A century ago, women fought for access to contraception and now there is a threat to undo that work. Millions of women, who once received full coverage for an entire range of birth control, are about to have that liberty taken away from them.
Approximately 55 million women in the U.S. are accessing free contraceptive pills, according to the National Women’s Law Center. Ninety-nine percent of women use the pill at some point and 60 percent of those women use them for reasons other than contraception, says Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the majority of health care plans are required to cover all forms and methods of birth control, which were approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Women were not charged anything for these. President Donald Trump said he plans on rolling back the policy for employer-provided health insurance to cover the pill.
Roger Severino, the director of a federal health and human services office, said that the new policy allows companies and organizations to exclude this care if they have any religious or moral objections. Severino said most companies will continue providing birth control coverage and only a small percentage of U.S. women will be affected by this new rule. Some health policy analysts think otherwise.
This new policy may be a major loophole for any company to claim exemption, therefore leaving women to pay out of pocket for birth control. This becomes a huge issue for women, as the birth control pill is used for more than just preventing pregnancy.
More than 726,000 women who take the pill have never had sex, research shows.
Hormonal birth control is a long-term solution — rather than just taking over-the-counter Ibuprofen, for women who experience harsh menstrual cramps that become so severe, the pain causes them to pass out or throw up. Women with relentless acne also take the pill. Dermatologists have been using three FDA-approved oral contraceptives to control acne. It helps balance women’s hormones when their levels shift every month. Birth control pills are taken to cure Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and have been proven to lower women’s risk of ovarian cancer.
Many people are not aware of the variety of treatments and help that contraceptive pills can provide women. With the elimination of coverage for these pills, many women will suffer financially, as they need these pills to prevent daily pain.
Eighteen states, including California, Connecticut and Kentucky, have filed lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s decision to cut back these rules that save millions of Americans money on health care every year. According to a 2015 study done by the University of Pennsylvania, women could be saving up to $1.4 million on birth control pills alone. The administration’s intentions of changing health care plans are changing subsidies that affect and benefit 6 million people.
The shadowed truth to multiple reasons birth control is used may be a causing factor as to why the government sees this as an easy way to cut funding. Women are taking a stand to defend federal funding for contraceptive pills, as this is a wider issue than it seems, being that the pill is central to women’s health. Birth control should be treated like any other preventative medical care.
It is rumored that the administration plans to promote fertility awareness. It is a natural contraceptive method, tracking when a woman is most likely to get pregnant during the month. This is just 76 to 88 percent effective, while the pill is 99 percent effective. This also doesn’t even touch on the problems for which 60 percent of women actually use birth control pills.
Promoting abstinence and fertility awareness is simply not enough.
The lack of knowledge of the wide range of benefits contraceptive pills provide for women of all ages is extremely important. Awareness of this issue is essential and women should not have to pay astronomical amounts of money to stay out of pain and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Women are continuing to protest and get messages to the public to spread the importance of this subsidy that has been brought back to us just over a century later.
The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the opinion editor, Hayley Fahey.
Printed in the 10/25/17 issue.