The Relationship between Women’s Clinics and Hospital-Based Women’s Health Services, 1980-2000
Darchuck, Hayley R.; Callahan, Jessica; Cornwall, Marie
The United States women’s health movement began in the 1960s as women throughout the country decided to take control of their bodies and their health care in the form of women’s clinics. These clinics were based on “for women, by women” health care, emphasizing self help, education and birth control. Since the creation of clinics, their growth has appeared to fluctuate substantially by the effects of outside factors such as presidential impacts and antiabortionist vandalism. For example, during the Reagan administration, funding for women’s clinics decreased due to staunch “Reaganomics,” and block funding (Morgen2002) and later increased after Clinton’s entrance into office due to his more liberal tax policies (Moss 1996). Further, many clinics floundered financially due to increased vandalism costs from antiabortionist defacement. Throughout this time, women became the major health consumers in the United States. In 2002, for example, women controlled 66% of health care spending in the country, being responsible for both the health needs of themselves and of their families (Scalise2003). Hospital administrators appeared to recognize that if they enticed women into their hospitals to seek medical care, the women would also bring their sick family members. This led to the co-optation of women’s health care and the shift in women’s care from clinics into hospitals. This shift also inspired the change from traditional feminist clinic services offered, such as abortion and birth control, to the new services offered by hospitals today, such as mammography, plastic surgery, and mental health treatments (Thomas and Zimmerman 2007). Because of the increased marketing opportunities for hospitals, we hypothesized that there would be a visual relationship between women’s health care services offered in clinics as compared to hospitals. We hypothesized that our findings would reflect a general trend of decrease in clinics and subsequent increase in hospital numbers. We also proposed that the services offered in 2000, in both clinics and hospitals, would substantially differ from those offered in 1980, including an increased number of services offered and a variety of “new” services entering the women’s health market.