In case there was any doubt that the government seems to be intent on making women’s lives harder, new information shows us that President Donald Trump is probably about to seriously mess with our birth control coverage. Vox got its hands on a leaked document that says that the Trump administration is seriously considering rolling back on a previous mandate from the Obama administration that forced employer insurance plans to include contraception. Basically, when Barack Obama was our president, he made sure that birth control was covered under the insurance of most employers – and now, President Trump would like to take that back. If the proposed regulation goes through, it will go into effect immediately.
Here’s how that works: under Obama’s presidency, employers had to make sure insurance covered birth control – the only exceptions to the rule included religious affiliations and private businesses. Now, Trump would make it possible for any employer to apply for a religious or moral exemption. So, if the employer doesn’t want their insurance to cover contraception, they can apply for that exemption, and bam: birth control will not be covered for those employees, meaning they will have to pay out of pocket and spend a whole lot more money.
This would be a huge step backwards. Once again, the government is putting a woman’s decision about her body in the hands of someone else – in this case, they are allowing employers to make things harder for women who choose to use contraception. At the moment, contraception is one of only eight women’s health benefits listed under “essential” in the Affordable Care Act. That listing allows women to get birth control for a great price, or even for free, under most employers. When this first went through with Obama as president, it was a huge deal for women everywhere. It meant that women suddenly had access to a wide range of birth control methods that were actually affordable. It opened up the door for contraception to so many women who weren’t able to get it before. It was exciting and thrilling.
Hearing that Trump will most likely take away this deserved right is anything but exciting and thrilling – it’s infuriating and incredibly disappointing. Of course, it’s not a surprise – when Trump was elected and first began attempting to destroy everything Obama had done, women everywhere knew this would be inevitable (it’s why we encouraged every woman to start seriously considering long-term forms of birth control immediately, like IUDs, which can be inserted once and then left for years). Still, hearing that it’s probably going to happen soon is a punch in the gut.
This isn’t just cruel and unfair to women who want affordable and easy access to birth control – it’s also unsafe and not smart in a more general sense. Giving more women access to contraception seems like a no-brainer. When women are able to safely prevent unwanted pregnancies, there are fewer abortions and less women raising babies with no money to do so. Limiting access to birth control doesn’t only affect women who want to have safe sex, it affects everyone.
On top of all of that, the Trump administration is actively working to make it harder for Planned Parenthood to exist. This means women won’t have access to affordable birth control or legal, safe abortions, and that’s so backwards it’s not even fun to think about.
Oh, and let’s not forget that birth control isn’t only used for preventing pregnancies. Birth control pills are used for so many other things, like fighting tough acne, helping with seriously bad cramps, and fighting painful conditions like endometriosis. So, allowing an employer to say they don’t want to offer it based on religious reasons is ridiculous and doesn’t even really make sense.
Fortunately, this hasn’t gone through yet, and Democrats aren’t about to let the Trump administration go through with this without fighting back. According to Refinery 29, at least 14 Democrats “sent a letter to White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney urging him to stop efforts that could potentially ‘undermine access to affordable preventative services, including contraception, for women.'”
To be clear: birth control isn’t going away completely, it’s just that affordable access to it might be. And while you might assume this doesn’t affect you because you’re covered under your parents’ insurance, you’re incorrect: your parents most likely get their insurance from their employer, so if their employer chooses not to offer birth control under their insurance, you will then be affected. And if this does go through, you’ll still be able to find birth control – it’s just that it will be a lot more expensive, and the options that are affordable might be options that don’t work right for you. So, not only will things be more expensive, but you also won’t have as many methods to choose from. In short? Everything about this is unfair. We won’t be surprised if it goes through, but let’s hope it doesn’t.
What do you think about this? How do you get your birth control? Do you agree with the Trump administration or not? Tell us in the comments.