Discussing the Un-Discussable: Health, Heart and Home

By Taylor Hall
Staff Writer

Women’s issues and rights were discussed extensively at the latest Discussing the Un-Discussable meeting on Tuesday in the Commons Room 272. The theme this month was “Health, Hart, and Home.”

The meeting was facilitated by Lusharon Wiley, senior associate dean of students; Karen Rentz, director of Title IX programs; and Christina Shuster, international studies senior. The co-facilitators asked the questions that opened the floor to the audience, as well as making sure everyone had a chance to speak.

The discussion started at noon and took little time for introductions. Shuster took charge of asking the compelling questions. Health care disadvantages, sexual education, maternity leave and Planned Parenthood were all debated.

The audience was vocal throughout the meeting as they expressed their feelings about the issues at hand.

Facilitators Karen Rentz, left, and Christina Shuster moderated the Discussing the Un-Discussable meeting on Tuesday as they introduced the topic of women’s issues.
Photo by Taylor Hall.

Shuster invited the crowd to discuss the idea that women’s health care can be treated unfairly depending on the woman’s race, sexuality and economic standing. This led to the ultimate idea of universal health care.

“One of the things that make me concerned is … we often cut the programs that are there for those who are marginalized or groups that don’t have very much,” Wiley said. “I think we should start with the senators and the presidents. I don’t think we should pay for their health care since they don’t think that health care should be taken care of.”

The discussion then turned to the lack of sexual education kids are receiving today, along with how many parents are against the subject being taught in school. The audience had a mutual agreement that sexual education should be a part of a student’s curriculum, saying that teens are at a higher risk of getting pregnant when they are unaware of the consequences.

“I don’t see what’s wrong with being told, ‘Here’s a textbook, here are the woman’s reproductive organs, here are the male’s, and when they come together this is what happens,’” said Courtney Rullo, telecom and film senior.

When the topic turned to maternity leave, the discussion turned from mutual agreement to a conversation. The audience was split between the ideas that women should have more maternity leave and should be paid accordingly for it; while the other half supported the idea that the men should be able to stay home, and the woman has the ability to continue her career.

The audience was not against either side, but rather discussed how the woman should have that decision after having a baby instead of it becoming a career-ender.

“I feel like the concept of ‘your career gets set back’ is because the woman is supposed to take care of the child when it really should be an equal job,” Shuster said. “The man should take off just as much time as the woman to take care of that child because it’s a lot of work and there are plenty of women who go through a rough time after giving birth.”

Ending the discussion with thoughts on Planned Parenthood, the audience was in complete agreement that Planned Parenthood isn’t just for abortions. Planned Parenthood is put in place to do just that — plan for parenthood.

“Planned Parenthood does a wide variety of procedures rather than just abortions, like free breast exams and other free procedures that can get expensive,” said Shameka Lewis, broadcast journalism junior. “I don’t think we should focus so much on just the abortions. I don’t see why society doesn’t just love each other enough to help each other out.”

Discussing the Un-Discussable meets every month in Room 272 in the Commons. “If you have a topic you want to discuss, the answer is going to be yes. But you have to help facilitate it,” Wiley said. Wiley can be reached at lwiley@uwf.edu.