The Pat Walker Health Center at the University of Arkansas recently announced it would change the name of the campus “Women’s Clinic” to the “GYN Clinic.”
“This name change is important, as the Pat Walker Health Center affirms diversity and aims to create a welcoming environment for all patients,” read an email by RHIA Director of Medical Services A.J. Olsen.
Olsen’s email noted that for the time being, the center’s website would continue to use the word “women,” but soon it would be erased completely.
“Eventually we will remove ‘Women’s Health’ from the website and Patient Portal altogether, but we kept it to get all patients accustomed to the new name,” the email read.
The website currently refers to the clinic as the “GYN (Women’s) Clinic.”
When contacted by The College Fix, Olsen declined to comment.
School spokesman John Thomas told The Fix in an email that the name change “was not necessary per se” but that the clinic “just felt GYN better aligned with medical terminology regarding the services the clinic provides.”
Thomas said the cost of making the change was “negligible if any,” as the name can “simply be revised online at no cost.”
“These clinics say that they are doing this in order to be more ‘inclusive,’” said feminist lawyer Kara Dansky, but “what they are really doing is obliterating the material reality of biological sex.”
“The truth is that only women and girls require gynecological care. This is part of a larger societal effort to abolish sex in general,” said Dansky (pictured), author of “The Abolition of Sex: How the ‘Transgender’ Agenda Harms Women and Girls.”
Last year, the Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Madison petitioned the school to change the name of the campus Women’s Health Clinic to the Reproductive Health Clinic.
The group claimed using the word “women” in the title of the clinic was “gendered language” that affected students’ decision to seek health care.
“I think there are lots of students who need reproductive healthcare and don’t choose to get it from University Health Services because of their gendered language,” said SARJ president Maya Cherins in an interview with The Badger Herald. “I think it will foster a much more inclusive and welcoming space.”
In September 2021, the school renamed the Women’s Health Clinic the “Gynecology Clinic.”
“We recognize that people are unique, with varied beliefs, cultural backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations, and we provide competent care while addressing individual needs,” reads the Gynecology Clinic’s website.
The university’s Gender and Women’s Studies department later nominated Cherins for an award for her report “Fatphobia, reproduction and the policing of bodies in medical settings.”
“For years, the clinicians and providers in our Medical and Mental Health Services considered updating the name of the Women’s Health Clinic to better reflect the wide range of services provided for all genders seeking medical and mental health services,” said UW-Madison spokesperson John Lucas in an email to The Fix.
“UHS worked with its Health Care Advisory Committee, a shared governance committee comprised of students, staff, and faculty, and after consultation with other health entities, determined that renaming the Women’s Health Clinic to Gynecology would better reflect the services provided,” said Lucas.
Despite the name changes, the services provided at the clinics still primarily serve the needs of people who are biologically female. Thomas said there would be no change in the services offered at the Arkansas GYN Clinic.
For instance, the Arkansas clinic provides annual gynecological exams, contraceptives such as IUDs and birth control pills, vaginal infection assessment and treatment, pregnancy testing, and HPV vaccination.
Dansky, a lifelong Democrat who currently serves as president of the U.S. chapter of Women’s Declaration International, thinks removing the word “women” from campus health centers makes females less safe.
“I think it is harmful for anyone to erase women, including health centers, and I view this move as yet another assault on the rights, privacy, and safety of women and girls,” Dansky told The Fix in an email.
“I have spoken with several women who are extremely alarmed at the use of vague and insulting language by healthcare providers more generally that erases women and girls as a sex class.”
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