Birth control advocates were quick to crow “War on Women” this week when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby’s ability to deny funding 4 out of 20 forms of birth control for their employees. Opponents have made a tidy disinformation campaign out of debating the merits of RFRA and hanging chad-like definitions of what is and isn’t an acceptable contraceptive. If you can concentrate past the shouting, you’ll see the gaping hole in the conversation regarding women’s health.
For all their wailing and gnashing of teeth, the anti-Hobby Lobby gang has yet to campaign against the right to restrict women to pap smears on a 3-5 year basis. Perhaps that is because pap smears aren’t being restricted by closely-held companies on the basis of religious beliefs, but by the tenets of the Affordable Healthcare Act, which follow government guidelines that have determined women no longer need PAP smears on a yearly basis.
A pap smear is a 5 second gynecological test that screens for pre-cancerous cells and cervical cancer. It also tests for HPV, the most commonly sexually transmitted infection in the United States that can lead to genital warts, and as Michael Douglas will inform you, certain types of cancer in both women and men. Despite following guidelines to the contrary, President Obama cited the importance of pap smears when justifying Planned Parenthood’s $487 million annual grant from the government, claiming the money is meant for “mammograms and cervical cancer screenings.”
With mammograms that aren’t provided for women under 50 (women over 50 qualify once every 2 years) and Pap smears that are only paid for, at a minimum once every 3 years, the real deficit in women’s healthcare has nothing to do with birth control and everything to do with women’s health beyond their supposed immediate and ceaseless need to diffuse all threats of conception. After all, cervical cancer is slower to develop than a baby in the womb.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was quick to react to this week’s Supreme Court ruling, saying, “This is deeply troubling, because you have organized religions that oppose health care, period.” If this was an argument about health care, Pap smears and mammograms would be on the table. Wasserman Schultz’s complaint has nothing to do with health care and everything to do with a religious belief that ranks higher than a woman’s right to choose life or death for her unborn child.
Which is potentially why the public remains consumed with the compelling dead horse that is a “woman’s right to choose”. The tension over whether or not Roe v. Wade will ever be repealed is much more engaging than the stark reality of a healthcare system that is willing to let cancer go undetected. Disinformation campaign well played, and not without its irony. Obamacare supporters’ ardent trumpeting of the War on Women should come as no surprise given that they have become the generals in charge of the massacre.