On October 5th, the Trump Administration repealed women’s rights to contraceptive coverage under their employers. The repeal concerns women nationwide who rely on their employer’s health insurance.
The ruling allows employers and insurers to deny contraception coverage under “religious” or “moral convictions”, essentially allowing any company that does not want to pay for contraception to opt out without repercussions. Supporters of the ruling said it would allow religious institutions to be faithful to their beliefs and obligations, even though under the Affordable Care Act, religious institutions already had the ability to recuse themselves from the mandate.
During the ruling, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) presented two studies that falsely represented women’s access to contraception and their behaviors while taking it. The first study claimed that the majority of women with public health insurance would not be affected by the rollback of coverage because of their access to programs, like Planned Parenthood, that provide free contraception. Ironically, these are the same programs that the Trump Administration tried to defund a few months ago. The second study claimed that access to contraception encouraged “risky sexual behavior”. Given the HHS’s suggestion that birth control correlates with risky sexual behavior, the reasons why women use birth control are clearly misinterpreted by the Trump Administration. Although a small percentage of women use birth control to avoid pregnancy, the majority of women use birth control methods such as pills and injections to treat various health conditions. Birth control allows these women to function without their conditions interfering with their daily activities.
Trump and his Administration’s repeal of birth control access is in line with a pattern of rulings that attack women’s health and the narrative being delivered by the Trump Administration on women’s rights over their own bodies is concerning. Trump’s malicious comments against women on the campaign trail and during his presidency still leave many wondering what kind of respect women will receive under his continued term.