2017 has been a year of survival for American women. The Trump administration and a majority Republican congress has been relentless in their attacks on women’s health and rights, both domestically and abroad.
After attempting to strip away Medicaid funding and access to care at Planned Parenthood via Trumpcare and Graham-Cassidy, the Trump administration doubled down on their attacks on our sexual health with a dangerous new rule that allows for any employer, school or other entity to drop contraceptive coverage for religious or moral reasons.
That’s right: The Trump Administration wants your ability to access birth control to be determined by your bosses’ beliefs.
Birth control is essential health care and gives women control over if and when they have children. Access to birth control is crucial to women’s social and economic advancement. The Trump Administration’s push to strip away access to birth control and deny American women of their bodily autonomy is abhorrent.
We deserve to make choices about our bodies, no one- especially no man in Washington- has the right to make these decisions for us. Birth control is a personal choice.
When access to birth control is blocked, everyone loses. But black women, Latinas, undocumented women, and the LGBTQ+ community are disproportionately impacted by these attacks. Black women are more than three times as likely as white women to have uterine fibroids and non-white Hispanic women experience more severe polycystic ovarian syndrome symptoms than women of other ethnic groups.
Plus, women of these identities are subjected to systemic discrimination that hinders their ability to participate in the economy.
And guess what? birth control is vital to women’s professional success.
In fact, one-third of the wage gains women have made since the 1960s are the result of access to oral contraceptive pills. Also, being able to get the birth control pill before age 21 is one of the most influential factors enabling women already in college to stay in college — which has led to a significant increase in women who are college students.
The Affordable Care Act birth control provision saved women an estimated 1.4 billion on birth control pills in its first year alone and allowed for more than 62 million women to access birth control without copayments.
Enough is enough. We must protect the health and financial well being of Minnesota women and demand our legislators to preserve the birth control protections in the ACA for Minnesotans.
We will not go back.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you can still get preventive care (including birth control options and breast/cervical cancer screenings) for free, without a copay. Don’t have insurance? You can still sign up! There’s been a lot of conversation around health insurance this year — but just like in previous years, you’re still able to sign up for coverage. You can sign up for health insurance until January 14, 2018 and Planned Parenthood can even help.