In a time where it’s impossible to know what’s real and what’s fake news, here’s the five things every woman should know about Trump lifting the Birth Control Mandate.
1. The Mandate gives birth control access to millions of women
An Obama administration study found that the birth control mandate (also called the contraceptive coverage mandate) gave access to birth control without a co-pay to more than 55 million women. Compare that to the 2012 U.S. Census estimate that 75.4 million women were aged 15 to 50 and that’s a significant percentage of fertile U.S. women. Monthly costs for birth control pills average from $15 to $50, with yearly costs ranging anywhere from $160 to $600. The Birth Control Mandate helps women have access to birth control without worrying about the costs associated with it.
2. The lift allows insurance companies and employers to refuse coverage of contraceptives
Two important rules allow employers or insurers to deny contraceptive coverage based on either religious beliefs or personally held morals. This only applies to certain birth control methods, however. Basically, any birth control methods employers or insurers liken to abortion do not have to be covered. Morning-after pills and IUDs fall under this category.
3. It spurned from the Republicans failed attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act
After the Republicans failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they tried to find a way to get rid of the “essential health benefits” insurance plans have to cover by law. These benefits include birth control. Therefore, the Birth Control Mandate lift is a roundabout way for the Trump administration and the Republicans to get what they want.
4. It’s going to be costly
It’s estimated that, for every tax dollar that is spent on birth control, an additional $7 is saved on costs associated with unintended pregnancies. Although it’s not extraordinarily expensive, about a third of women struggle to afford prescription birth control. With the ACA and the Birth Control Mandate, the percentage of people who had to pay for a portion of their birth control dropped dramatically from over 20% to 4%. So, not only will the lift affect the people directly responsible for obtaining birth control, it will also affect all tax payers.
5. You’re likely not going to be affected directly
According to the Trump administration, the new rules will not affect over 99.9% of American women. The ones most directly affected are women who benefit from insurance provided by large companies, such as Pepsi and Exxon, and church groups. However, even if you are not directly affected, you should still advocate for the Birth Control Mandate. Call your representatives. Support the groups filing lawsuits. Educate yourself.