I need to purge my mind…indulge me.
Years ago I was watching a documentary on the history of tanning.
There was a time when being tanned was seen as being a worker and being a worker was seen as lesser than equal. Tanned arms meant a person labored outdoors. Women of means trolled about with parasols to shield them from the sun least they catch some sun. Fascinating. But in the early 1900s, factories replaced toiling in the fields for many and vacations came into vogue for the few. The leisure class flipped the script on tans. Suddenly, having a tan meant you had the privilege of leisure time in the sun and that you weren’t locked in a factory all day or tied to a desk.
Tans are still the concert t-shirt of vacations – people return to work or school to show off freshly bronzed or burned skin as proof they got their vacation on in the sun. When someone is pale, folks sometimes tell him or her they’ve been working too hard. Fascinating.
I thought of that curious history when news came that yet another state, Texas this time, has moved to defund Planned Parenthood and eliminate access to a key provider of low cost family planning and life saving cancer screenings for thousands of people.
And the chorus asks… “What the hell does tanning have to do with defunding Planned Parenthood?”
And a bitch replies… “My people call it privilege.”
Health is a privilege.
It shouldn’t be.
The ability to go to a health care center and get a yearly check-up, complete with Pap smear and breast exam, shouldn’t be the equivalent of being able to afford a vacation in the sun.
But that’s what many states are creating – a freakish new reality where access to life saving exams and tests is reserved for the few.
Some people can take a week off…fly off to some beach-based destination and lounge in the sun.
Some people can access affordable health care…go the doctor and get checked out, tested and know that they are doing fine…or find out that something is wrong and take steps to address that.
Each state government that has moved to defund Planned Parenthood has done so without offering an alternative.
They have eliminated…not replaced.
The conservative lie that taxpayers are funding abortion has moved beyond damaging deliberately obtuse rhetoric…as policy, it is devastating.
Every day equals tests for cervical cancer that are not happening.
Every week equals another seven days that thousands are not screened for sexually transmitted diseases…are not able to afford birth control.
Every opportunity for prevention missed costs we the people money.
In county upon county found in state after state, people who once had access to life saving and cost saving health care are now left with nothing.
And yet so much more than the wistful longing for leisure time on a beach.
And I can’t help wondering how long it will take before simple wellness becomes a badge of prosperity.
Truth be told, we’re already there.
And the chorus sighs as one… “Shame.”