The same goes for women who are insured, but the cost of treatment is still too expensive.
Before a small crowd of women, Ringstaff, director of Rome’s Women of W.O.R.T.H. clinic, discussed this and other issues associated with women’s health care at the Floyd County Democratic Party Headquarters at 5 Broad St. on Monday afternoon.
Many women, Ringstaff said, don’t get the medical resources they need because they are unaware of the options they have.
“A lot of people don’t get health care because they don’t know what’s available,” she said. “We have a health care access guide and we’ve been referring people to different resources in Floyd County.”
Ringstaff said the Women of W.O.R.T.H. center is constantly getting calls about where women can get a pap smears, mammograms and basic lab tests. For women under financial stress, she said, there are options.
“The biggest problem in Georgia is when women get an abnormal pap smear, they don’t know where to go to get a follow up,” she said. “So they just have to wait until they get cancer before they can get any assistance.”
“There’s a new Medicaid program in Georgia that a lot of women don’t know about,” Ringstaff said. “It’s for women who are 18 to 44 but hasn’t had her tubes tied, and it’s 200 percent of poverty, which is quite high. So a single woman could make around $30,000 a year and still qualify for this.”
Women can pick up application forms at the Women of W.O.R.T.H. center located 1513 Dean St., or download the application online at www.planning4healthybabies.org.
Ringstaff said a major reason why she held her discussion at the Democratic Party Headquarters is because women’s preventative health has become a political issue.
“Women’s health is so under attack,” she said. “People refuse to become educated about it. They hear that birth control causes abortion, and that’s all they want to think about. They don’t want to read the science behind it. The science is pretty clear that birth control and the morning after pill prevent pregnancy, they don’t cause abortion. It’s become a political issue, preventative health care, and it never should be.”
Carol Thomas, of Rome, agreed wholeheartedly with Ringstaff’s point of view.
“I think it’s criminal that we’re defunding preventative health care for women,” said Thomas. “It’s working women without insurance who fall through the cracks and have no health care. I think if people were more aware that it’s these working women that have no preventative care, even if they’re anti-abortion, (they’d know) preventative care and birth control prevents abortion. We need to make women more aware.”
The money that should be for women’s preventative health care is going toward cancer research instead, Ringstaff said.
“We’ve got to start paying attention to prevention,” she said. “We wouldn’t have to research it if we would just prevent it, and (cervical cancer is) 100 percent preventable. But we’re putting money into research and that’s so wrong.”
Jane Wentworth, another woman in attendance, said the problem can be helped if young, educated, willing women would run for political office.
“I worked in public health for a number of years,” said Wentworth. “I agree with Marilyn, we know what needs to be done. You don’t need to do anymore research. The money isn’t going to prevention and it should be and that’s why we need young people in Congress and in our legislature here.”