Indiana has been in the news quite a bit this week. No, this isn’t another take on matters of religious freedom and legal discrimination, or even the fact that Indiana courts just sentenced a woman to 20 years in prison for having a miscarriage — though you’ll probably be reading about that horrendous affront to human rights next week.
I digress. Today’s #FeministFriday is focused on another legislative gaffe in the Hoosier State, with a special guest appearance by the anti-choice movement:
Clinics like Planned Parenthood provide legitimate health care services that are oftentimes necessary to keep people healthy, yet people and political movements are still fighting to shut them down.
Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about the detriments of totally outlawing abortions in Ireland? Remember how I explained that I considered the movement anti-choice rather than pro-life because their stances don’t move to promote the welfare and livelihood of all living people, but rather abolish the right for people to make choices for themselves?
The Planned Parenthood in Scott County, a rural community in Indiana, was forced to close its doors in early 2013 due largely to funding cuts to the state’s public health infrastructure in 2011. The cuts came amid GOP campaigns nationally and locally to defund and demonize the health care provider.
The fact that the clinic did not offer abortions as a service did not dampen the celebration among so-called pro-life advocates, who considered the closed clinic a victory for their fight.
The HIV outbreak currently exploding in Scott County, however, may give pause to the celebration.
The clinic – which did not offer abortions as a service – was the only HIV testing center in the county, and now over 80 Scott County residents have tested positive for HIV in the last four months.
Indiana’s GOP-led state legislature passed a bill in 2011 that defunded Planned Parenthood because some of its clinics offer abortions as a service. Despite a federal judge later blocking the law from going into effect, Indiana has continued slashing various funding sources as the cost of operating a medical facility continue to rise.
In 2014, Planned Parenthood of Indiana received $1.9 million in funding from government contracts and grants, which is nearly half of the funding they had received just a few years prior. Five of Indiana’s smaller Planned Parenthood clinics were unable to keep up with growing technology costs necessary to remain competitive and competent as a medical provider.
Of the five clinics that were forced to close, all had offered HIV testing. None of them had offered abortions.
As a result, Scott County did not have any HIV testing facilities available until a few weeks ago, which according to Patti Stauffer, the Vice President for Public Policy for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, “is a glaring example of the kind of public health crisis that results when prevention and testing are left unfunded.”
Indiana is now scrambling to set up temporary clinics to fight an unprecedented HIV epidemic caused by intravenous drug use.
The estimated 11,547 people now infected with HIV or AIDS in Indiana will suffer from this horrific disease for the rest of their lives, and it is estimated that well over 100 people will suffer because so-called pro-lifers tried to shut down clinics that dare to allow women to exercise their right to bodily autonomy.
Nothing about this sounds like it’s promoting life to me.
Leave any questions or comments below, and see you next week.