On ‘Thanks, Birth Control’ day, let’s remember to keep fighting for reproductive rights
Birth control has been an integral component of family planning and women’s health care for over 50 years. Yet many politicians still want to make it harder for women to receive the resources that they need — including our own President.
One of the Trump administration’s first major blows to women’s reproductive rights came on October 6 with the roll back of the birth control mandate included in Obama’s Affordable Care Act. This mandate required employers to provide health insurance plans that covered preventive reproductive services (like birth control) without any additional co-pays. Trump, however, issued an executive order that allows employers to claim a religious or moral objection to Obamacare’s birth control coverage mandate. The Affordable Care Act currently helps 62.4 million women access birth control without using out-of pocket costs, according to a study recently conducted by the National Women’s Law Center.
Just a matter of days after this rollback, a White House memo that was leaked to Crooked Media revealed that the administration also planned to attack Title X — a federal grant created in 1970 dedicated to family planning services — by halving its budget and diverting the money saved to promoting “fertility awareness” methods of birth control. The fertility awareness methods in question fail roughly 1 in 4 couples every year while Title X has helped millions of women afford important health care services that they would not have been able to access otherwise. Most of the patients that rely on Title X have incomes 150% below the federal poverty level and more than 4 million Americans rely on affordable family planning services that are funded by Title X, according to Planned Parenthood. Furthermore, the affordable birth control Title X helps people access prevents 1 million unintended pregnancies per year.
And keeping with GOP tradition, the Trump administration also plans to target Planned Parenthood health centers directly. A congressional budget considered last May proposed defunding Planned Parenthood completely and Trump specifically mentioned Planned Parenthood in a tweet calling out the Freedom Caucus for not supporting the new budget. Thankfully, this budget did not pass, but that doesn’t mean that the Trump administration and congress are not still working to cut access to the useful services that Planned Parenthood provides.
In response to these types of attacks, Planned Parenthood is fighting back. The organization recently announced the launch of #Fight4BirthControl — a campaign that aims to ensure access to birth control through three primary forms of engagement.
1. Employee Engagement
First, the campaign seeks to better educate people about the importance of birth control and provide people with tools to help them talk to their employers about health care. These resources include an employee toolkit that explains to how to make sure your employer continues covering birth control without the ACA mandate.
2. Employer Engagement
This component of the campaign includes another movement, #BusinessForBC, that urges employers to publicly commit to providing their employees with coverage. Employers making this pledge is a “way of normalizing… such a fundamental right,” Cecile Richards said in an interview with Fortune.
3. Political Accountability
Beyond employer engagement, this campaign asks us to continue to push politicians to maintain the Obamacare birth control mandate. The Planned Parenthood campaign website has a service that allows women to share their stories directly with the Department of Health and Human Services.
Birth control is an important part of healthcare, the economy, and giving people agency in family planning. Getting involved in Planned Parenthood’s #Fight4BirthControl campaign is a great way to make sure that Trump and other politicians do not succeed in making birth control less accessible. You can begin easily by signing the petition or checking out other ways to take action.
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