Equal Pay Day, April 9, 2013 was used in an attempt to advance the Paycheck Fairness Act that has been on hold or filibustered in one house or another since 2009. Equal Pay Day marks how far into the next year women must work to earn what a man did in the prior year. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed by President John F. Kennedy who declared it the end of the ‘unconscionable practice’ of women being paid less than men are for the same job. Fifty years later, women are still earning on average, 77 cents to the dollar paid to men. Considering that in 53% of households, women are now the primary source of income, we can begin to understand the rise in poverty levels.
Now a further insult is pending. The new proposed guidelines for Family Practice Residents reads, “Residents must care for patients with female reproductive health issues including well woman care. If a FMP has adequate volume of patients with health issues specific to women, this requirement may be fulfilled in the FMP”. This means that training in contraception, family planning and pregnancy options counseling as well as training in performing uterine aspirations, critical to providing miscarriage and abortion care will not be required. Project, if you will, 20 years ahead. Who will be available to provide these medical services when no one has been trained? That is the Idea, isn’t it? Another back door to removing options and subjugating women.
Just as the Supreme Court overturned forty years of precedent by ruling that Lilly Ledbetter should have complained earlier regarding discrimination about which she did not know, this lack of education will willfully deny women first class medical care of their own choosing. Of course, that is being done already in multiple states where doctors are being told by legislatures what they MUST say to female patients considering a variety procedures. Yes, medical personnel are given ‘scripts’ with inaccurate medical information which they must recite to their patients.
President Obama righted the wrong in Ledbetter v. Goodyear by signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, allowing a person 180 days to file a complaint from the time she learns about the discrimination. We cannot wait years while medicine walks backward for women. We need to get this right now.
 DRAFT OF PROPOSED ACGME Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in Family Medicine, http://www.afmrd.org/files/PD%20Toolbox/RC-FM_Handout_2_Draft_Proposed_Program_Requirements_for_GME_in_FM.pdf, 4.23.2013