With Trump now in power, women need to start considering their birth control options. President Trump has spoken about his plans to repeal Obamacare, which in turn means that women might have to begin paying for birth control again. So what exactly does Trump means for birth control? So what are Trump’s plan for birth control?
Obamacare has meant that birth control is available at no cost, or very low cost, freeing women of expensive payments coming to hundreds of dollars per year. Currently, most health insurance plans cover virtually all conventional contraceptive methods without co-pay or co-insurance. Others cover various forms of birth control subsidized. Methods currently covered include: barrier methods (diaphragms and sponges), hormonal methods (pills and rings), implanted devices (IUDs), emergency contraception and sterilization. Not included are drugs to induce abortion and services for men such as vasectomies. In general, under Obamacare, most types of contraceptive pills can be obtained for very little co-pay, or for free.
About 99% of sexually active women have used at least one contraceptive method between 2006 and 2010. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, about 22 million American women will lose access to health insurance. It’s still unclear what exactly will happen since a detailed plan still hasn’t been revealed. However, it is sending shock and despair through the female population. If Trunp’s plan for birth control coverage changes from Obamacare when many women will face a choice of paying high prices for contraception again or risking unwanted pregnancy. Many women who suffer from endocrine illnesses like PCOS and Endometriosis also use birth control pills to manage their menstruation and symptoms. These women will also be affected by the Trump repeal, even though they are not using the contraception to prevent pregnancy. It is worrying times and a lot of unknown.
Trump has previously mentioned that he supports the ability for women to access birth control without a prescription, and Trump has mentioned that he might be willing to leave some of the laws from the ACA in place, but women nationwide are feeling panicked that their current method of birth control will be inaccessible.
Many women are speaking out on social media and are urging others to get an IUD while it’s still covered. We just don’t know what Trump’s plan for birth control will actually be when it comes down to it. One woman reported that before Obamacare, her contraceptive pills cost $80 a month. How will she continue to pay this if the law is repealed?
Intrauterine Devices – IUDs
This uncertainty has led to an increase in women considering getting an IUD inserted. An IUD is a small, plastic device which is inserted into the uterus by a doctor to prevent unwanted pregnancy. As of 2015, 7% of sexually active women choose an IUD as their method of birth control. Using IUDs has become more popular since Obamacare, with statistics showing an increase of 91% over the past five years.
There are different types of IUDs, and one of the most popular ones is called Mirena which lasts for at least five years. Women who choose to insert an IUD now will benefit from at least five years of guaranteed contraception – more than the duration of Trump’s presidency. Indeed, many women are getting IUDs as political statements. It is allowing these women to feel in control of their bodies, having a tool in their bodies for 5+ years that the government can’t touch. Feminist activists are strong in their belief that now is the time to get an IUD, and that if your IUD is almost up for expiration it would be wise to get a new one before any new legislation takes place.
Other women are motivated solely by fear. Some women have never heard of an IUD and feel uncertain about the insertion procedure and possible side effects. IUDs can often cause heavy menstrual bleeding and some women are concerned about the horror stories they hear of perforated uteruses. Gynecologists are insistent that IUDs are actually safe and effective when inserted by a trained doctor. Other women may have considered an IUD previously but now there is actual pressure to get one in order to protect themselves from the new presidency. Despite being the third most popular form of reversible contraception in the US, it still involves a small medical procedure to get it inserted and it’s not a decision to take lightly.
Right now it’s difficult to know whether Trump will stay true to his promise to defund Planned Parenthood or whether he will preserve the birth control clause of the Affordable Care Act. It is important for women to stay open-minded and to use this time to consider whether an IUD would be appropriate for them. It is important that women consult with their gynecologist to discuss the issue, and not just because of Trump. IUDs have so many other benefits too (no more forgetting pills!), making it an increasingly popular choice among American women.