Navigating Birth Control Under Trump, In A Doctor's Words
Because of the Affordable Care Act, I am on my parents' insurance policy, and my monthly packs of birth control pills are free.
I really like my birth control.
It's been good to me, and I'm good at taking it on time every day.
Also it's a chewable mint! So on top of regulating my period, I get a lil' refreshment every day at 12:30.
I know that IUDs are the ~supreme LARC~ and I've thought about switching it up, but to be honest, I'm very squeamish and they make me uncomfortable.
Yes, I know they're awesome, but I also know I'm a paranoid hypochondriac and it would be more mentally exhausting than it's worth.
Plus, I discussed all the options with my general doctor and my gynecologist, who both concluded it's best for me to stay the course.
But with Trump becoming president, I'm scared I'll have to do something different to maintain control of my life and body.
Trump has made it clear that he hates Obamacare and wants to get rid of it. That means I would lose my insurance, and it also means that my $0 birth control would become not so guaranteed anymore.
Because of those promises, many women are urging other women to go get IUDs, like, 10 minutes ago.
On Sunday, Trump told "60 Minutes" he might keep some parts of Obamacare, including the "use-your-parents'-insurance-until-you're-26" part.
As someone who's been covering the election all year, I don't particularly trust that Trump means any of this.
That's just the issue: We don't know exactly what's going to happen.
Reproductive Health Advocacy Fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health, Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper, told me that uncertainty is real, and doctors don't know what's going to happen either.
Apparently I wasn't the only one freaking out.
The day after the election, Horvath-Cosper was "inundated" with calls from scared patients.
She said she's been telling patients that she doesn't know what's going to happen, BUT,
You shouldn't necessarily let the fear of losing coverage alter the ways you make decisions about birth control.
Essentially, Horvath-Cosper recommends the same advice women are always given.
Have a conversation with your healthcare provider about your options.
She acknowledged that IUDs are fab, "but not for every single person."
If you and your doctor decide it's a good option for you, then great! Get one!
But Horvath-Cosper doesn't recommend that you go get one right now if you don't think it's the right option for you.
If you're feeling pressured to get an IUD based on the political climate, that's not good.
The one positive Horvath-Cosper found is that this is shocking people into having these discussions with their healthcare providers. She said,
If this helps people review their options again, that's great. But it makes me sad as a doctor who cares about people's autonomy.
Ultimately, though, healthcare is probably not going to change as soon as Trump takes the oath on January 20.
(And when it comes to abortion, it would take the Supreme Court years to undo Roe v. Wade.)
Moreover, American people really support access to contraceptives and that part of Obamacare is super popular, so it's unclear if the government would quickly take it away.
Even if everything bad does happen with healthcare, providers will still be there for you.
Clinics are not going to shut down. Planned Parenthood will still exist.
Many of these places provide contraceptives (and other forms of healthcare) at sliding scale prices, meaning basically you pay as much as you can afford. Horvath-Cosper said,
We're going to still be there to help people.
And don't worry too much about stockpiling Plan B.
First of all, Horvath-Cosper pointed out, Plan B has expiration dates. So like, that's not a foolproof plan.
But also, Plan B is available over-the-counter based on an FDA decision. It's pretty unlikely a president would overturn the FDA, Horvath-Cosper said.
She did add, however, that you actually should already have a box in your home if you're sexually active, just in case.
Plus if your roommate ends up needing it, then you get to be the hero.
Ultimately, it really sucks that we even need to be thinking about this.
As Horvath-Cosper said,
I think it's a terrible way to make healthcare decisions, but I totally understand the fear.
I hate not feeling confident about my future.
I hate that I'm starting to save up money just in case I end up having to pay for my pills — and I'm super privileged that that's an option for me.
I hate that I'm considering doing something to my body that my doctors and I decided was not the best option for me.
That really doesn't feel good.