North Texas Daily

Men should not be in charge of women’s health

Men should not be in charge of women’s health

Men should not be in charge of women’s health
September 17
15:00 2020

Throughout history, women have always been excluded and seen as inferior in comparison to the male gender. They have been particularly excluded when it comes to medical knowledge. As society progressed in the early developmental stages women were often excluded when it came to doing health research. Any research that was done was primarily done with the male body in mind. 

One of the key things that have sparked controversy and anger throughout the Trump presidency is how the people in charge of passing health policies/legislations all consist of white men. The issue with having an all-white male group create policies on health, in particular women’s health, is the lack of diversity and knowledge on the realities of the diseases and other health issues women face that are more prominent to this gender. 

A prime example of why men should not be allowed to create policies or be in charge of what pertains to women’s health is the perspectives some of them have when it comes to women’s reproductive rights and pregnancy. Just last week Texas senator, Ted Cruz, faced reasonable scrutiny for claiming that pregnancy is not a life-threatening situation, when in fact the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. These comments were linked to him calling for the ban of Mifeprex which is an abortion pill that has been rendered to be safe and effective, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

What Ted Cruz and many other men in Washington in charge of making policies on health fail to realize are that many women face many complications and face the possibility of death during labor. The maternal mortality rate in the United States is 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, which is the highest maternal mortality rate in any developed nation, according to data gathered by the CDC. However, these numbers drastically increase depending on what race you identify as. The maternal mortality rate for Black women is 37.1 death per 100,000 live births. 

These statistics show that women do face a level of uncertainty and lack of proper medical care since the mortality rate is so high, given the United States is a developed country. Meanwhile, abortion pills like Mifeprex are known to cause no more than a fraction of complications of a percent of patients, according to a landmark report published in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Ted Cruz also has no room to make these kinds of statements on pregnancy due to the fact the state of Texas, which he represents, has the highest maternal mortality rate in the country at 35.8 deaths per 100,000 live births. 

Another issue as to why women are not taken seriously when it comes to their health concerns is the stereotypes that have long been perpetrated on women. Many believe that women have natural tendencies to over exaggerate the way they feel. This stereotype can be hurtful and dangerous when applied to the medical field. Women’s concerns should be taken seriously, especially regardless of the race they are. Although some health risks can be linked to behaviors based on each gender, medics and individuals creating policy geared towards health should not be confident in assuming that these behaviors strictly apply to certain specific genders as everyone’s body reacts in various forms to illnesses. 

The main issue on why men should not be in charge of women’s health is due to the fact the odds of them ever experiencing things that women go through like menstruation and pregnancy will never be experienced by them so they will never fully grasp what it is like to live through that. Due to their lack of experience, they may not see why having easier accessibility to menstruation products for women is necessary or why having options for women to abort or not is important as well. While I am aware many may not agree with this stance, I think it is important to look beyond the fetus itself and look at how much of a high-risk pregnancy can be for a woman and be okay with whatever they decide because after all, it is their body and something they will endure. 

A solution to providing more transparent legislation for women is having a group of women from various, diverse backgrounds, be in charge of women’s healthcare. By having a diverse background, all women would be accounted for because each one of us experiences illnesses very differently and there would be much more realistic pieces of legislation being proposed. It is time for our government to reassess having white men in charge of making decisions on women’s healthcare and instead have a diverse background of women be in charge.

Featured Illustration by Jaya Swetha

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Eunice Hernandez

Eunice Hernandez

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