Women in America have known for a long time that a presidency under Trump means the end of reproductive rights and access to birth control. On November 9th, 2016, the day after the election, #IUD was one of the most-trended topics on social media websites. The IUD is a form of birth control that’s implanted in a uterus by a physician and allows women to be protected from unintended pregnancies for up to ten years. Under the Affordable Care Act (or ‘Obamacare’ as it’s popularly known), IUD insertion was completely free. Without it, the average out-of-pocket cost for women was about $800 USD. Women on social media urged each other to have the procedure done while it was still free, in preparation for a Trump presidency – one which Americans were promised would see the end of Obamacare, the elimination of federal funding for Planned Parenthood and the overturn of Roe vs Wade, which made access to abortions a right.
A week before President Trump’s official inauguration, the House of Commons approved budget plans that would allow for the complete repeal of Obamacare, without the threat of a Democratic filibuster. Some sources reported that, along with every single Democratic in attendance, only nine Republicans voted against the budget – however, the New York Times reported that this was mostly because President Trump had yet to announce how he planned to replace Obamacare under his administration.
While the repeal of Obamacare has the potential to leave millions of Americans without adequate coverage, the provisions that were signed into law regarding access to contraception, preventive and reproductive services are of concern for many. Obamacare required health insurance plans to cover the cost of contraceptive methods and counselling for all women, as prescribed by a health care provider, without charging co-payments or coinsurance – even if the deductible wasn’t met. Services covered included barrier methods (diaphragms, sponges), hormonal methods (birth control pills, vaginal rings), implanted devices (like the IUD), emergency contraception, sterilization procedures, patient education and counselling.
There were some downfalls to this system. For example, Obamacare only covered one type of birth control per person from each of the 18 FDA-approved categories. Additionally, those who were employed by religious organizations and whose insurance plans did not cover contraception were forced to pay out-of-pocket. Despite this, though, a 2013 study by the Güttmacher Institute found that 8.9 million women received publicly supported contraceptive services in 2010, and that publicly funded contraceptive services helped prevent over 2.2 million unwanted pregnancies. Additionally, the abortion rate in America sunk to a record low after the implementation of Obamacare. While many conservatives will be quick to point out the success of oppressive abortion policies in certain states, the studies continue to demonstrate that the implementation of reproductive provisions in Obamacare is directly correlated with the lowered rate.
The ambiguous future for Planned Parenthood is another concern, particularly because their 2014/2015 annual report showed that nearly three million contraceptive services were provided during that time period. Their annual report also showed that 31% of their services were for contraception, while nearly half were helping people access STI testing and treatment. In January, a House panel issued a report criticizing the organization, which included the unfounded claim that Planned Parenthood clinics provided the tissue of aborted fetuses to researchers. Later that month, Senator Paul Ryan announced that the Trump administration wouldn’t be providing federal funds to the organization, and even refused to meet with protestors who arrived at his office, armed with boxes of signed petitions advocating for continued funding of the organization. However, in a statement to Business Insider, Planned Parenthood’s political communications director Erica Sackin was quick to clarify that Planned Parenthood’s money doesn’t come from the federal budget. Despite this, the organization was still quick to release a statement on January 4th, calling Kellyanne Conway’s statements about the new GOP plan “flippant and dismissive,” and stating that “the public believes it’s wrong to tear apart their health care without knowing what the replacement plan is to keep their families healthy and financially secure.”
Wrong? Yes. Surprising? Absolutely not.
So where do we go from here?
How do you feel about the future of contraception in a Trump presidency? Tweet us @flurtmagazine to connect with other like-minded people using #imaflurt.
Read the rest of the summer 2017 issue and order it in print here.