Can You Believe We Are Fighting for Birth Control?

Guest Blog by Susan Yolen (VP Policy & Advocacy, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England) | 

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Image from CT Viewpoints

There’s no question that access to birth control — and all the economic and social progress it has helped deliver for women — is imperiled.

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration took direct aim at birth control coverage for more than 62 million American women, eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) guarantee that their birth control would be covered regardless of where they work. This new rule allows virtually any employer to deny coverage on religious or “moral” grounds. The ACA already allowed religiously affiliated employers to refuse to pay for coverage, but it ensured women would still get birth control coverage directly from health plans — a protection the Trump administration also eliminated.

It’s clear that the Administration is likely to continue restricting access to birth control, by eliminating programs that help low-income women access birth control, by chipping away at insurance coverage for birth control, or even prohibiting health care providers from giving women information about birth control and abortion.

In January, companies across the country will be renewing their health insurance plans, and as a result of this new rule, they will decide whether or not to deny their employees birth control coverage. Planned Parenthood has launched a  #Fight4BirthControl campaign. The effort will engage people across the country, including business leaders, artists, and influencers, to prevent the erosion of birth control access in this country.

Reproductive health is basic health care and central to a woman’s ability to control her life and future. Undermining access to contraception is just one aspect of this administration’s broader attack against equal rights and women’s ability to fully participate in the workforce and pursue their dreams. The #Fight4BirthControl campaign is part of a larger effort to demand an end to the attacks we’ve seen on women’s health and rights, including access to safe, legal abortion.

The campaign will work with companies to help them publicly commit to continuing to cover birth control for their employees in response to the Trump administration’s new rule. It will also give everyday people the tools and resources to start conversations in the workplace to ensure that birth control continues to be covered. Student groups will begin to organize on their campuses to ensure that university health plans also continue to cover birth control.

A leaked White House memo implies that the Title X national family planning program is next up on the administration’s list, outlining a shocking proposal to slash the program’s funding and push women and teenagers to use fertility awareness(aka “rhythm”) methods over other, more effective forms of birth control. It also calls for the end of the federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. Meanwhile, the long list of anti-contraception political appointees at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grows, as HHS also contemplates a strategic plan full of language opposed to contraceptives and legal, accessible abortion.

Are you as furious as we are? Get involved by connecting with Planned Parenthood of Southern New England’s organizing team: organizing@ppsne.org.

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