Carol McDonald finds the current debate over reproductive health care “astounding” — why are lawmakers being allowed to make decisions about basic preventative health services like cancer screenings and birth control? While the lack of women’s voices in the national discussion has been noted on Care2 and elsewhere on the web, McDonald is particularly troubled by the way black women’s voices, in particular, have been glossed over and ignored.
On Women Are Watching, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund blog, she writes:
Our perspective as black women in this debate is critical. I’ll go so far as to say that it is a matter of life and death. Black women with cervical cancer are twice as likely to lose their lives to this disease as are white women. TWICE! And black men and women, who make up 14 percent of the U.S. population, account for 69 percent of gonorrhea cases and about half of all cases of chlamydia, HIV/AIDS, and syphilis. The way I see it, reproductive health care is serious business for black folks, and we need to make sure our stories are at the forefront of the debate around access to care.
That’s why the film she’s produced, titled, “A Vital Service: African-American Stories of Reproductive Health Care,” couldn’t come at a better time. The 20-minute film showcases both the women who’ve benefitted from access to Planned Parenthood’s services, and their families. You can watch the whole film below:
McDonald also encourages viewers to share their personal stories on AVitalService.com – whether you’ve had trouble accessing birth control, or received a life-saving diagnosis through cervical or breast cancer screening, Planned Parenthood wants to know about it. (And, please note, she’s encouraging submissions from people of all genders– including men and transsexual people – and stories aren’t limited to those from the African-American community, either.)
Kudos to Planned Parenthood for helping distribute and screen this important documentary.
Photo credit: Kheel Center