Why Is Donald Trump Obsessed With Taking Our Birth Control Away?
With Trump’s reversal of the ACA contraceptive benefit, the birth control of 62.4 million women is thrown into jeopardy.
My name is Sarah-Grace, and I’m one of millions of women concerned that my access to birth control will be thrown into jeopardy as a result of the Trump administration’s new plan to allow employees to be denied birth control. That’s why I’m speaking out as one of NARAL Pro-Choice America’s million-plus members against this dangerous attempt to rob women of our ability to plan our own futures.
I’ve relied on birth control to regulate my periods ever since I was a college student managing a busy schedule. Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I remember how difficult and stressful it was to find the money to cover my birth control. The pill that best suited me cost $50 per month, which I couldn’t afford as a college student that was also paying for textbooks, meal plans, and more. So I switched over to a different type of pill that only cost me $15. The change may have been easier on my wallet, but it came with downsides: The cheaper pill, while effective, left me with a heavier flow, spotting, and occasional mood changes. I felt less like myself while on it, but that was a consequence I had to accept due to its affordability.
Even though my birth control was expensive at the time, I knew that I would be unable to afford a child if I became pregnant. My birth control, no matter the financial burden, was a necessary expense to manage my health and to control my own future. It was my key to staying in school, getting good grades, and setting up a happy, healthy future where I could have a family when I decided the time was right.
When the ACA went into effect in January 2013, my co-payment for my birth control pills dropped down to $0. For the first time in my life, I could afford the pill that was better suited for my body. I was thrilled to be able to switch back to the birth control I really needed.
My experience is, again, exceedingly common — 1 in 3 female voters struggled with the cost of prescription birth control prior to the passage of the ACA. Now, women saved more than $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket expenses for birth control in the first year alone thanks to the ACA’s birth control coverage benefit.
As soon as the Trump administration took over the White House, I knew that the huge benefits women and families have enjoyed from our nation’s healthcare plan were at stake, along with our larger reproductive freedoms.
I took President Trump and the GOP at their word when they made threats to dismantle the birth control coverage benefit of the ACA and to appoint Supreme Court justices who they believe will overturn Roe v. Wade. I didn’t want to take any chances, so, like so many women, I took matters into my own hands and got an IUD, thinking that the long-term birth control would keep me covered regardless of a surge in the pricing of my monthly pill packs.
Like most medical treatment, however, birth control isn’t ‘one size fits all.’ The IUD I got ultimately wasn’t a good fit for me, and as a result, I returned to the pill. While I’m lucky to have the ability to try different birth controls and find what’s right for me, this should not be a privilege. Every woman deserves access to safe, effective, and affordable birth control, no matter where she lives or who signs her paycheck. I’m happy to know what method of birth control is right for me, but it’s scary that being on a method that is less long term than the IUD puts me at risk, especially under this administration, of losing my coverage and being burdened with high monthly costs. The Trump administration has shown time and time again that it has a vendetta against reproductive freedom, and I fear that they’ll stop at nothing to take away my basic human rights.
It seems that fear was well-founded. Trump and his administration rolled out a spiteful anti-birth control policy that disregards the health needs of millions of American women by allowing employers to refuse to include birth control coverage in company health insurance plans.
This comes at a time when the nation is grappling with very severe problems — from healing after the worst mass shooting in modern American history, to devastation in Puerto Rico leaving millions of Americans without drinking water and electricity, and to threats of nuclear war from North Korea. It’s astounding, but sadly not surprising, that our president and the anti-choice GOP has chosen instead to focus on attacking women’s rights and meddling with our birth control.
This was never about policy or women’s health, but rather the GOP’s obsession with rolling back reproductive freedom — and their priorities couldn’t be any more obvious. Under the guise of “religious freedom” and morality, the new rule allows employers to deny their employees coverage for birth control based on their personal beliefs. This plan is a catastrophe for women in America. Decisions we make about our own health and how to raise our families should never be second-guessed by an employer, or vulnerable to our employer’s personal beliefs.
I should have the right to decide my own reproductive destiny, as should all women in this country. We should be trusted to decide on our own terms whether, when, and with whom we start or grow our families without interference from politicians or employers. If businesses take advantage of this draconian Trump administration policy by refusing to cover birth control, countless women like myself will be worse off.
That’s why I, along with NARAL’s million-plus other members, am raising my voice and letting Trump and his administration know that my basic healthcare is not up for grabs. Women seeking birth control need options, not one-size-fits-all judgements from out of touch politicians. The birth control coverage benefit in the ACA was the single greatest advancement in reproductive healthcare in a generation, and we cannot go back.