If you thought for even a moment that you and your ovaries would be cut some slack for once, you are in for a rude awakening. This Friday, President Donald Trump's administration has put in place a new rule that could make your employer's beliefs your business. If you're wondering how this new rule affects how much birth control costs, you're not alone.
Unfortunately, this new rule makes it possible for employers to decide whether or not birth control is included in your health insurance coverage based on either moral or religious reasons. Sadly, this new rule will override Obama's mandate guaranteeing birth control coverage to millions of America women. Even more troubling, this new policy is set to take place immediately.
Now, I'm sure we're all wondering — yet again — why a woman's personal choice to take contraception would ever be relevant to anyone other than her and her partner(s), let alone her boss. But alas, it seems President Trump's administration believes otherwise. Since President Trump has entered the office, women's health issues have been under constant assault, from undermining the nation's Title X Family Planning Program, which four million people rely on as their primary means of receiving birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing, to attempting to defund Planned Parenthood, which would have resulted in millions of Americans left without access to basic health care.
Before today, the Affordable Care Act had a provision acknowledging birth control as a form of preventative health care. One of the reasons this new rule is completely misguided is because there was already a work-around that allowed religiously-affiliated employers to refuse birth control coverage: by deferring it directly to the health insurance company. Trump's new rule, for all intents and purposes, gives any employer (i.e., nonprofit, small business, large corporation, private or publicly-held, school, or other entity) the right to "opt out" of contraception coverage altogether. Not to mention the fact that the rule itself was presented with a questionable amount of anti-birth control language, leading us to wonder what exactly the motives behind this dicey adjustment really are.
Anyone who's ever been on the pill knows that they aren't always cheap — even with insurance coverage. Depending on the exact brand, as prices of birth control vary vastly, you could end up spending hundreds of dollars more every year. And that's only taking into account the people who can afford to take on the financial burden of paying completely out of pocket.
The sad truth is that, besides pregnancy, so many women and girls use birth control to treat medical conditions such as cystic acne, endometriosis, fibroids, and much more.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards says:
"We’re talking about a fundamental right — to be able to decide whether and when you want to have children. Birth control is not controversial — it’s health care the vast majority of women will use in the course of their lifetime.
Two million women rely on Planned Parenthood health centers each year for birth control. Nine out of ten women of reproductive age will use birth control in their lifetime. This administration is carrying out a full-scale attack on birth control — eliminating insurance coverage for birth control, eliminating programs that help women with low incomes access birth control, and moving to prohibit health care providers from even giving women information about birth control or abortion. We cannot allow President Trump to roll back the progress women have made over the past century."
Seeing as this new rule only directly affects women, not only is it sexist, but it also could endanger millions of women by leaving them to fend for themselves when it comes to taking charge of their reproductive health. Needless to say, this is not OK.
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