Colleen Burton: Need A Pap Smear? See Your Podiatrist!
It's quite possible by the time you read this, Rick Scott will have already signed the recent bill that will effectively defund Planned Parenthood in Florida into law. The bill was recently passed by the legislature and would not only defund PP clinics, but other clinics in the state that provide preventive and reproductive health care for women.
The goal, of course, is to target PP because they're also abortion providers, something which is in no way funded by tax dollars as it is, a fact routinely ignored by Republicans. However, because Medicaid in Florida still provides some funding for preventive health care for women through these clinics, the GOP has decided that this too must end. That means women who can't find affordable health care anywhere else for things like cancer screenings, contraception, pap smears and sexually transmitted diseases will hit yet another roadblock if Scott signs the bill into law, which is likely if history serves.
The reasoning the GOP uses to make sure women can't seek legal abortions, and health care while they're at it, has always required pretzel logic, but lawmakers behind this bill have really outdone themselves, and it would be funny if it weren't so deadly serious for women's health. They reason that women can easily find other places to gain access to the same health care they would find at PP and similar clinics.
That, however, is not really the case:
During the 2 March hearing on the proposal, state lawmaker Lori Berman asked bill co-sponsor Colleen Burton to elaborate on alternative resources for birth control, pap smears, breast exams and other reproductive services.
Burton replied: “We have 52 federally qualified health centers, the counties have health departments, physicians’ offices, independent clinics would be eligible if they applied and met the requirements.”]
[“Would it be possible for me to get a copy of the list you’re referring to?” asked Berman.
“Certainly, we’ll ask the staff to provide you with that list,” Burton tells her.
That list, seen here, provides an endless host of various facilities. The problem is the majority of them are actually the last place women could expect to get health care services.
Given this list, Burton would have you believe that a dentist could provide you with birth control, or that a podiatrist could easily double as a gynecologist and provide women with their annual pap smears. Or perhaps the next time your child is sick, his or her school nurse wouldn't mind throwing in a cancer screening for you when you come to take them home? Does seeing an optometrist for STD screening and treatment sound like a logical option? Apparently it does to Burton.
This is just another example of how absurd it is that GOP lawmakers in general, and Florida lawmakers in particular, insist on doubling as gynecologists and doctors when it comes to the ladies, and this latest attempt to block women from any health care whatsoever is beyond ridiculous. It's almost reminiscent of the old SNL skit from the 70's, Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber, where Steve Martin starred as a barber who doubled as a surgeon, recommending bloodlettings for every ailment.
The excuses the Florida GOP comes up with in their war on women are shameless and downright stupid. They should be embarrassed, but they're not.
The fact of the matter is these laws cut many women off from access to health care, period, and Rick Scott, who's made a career out of blocking people from health care, will probably sign it into law ASAP, because of course.