There has been a great deal of conversation in recent weeks about the impact of the new Trump administration on birth control in the United States. While much of the panic is warranted, it is important to understand the real threats facing birth control access rather than being overwhelmed by fear mongering.
Donald Trump and/or Mike Pence (or pseudo president Jared Kushner) will not be able to outlaw birth control, including long lasting methods like IUDs. The real concern for women of reproductive age in the United States revolves around repealing the contraception mandate attached to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). As an upper middle class white women covered by both a primary and a secondary insurance, I will still be able to afford most forms of contraception at little to no personal cost. What about the millions of women who rely on the Affordable Care Act for medical coverage? For them, the stakes are higher.
Trump, Paul Ryan, and basically every other political mouthpiece of the new administration have promised to repeal many parts of the AFA, including the contraception mandate. This mandate ensures that all women who have medical insurance, including coverage under the AFA, are able to obtain contraception at no out of pocket cost. Fears are mounting about the end of this mandate and have spiked an unbelievable increase in the number of women seeking long-term birth control solutions. At a Planned Parenthood location in the DC area, there has been a 700% increase in IUD placement following the election, so rapid in fact they are running low on the IUD’s themselves.
It is mind boggling that in the year 2016, as the largest democracy on earth, a pillar of liberty and equality, we would attempt to limit access to birth control for more then half of the people in the country. It remains to be seen what aspects of the Affordable Care Act are on the chopping block in upcoming year but it is certainly an issue of grave concern for women (and hopefully men) of reproductive age in the United States who desire autonomy over their family planning decisions.
Stay tuned for a follow up-post about the lethal combination of defunding Planned Parenthood and “returning abortion rights to the state”.