Need a Pap Smear in Florida? Ask Your Dentist!

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Planned Parenthood supporters making some reasonable demands.
Planned Parenthood supporters making some reasonable demands.Photo: Stephen Brashear

It’s a tried and true tactic of conservative lawmakers hellbent on defunding Planned Parenthood in their state to provide lists of other, non-abortion-providing places where women can receive the healthcare services, like pap smears, breast exams, STI treament, or family planning. But just as tried and true is the fact that these lists, by and large, are filled with professionals, like optometrists, who have nothing to do with women’s health.

Florida is the latest state attempting to pull funding from Planned Parenthood, passing a bill in the legislature that would ban state agencies from contracting or working with any organization or center that provides abortions for anything beyond extreme circumstances (rape, incest, or risking the health of the mother). Governor Rick Scott has to decide whether he will make like John Kasich and sign it into law.

As expected, the bill’s proponents trotted out their requisite list of alternate qualified healthcare centers during hearings. And as one might guess, the list provides some unlikely sources for women’s healthcare, like podiatrists, optometrists, the Salvation Army, 67 schools ranging from elementary to high schools, and dentists. Presumably Florida lawmakers know that vagina dentata is a myth, and the only thing women’s reproductive health and women’s teeth have in common is, well, being part of a woman.