During the same week that the CDPHE rolled out the Oil and Gas Health Information and Response Program without fanfare, Garfield County’s three old white men voted to pull their $1500 grant from Planned Parenthood’s Glenwood Springs Health Center.
Citing what one Garfield County commissioner called “partisan emails” from political action groups advocating for Planned Parenthood, commissioners Monday eliminated 2016 grant funding for the local clinic.
“Our human services grant recipients are not supposed to be political, and this group is very political,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said.
Jankovsky persuaded his fellow commissioners to pull $1,500 that was to go to Planned Parenthood’s Glenwood Springs Health Center next year as part of $432,500 in human service agency and program grants.
“I receive emails that I find to be very partisan, and very political, and I’m no longer comfortable with this organization,” Jankovsky said, referring to the political action group Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado.
“I understand how important Planned Parenthood has been for women’s health … but I have to take a stand on this,” he said …
In response, Carbondale resident Ashley Johnson started a non-political GoFundMe campaign to fund the Glenwood Springs clinic. Hear our voice Fund women’s health was established with the blessings of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Hoping to raise the lost grant money, Johnson used social media to get out the message: “Let’s pull together as a community and show them that WE are in charge of our own health decisions!”
Last time I checked, Hear our voice Fund women’s health has raised over $23,000 in 9 days.
The PI reported that Jankovsky said: “Given the expansion of Medicaid and other changes in the health-care system in recent years, women have other options to find the same services.”
There’s a problem with his statement. It’s not true.
According to the CDPHE, Garfield County is designated as Governor’s Exception MUP (medical underserved population), which means an area “doesn’t meet the scoring criteria, but can demonstrate unusual local conditions.” In other words, women’s health care options are limited in Garfield County, no matter what their income level.
According to the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved:
The medically underserved are people with life circumstances that make them susceptible to falling through the cracks in our health care system. Many do not have health insurance or cannot afford it; those who do have insurance sometimes face insufficient coverage. The medically underserved also include those who have trouble accessing health care for any reason. They are people who have illnesses or disabilities that have extended their need for care beyond their coverage, or people who live in remote areas where health services are scarce. As our health care system has become more complex and more difficult to navigate, even people with insurance and lots of resources can be underserved.
Last month a commentary in Women’s Health Issues made the case that cutting and/or eliminating Planned Parenthood funding will make it harder on women in medically underserved areas – like Garfield County – to obtain adequate health care.
WASHINGTON, DC (October 20, 2015) — Eliminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood, as some members of Congress urge, would only make it harder for low-income women in medically underserved communities to obtain healthcare, warns a new commentary in the journal Women’s Health Issues. The piece notes that while the Affordable Care Act has allowed many women to gain insurance that covers contraception and other preventive care without cost-sharing, accessing healthcare services is still difficult for those in areas with few healthcare providers. The authors explain that if Planned Parenthood clinics were to close, many communities’ remaining providers would be unable to serve all of the clinics’ former patients – and some communities would be left without any safety-net provider at all …
… “Underserved communities need more healthcare providers, not fewer,” Rosenbaum said. “I have been working with community health centers for almost four decades, and I know how much they have achieved. But they don’t have the capacity to replace the high-quality reproductive healthcare that millions of women get from Planned Parenthood clinics today” …… In the commentary, Rosenbaum and Wood highlight two federally funded providers that promote access to care for those with low incomes: Community health centers and Title X–funded family planning centers. Community health centers provide comprehensive primary care in medically underserved areas, while Title X centers offer family planning and other preventive reproductive health services. Both charge fees on a sliding scale to accommodate low-income patients. While both of these safety-net providers are present in some areas, many poorer communities have only one or the other. Funding cuts that result in Planned Parenthood clinics’ closures would leave many low-income women without a source of reproductive healthcare, the authors say …
There are only 3 community health centers in Garfield County. (Click here to see the map.) There are no Title X-funded family centers in the county. Clearly the Planned Parenthood clinic in Glenwood Springs provides vital health services to women in Garfield County.
Read the full text: Turning Back the Clock on Women’s Health in Medically Underserved Communities
But there is a far more critical reason why the commissioners should support women’s health care. Last year the CDPHE investigated 22 separate cases of rare birth defects, which were reported by the medical staff at Valley View’s Women’s Health in Glenwood Springs. Even though the investigation found no common underlying cause for the birth defects, it’s a trend that should be tracked and studied further. If nothing else, an increase in rare birth defects indicates a serious problem with women’s health care in Garfield County. A problem that, at the very least, deserves the commissioners’ attention.
Regardless of the commissioners’ ignorance and the CDPHE’s denials, numerous studies have shown that unconventional oil & gas development poses the most risk to the health of women and children. Pregnant women who live in high density drilling areas are more than twice as likely to deliver babies born with birth defects.
Babies near gas wells more likely to have birth defects — January 2014
Women who live near natural gas wells in rural Colorado are more likely to have babies with neural tube and congenital heart defects, according to a new study.
As natural gas extraction soars in the United States, the findings add to a growing concern by many activists and residents about the potential for health effects from the air pollutants.
Researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health analyzed birth defects among nearly 125,000 births in Colorado towns with fewer than 50,000 people between 1996 and 2009, examining how close the mothers lived to natural gas wells.
Babies born to mothers living in areas with the highest density of wells – more than 125 wells per mile – were more than twice as likely to have neural tube defects than those living with no wells within a 10-mile radius, according to the study published Tuesday. Children in those areas also had a 38 percent greater risk of congenital heart defects than those with no wells …
Fracking industry wells associated with premature birth — October 8, 2015
Expectant mothers who live near active natural gas wells operated by the fracking industry in Pennsylvania are at an increased risk of giving birth prematurely and for having high-risk pregnancies …
Makes you wonder if Garfield County and the CDPHE have something to hide.
In a sane society, we would consider this a public health crisis. These days it represents a war on women and children.
Whatever the case, the people voted with their pocketbooks in an overwhelming show of support that effectively neuters Jankovsky’s fake political outrage.
And talk about politics! Notice how all the news articles about the BOCC lately contain only quotes from Jankovsky. That’s because Martin and Samson are up for re-election next year. They always throw Jankovsky under the bus for political cover.
So if they think the outpouring of financial support for our local Planned Parenthood clinic is political then they should be very worried.
The message is clear. In Garfield County, no matter our color, nationality, or income level, women are discriminated against equally.
We will remember …
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