Trump thwarts birth control mandate


Dorrie Gaeng, Editor-in-Chief

After the election, a multitude of women joked about rushing to their doctors to get an IUD implanted before Trump took over, one that would hopefully outlast his presidency – little did they know their concerns would actually come true.

The movement for women’s reproductive rights suffered a huge blow last month. The Trump administration rolled back the portion of the Affordable Care Act that required businesses to provide health care plans that included contraceptive coverage. Now, businesses or employers can claim exemption from the contraceptive mandate if it violates their “religious or moral conviction.” They do not even have to be an organization with religious affiliations to evade this cost.

What does this mean for women? According to a study commissioned under the Obama administration, 55 million women had access to birth control without co-payments because of the contraceptive mandate, which was implemented in 2012. Hundreds of thousands of women are projected to lose birth control coverage under the new policy.

When Trump released this policy, he claimed that he was not going to “allow people of faith to be targeted anymore.” But the objections to the ACA contraceptive mandate came from religiously-affiliated organizations, such as hospitals, and an opt-out proposal under the Obama administration addressed these concerns. The proposal allowed birth control to be provided by insurance companies, without direct involvement from the religious organization. But the Trump administration has pushed even further, not only allowing religiously-affiliated organizations exemption, but companies like CVS can bar coverage simply by claiming a violation of morals.

What is to stop employers from using this claim simply to save money?

And it does not stop there. As the administration released this policy, it also listed supposed health risks associated with certain contraceptives, one being that it promoted “risky sexual
behavior” among teenagers and young adults.

I do not know if these lawmakers are simply ignorant or in denial, but teenagers are going to engage in sexual activity regardless of government policy. The only thing birth control is doing is ensuring safe sex, limiting unwanted pregnancies and lowering abortion rates.

And are we forgetting that birth control is about more than just safe sex? Birth control provides numerous health benefits to all women, whether sexually active or not. According to a study done by the Guttmacher Institute, a leading research organization in reproductive health, 31 percent of women use the pill to control menstrual pain. Twenty-eight percent of women use the pill to regulate their menstruation and 14 percent of women use the pill to control acne.

Men should not have jurisdiction over the reproductive health of women. And as long as 80 percent of Congress and 80 percent of Trump’s appointed administration are men, this decision is unacceptable.