Is There a War on Women's Health Care?

Published on
Inside Story / Al Jazeera

Is There a War on Women's Health Care?

Some rights groups have called it a war against women -- a battle that has seen women's health providers in the US come under sustained attack from conservative groups.

Last week, the issue came to the fore again when one of the country's best-known breast cancer charities, the Susan G Komen foundation, decided to end funding to clinics run by Planned Parenthood.

Komen's actions triggered an avalanche of protests and donations for Planned Parenthood. Its supporters say the organisation was targeted because it provided abortions for women as part of its health care services.

The backlash eventually saw Komen claim to have reversed its decision, although future funding for Planned Parenthood is still far from assured.

The row points to a long-running assault from anti-abortion campaigners -- one which last year became lodged into the budget debate that almost shut down the US government.

Recently, the issue has widened beyond abortion, with conservatives wanting to end federal funding for family planning and contraceptive services.

Barack Obama, the US president, is not immune from criticism either after his administration blocked over-the-counter sales of the Plan B morning after pill to girls under 17 years of age, overruling the decision of the food and drug administration.

So, is women's health being damaged by politics in the US? Has the controversy over breast cancer funding to the Planned Parenthood organisation underlined the extent to which conservative groups in the US now influence women's health access?

Inside Story Americas, with Shihab Rattansi, discusses with: Hadley Heath, a senior policy analyst with the Independent Women's Forum; Tara McGuinness from the Center for American Progress; and Judy Norsigian from the women's health advocacy group, Our Bodies Ourselves.

Share this article