Bucks Montgomery Physician Summer 2021 - 8

FEATURE
PENNSYLVANIA'S WAR
ON WOMEN
A Medical and Philosophical View
Sherry L Blumenthal, MD, MSEd, FACOG
W
e live in a politically complex commonwealth.
The urban centers and surrounding counties
are relatively liberal. Cities contain a large
number of minority citizens, disadvantaged and underserved
communities, and ethnic groups. The rural areas are primarily
white and conservative, and I believe are either unaware
or unconcerned about the urban populations regardless of
their own underserved citizens. It is my opinion that, in
Pennsylvania, racism, sexism, and xenophobia are rampant.
While political, cultural, and religious beliefs shape intentional
and unintentional bias, one population is continually under
fire from the legislative majority in PA: women. As an OB/
GYN physician, and an older woman, who has experienced
unbridled sexism, harassment, and religious discrimination;
I can attest to many of the prevailing issues and what women
need to do to achieve justice.
There are many philosophical views of the meaning of justice,
as there are philosophical views on the definitions of " liberal "
and " conservative. " There are also Libertarians, who have a
different viewpoint. In the US, there are many overlaps. When
discussing justice, I will use the meanings as accepted in the
US culture and by philosophers.
As some of you know, I have had the privilege of continuing
my education in subjects that I was unable to study before. I
was concentrating on requirements for Medical School Admission.
As an undergraduate at UPenn in the '60s, the environment
was very different for women and people of color.
Now that I can attend as a Senior Auditor, I can pursue other
subjects of interest, to learn more about the law, women's
rights, political philosophy, and even astrophysics. Seeing the
difference in the student composition in terms of gender, color,
and ethnic origin is very personally rewarding, and shows that
in academia there has been quite a bit of progress. As I have
posted before, from articles in JAMA, Academia in medicine
has not quite kept up, but there are efforts to achieve equality
in training, even though there is a long way to go in terms of
faculty advancement and research money.
The recent flurry of legislation in PA that affects women's
rights includes several bills worth mentioning. The first is
re-introduction of a bill that prohibits pregnancy termination
for the indication of Down Syndrome. SB 21
amends Pennsylvania Statute Title 18 Pa. Crimes and
Offenses ยง 3204 by adding that no abortion shall be
performed due to a prenatal diagnosis of or belief
that the unborn child has Down Syndrome.
6 BUCKS/MONTGOMERY PHYSICIAN summer 2021

Bucks Montgomery Physician Summer 2021

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