Though it has only been three weeks since Donald Trump won the election, women across the U.S. have begun scrambling to safeguard their birth control and reproductive rights.
President-elect Donald Trump, who ran on a staunchly Republican social platform, spewed a number of policy changes that could limit access to contraception and abortion. Fearing the effect a Trump presidency will have on the quality of health care, American women have packed Planned Parenthood’s schedule with appointments, and rushed to pharmacies to fill their birth control prescriptions.
Projected Policy Changes
On Jan. 20, 2017, President-elect Donald Trump, and the outwardly anti-choice Vice President Mike Pence, will gain control of the White House.
Throughout his campaign, Trump and his associates have proposed a number of policy changes that will directly impact women’s health, including:
- Repealing the Affordable Care Act: Repeal or restrict Obamacare, which offers free or low-cost contraception and prenatal care.
- Defunding Planned Parenthood: Support a government shutdown in favor of allowing funding to flow to Planned Parenthood, which provides birth control, family planning, and more.
- A Ban on Abortion: Ban all abortions after 20 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest, or endangerment of the mother.
- Supreme Court Appointments: Appoint anti-choice justices to the Supreme Court, which could affect reproductive rulings and set discriminatory precedents that could last decades.
- Overturn Roe v. Wade: Destruction of the progress of Roe v. Wade, the historic ruling that made abortion a federal right, is a major goal of Mike Pence.
Birth Control Access
In small towns, pregnancy rates are 63% higher than in metropolitan areas. However, there are various methods of birth control, ranging from monthly prescription pills to intrauterine devices (IUD), that exist today. The Affordable Care Act made a number of these options available to middle-class and low-income families.
“The health care law gave 47 million women access to preventive health services,” the New York Times reported. “It also required insurers to make birth control available at no cost to women, eliminating costly co-payments that in many cases ran to hundreds of dollars a year or more.”
Overturning Obamacare could result in loss of health insurance for 22 million people, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Fearing that the policy changes will lead to lost coverage, women are running to healthcare providers to get long-term birth control implants.
When considering birth control, it’s important to recognize that a number of options exist. As women dash to get implants, they may not adequately understand the risks. Planned Parenthood reported “higher than average numbers” of appointments for intrauterine devices (IUDs) and other extended contraception methods in recent weeks.
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However, it’s important to note that IUDs can come with a number of side effects. One implant, known as Essure, can cause life-threatening complications.
Essure is a metallic coil implant that can migrate and puncture organs, leading to internal bleeding and infections. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently added a Black Box Warning, its most serious safety alert, to Essure’s labeling. The agency also published a checklist to inform women about the risks of Essure.
About 99 percent of women have used at least one contraceptive method in their lifetimes from 2006 to 2010, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
In light of the recent risk of losing access to contraception, the hashtag #ThxBirthControl has surfaced on social media. The hashtag has inspired thousands of women to post about the various ways birth control has improved their lives.
As Trump begins to finalize his cabinet, women and allied groups will unite in an effort to support the birth of new movements in favor of reproductive rights. It’s up to us to inform women about the dangerous side effects of some birth control options.