The writer is the public policy chairwoman for the Schenectady County American Association of University Women Branch.
The beginning of February was a very busy week for Planned Parenthood and the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
On Feb. 1, the Susan G. Komen Foundation announced its decision to take away funding for cancer screening from Planned Parenthood. Lisa Maatz, AAUW director of public policy, issued a press release on Feb. 2 denouncing this decision, “AAUW is disappointed that some are playing politics with women’s health and jeopardizing care for the most vulnerable among us.” She added, “this is a regrettable situation for all concerned but exactly the kind of circumstance in which we must strongly adhere to our principles.”
AAUW’s policy on health care for women has been consistent throughout the years. The organization strongly believes that women must have affordable and quality health care and services for family planning. Its position on health care has focused on three main issues. One of the issues deals with “gender rating.” This is the discriminatory practice of charging women and men different premiums for individual health care plans. Women tend to pay a higher premium.
The second issue centers on required coverage of women’s reproductive health needs; while the third area, focuses on coverage for preventive health care and vital medical services. The organization informs its members of issues that may have an adverse impact on their well being. Through its public policy platform, AAUW underscores the importance of issue advocacy. The focal point of issue advocacy is making sure that all individuals are knowledgeable about important topics and current issues. It is for this reason that AAUW issued its press release regarding the cut in grants for Planned Parenthood.
On February 5, AAUW issued a second press release, “today, we learned that thanks to the immense pressure exerted by millions of Americans, AAUW and other organizations, and certain Senators, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is backing down from its decision to cut grants to Planned Parenthood. This is a victory in the fight to take the politics out of women’s health, and a victory for the many American women who rely on Planned Parenthood for critical and lifesaving health care.”