTUALLY learn what it is and what they do...before you start trying to dismantling it.

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