American Women Seeking Long-Term Birth Control Solutions

Raeesa Ashique - 2B Electrical
Posted on: November 22, 2016

In the days since the election, Americans have begun to fear for their physical safety and the protection of their constitutional rights. The Trump administration’s impact on health care is just one of the major concerns.

Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump promised to repeal Obamacare, which would cause about 22 million individuals to lose their health insurance. He also wants to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides reproductive health services, including abortions.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare, was signed in 2010 with the intention to increase the quality and quantity of health insurance, as well as expand health care coverage. It also significantly increased eligibility criterion and funding for Medicaid, which is a program helping those with lower incomes get health coverage.

Trump has been flip-flopping on this issue without providing a detailed plan, so his intended course of action is still unclear. Likely, he will keep two of the current benefits intact: one forcing insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, and the other allowing children to stay under their parents’ plan until age 26.

Many women are concerned about how reproductive health services will be affected by any change. In 2012, a mandate under the ACA went into effect requiring that health care plans provide coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptives, and the possibility of losing this coverage has many women looking for long-term solutions.

Trump’s pro-life campaign has also sparked major concern. His plan to appoint pro-life judges to the Supreme Court opens up the possibility of weakening or reversing Roe v. Wade – which gives women the legal right to have an abortion – and hinted that the abortion decision would be handed to individual states.

Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives

Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) include IUDs (intrauterine devices) and hormonal implants. The IUD is a small T-shaped plastic device inserted into the uterus by a doctor, which can be medically removed. The device kills sperm before they can fertilize the egg, and is twenty times more effective than birth control pills, patches, or rings.

LARCs have always been less popular than short-term solutions, likely due to their cost. Without coverage mandated by the ACA, LARCs can cost up to $1000, while the birth control pill costs about $50 per month. According to multiple research articles, women use LARCs if they can afford them.

There are three brands of IUDs on the market: ParaGard, which lasts around ten years, Mirena, which lasts more than five years, and Skyla, which lasts approximately three. A ParaGard IUD would outlast two terms of Trump, although we better hope that he will not be re-elected.

Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley is the chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood. In a statement, she said, “It’s too early to tell if we’ll see an uptick in requests for IUDs as a result of the election” adding, “While we truly hope that birth control methods will be available, accessible, and affordable to all women under the Trump administration, we understand people’s real concerns about losing access to birth control, which is basic health care for women.”

Almost all sexually active women (around 99%) have used at least 1 contraceptive method in their lifetime. About 7% use IUDs.

How can Trump make life difficult?

Trump would unlikely be able to fully repeal the ACA without the 60-vote supermajority in the Senate. However, the Democrat’s filibuster power, which could allow them to block the vote, does not apply for bills related to the federal budget or taxes.

Budget reconciliation is a way around this. Last year, the Senate and the House passed a reconciliation bill which would have reversed a large portion of the health bill, but President Obama vetoed it. However, now we know that the Republicans could get this bill through the Senate and the House, and President Trump would definitely sign off on it.

What are some other avenues Trump could take? Since Medicaid affects the federal budget, Congress could remove contraceptive coverage from Medicaid plans, or decrease the number of people who are eligible for Medicaid. He could amend the ACA to remove the contraceptive mandate. He could have the Department of Health and Human Services to redefine preventive care, such that it no longer includes birth control.

Insured women would not be affected until the new health plan in enacted in 2018, but changes to Medicaid could be immediate.

What do we know about Pence?

For anyone scared of Trump, take a moment to look to his right, and start praying that Trump does not die of a heart attack or of an old age. Vice President-elect Mike Pence is a living nightmare. He appears set on moving backwards, with messed-up opinions on women’s rights, LGBT rights, immigration, and climate change to name a few.

Pence is infamous for opposing women’s health care and reproductive rights. He led the fight to defund Planned Parenthood, and signed eight anti-abortion bills into law in his four years as governor of Indiana, which included allowing hospitals to deny abortions even if the woman would die without care, and mandating that an aborted fetus be buried or cremated (which the Supreme Court ruled against in June).

He has said “I long for the day that Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history.”

Earlier this year, he signed a bill banning abortion on the basis of disability, gender, or race of the fetus, and holding doctors legally liable for performing it, prompting the Periods for Pence protest. The Facebook post which started it said, “any period could potentially be a miscarriage without knowledge…perhaps we should contact Governor Pence’s office to report our periods. We wouldn’t want him thinking that THOUSANDS OF HOOSIER WOMEN A DAY are trying to hide anything, would we?” Women began tweeting and calling the office with details of their period and asking for advice, since he seems to know their body better than they do.

People are trolling Pence once again. Planned Parenthood has received donations from 128 000 people since the election, with over 20 000 of them in Pence’s name. This began when some celebrities, including comedian Amy Schumer and actress Amber Rose, posted their donation on social media and urged their followers to follow suit. He will receive a certificate of gratitude for each donation made in his name (although without receiving tax deductions).

Planned Parenthood has commented that people have been donating in Hillary Clinton’s name, as well.

It’s easy to be pro-life when you’re a man

Let’s take a moment and appreciate the irony of the situation. Trump, and his administration, is pro-life and anti-birth control. Does he expect sexually active women to magically avoid getting pregnant? Or is the logic that if they don’t want a baby, they shouldn’t have sex? Yes, that must be the solution, because a womanizer like Trump totally believes that abstinence is the best birth control.

Also, Trump is a man. Why does he believe he has the right to govern women’s health issues?

Contraception and women’s health are real feminist issues. Getting IUDs is some women’s way of saying “screw you” to the administration, but this is not viable for everyone, and it is completely wrong that women must seek birth control methods to outlast Trump’s administration. Health care is a basic human right, which Trump wants to repeal for many Americans, and many of the issues target women specifically.