Three questions on Jeb Bush's "women's health" gaffe

First, what exactly does it mean to talk about “women’s health issues”? Women often bristle at men discussing reproductive issues—a particularly common issue in politics, where men dominate. Of course, women are slightly more than half the general American population, so the idea it’s a niche concern is misguided at best and condescending at worst. This is a problem that cuts across party lines: When Republican leaders attempted to pass a late-term abortion ban that set stringent conditions on rape exceptions, female GOP lawmakers revolted and scuttled the deal. Some of the issues considered “women’s health” really do concern mostly women, like mammograms. But others, such as family planning, sexually transmitted diseases, and birth control, affect the entire population. Even if social expectations have placed much of the burden for preventing pregnancy on women, that’s a socialized rather than inherent condition.

Second, how much money is that half a billion, really? In short: not a great deal. In fact, dividing the $528.4 million Planned Parenthood received in the fiscal year ending in June 2014 by the female population of the United States, it comes out to just about $3.25 per woman per year—about the same as a grande Starbucks cold brew.

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