The Trump administration is cracking down on women’s health issues once again by limiting the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate. Employers claiming moral issues with supplying contraceptives through health care became extremely relevant in 2014 during the Hobby Lobby case.
In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that employers were not required to cover birth control in their health care if they had religious objections to contraceptives. This new rule issued by the Trump administration broadens the number of employers and insurers who can claim religious or moral objection.
To Trump, this is probably just another political step to dismantle the “Obama era,” but to me, this is an attack on my health care rights.
Birth control is often misinterpreted as strictly a contraceptive, when in reality it is often used for health purposes such as regulation of periods, acne, prevention of ovarian cysts, and more.
As a personal example, a family friend of mine had ovarian cancer. Since it can be genetic, it was recommended by her doctors that her daughters take birth control to regulate and prevent any abnormalities. In this case, birth control is literally saving their lives.
Why a woman takes birth control should be between her and her doctor — not her employer or her government. Employers do not have any say in an private health information, so what makes women’s health any different? Regardless of why one is taking birth control, it should be accessible to all women and treated as an essential for women’s health rather than just a contraceptive. Equal health care under the law is a right — including access to something as vital as birth control.
No woman should feel ashamed for using any of the various birth control methods. The anti-birth control stance is often handled to shame women and place a stigma on those who use birth control. In reality, the majority of women use some form of contraceptive during at least part of their lifetime. The people who create these laws limiting access to birth control are trying to create a negative stigma for women.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House’s press secretary, commented on the situation. “The president believes that the freedom to practice one’s faith is a fundamental right in this country ... This is a president who supports the First Amendment, supports the freedom of religion — I don’t understand why that should be an issue.” However, I completely disagree. Allowing a person or company to discriminate based off religious beliefs goes against the First Amendment.
This puts employers’ religious beliefs above and before their employees’. Not only does this go against the Constitution, but it deliberately allows for the discrimination against women employees.
Asst. Arts & Entertainment Editor