The scariest thing about the Trump administration’s latest attack on women’s reproductive rights is that it masks itself to be something that it is not. Usually, the sexism, Islamophobia, and racism can be spotted from a mile away, but the legislation rolled out earlier this month requires a magnifying lens, and we’re happy to zoom in on this for you.
In an executive order, (mandated by rules issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services) the administration’s new policy towards women’s contraceptives is simple- and dangerous. If you are a nonprofit, private firm or a publicly traded company, you can refuse to add contraceptives to your health care insurance plan, if you can prove that providing birth control conflicts with your “moral or religious beliefs”. Under Obamacare, employers were required to cover birth control with no copay.
This could impact millions of women who were to receive contraceptives at no cost. This also, unfortunately, follows the executive order 45 signed in May, that promoted “religious freedom and liberty.” "We will never, ever stand for religious discrimination. Never, ever," President Donald Trump said at the time.
Ironically, the administration that promoted the Muslim Ban (what was it, his third attempt at the ban? I’ve honestly lost count) doesn’t believe in religious discrimination.
Do not be fooled. This isn’t about religion, freedom or morals. It isn't even about being "pro-life" or pro-choice. If you were truly anti-abortion, you would be in favor of birth control pills and other forms of contraceptives. You would be in favor of proper sex education. You would be in favor of anything to prevent a woman from needing an abortion… right? The fact is that there are barely any Republicans fighting for women’s access to preventative health care because it isn't about preventative health. It is about the fact that there are still people on this earth that believe that women should not be in control of their bodies when it comes to their health and family planning.
The day the pro-life movement hands out condoms, birth control, IUDs, rallies around adopting children and believes in the right to quality free healthcare, is the day that I (along with many many others) will truly believe they are anti-abortion.
Before we go any further, we need to acknowledge the fact that using birth control isn't just a means of having safe sex, it also helps with many hormone issues that women face. Heavy menstrual flow, painful abdominal cramps and severe skin conditions like acne can all be moderated with the use of birth control. Contraceptive use can also help to prevent cysts in the breasts and ovaries and endometrial and ovarian cancers. Those who suffer from endometriosis also can have their symptoms lessen when using birth control. When making birth control harder to gain access to for women, you are not only taking away their right to family planning, but also putting the health of millions of women at risk.
So far, this administration has rolled back on gender equality legislation, has failed to implement maternity leave, refused to give women adequate healthcare and have now done everything in their power to limit women’s reproductive rights. Make no mistake, this is a full-blown attack on women, and all the progress that generations have fought so hard to create. What we need now isn't partisanship or religion. What we need is to reach a consensus on the fact that women deserve to be healthy. A woman’s sexuality is not up for national discussion, nor is her body. We need to come to this consensus for ourselves, and for the women that come after us. Because when women thrive, we all do.
Banner Image by Bustle / Artwork by LJ Kemsy Pacheco