With Trump in office, women seek out long-term birth control options
With President-elect Donald Trump's surprise victory on Nov. 8, more women are planning visits to the gynecologist.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), women have access to 18 different types of birth control, but there is uncertainty as to whether birth control will remain available under the new administration, which has previously voiced desire to repeal the ACA.
Following the election results, Planned Parenthood branches across the country have experienced influxes in women making appointments and asking about long-term birth-control methods such as intrauterine devices (IUDs), National Public Radio (NPR) reports. The concern stems from Trump’s views on women’s reproductive rights.
An IUD is a small device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It can remain effective for up to 12 years, according to Planned Parenthood. The ACA allows insurance companies to provide coverage for approved forms of birth control, allowing women to access basic preventative resources regardless of their financial stance.
Trump's campaign aligned itself closely with ideologies of the Christian right, with a priority on limiting and banning abortions, said Mary Hawkesworth, a distinguished professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and the Department of Political Science.
The far right is also dedicated to undermining contraception, she said.
"They believe that sex is solely for purposes of reproduction, so it would not be too surprising if he didn’t introduce legislation that would try to curb women’s access both to contraception and to abortion,” Hawkesworth said.
As of now, Trump has not released a comprehensive plan outlining the aspects of the ACA that he will repeal.
Women are concerned about what will happen to their rights if Trump repeals the ACA, said Madison Guyon, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior.
"If women cannot afford birth control they are basically being denied their rights to reproductive care," Guyon said.
In the United States, everyone has the right to reproductive freedom, Hawksworth said. Before the ACA, many insurance policies did not cover birth control pills, denying low-income women their right to reproductive freedom.
“If the mandate that insurance companies cover contraception is tampered with, that will make it harder for women to be able to afford birth control pills,” Hawkesworth said.
Jen Gomez, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, believes long-term devices such as an IUD are a good alternative to the pill.
“I think it’s a smart idea just because you really do not know what is going to happen,” said Jen Gomez, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
Women have taken to social media platforms to encourage others to seek out long-term forms of birth control.
Hawkesworth said women should carefully research different methods of birth control and consult experts in order to discover the best option for them.
IUD's can cause complications, she said.
"Certain IUD's can cause heavy bleeding, and if not treated appropriately can cause long-term health consequences up to and including sterility," Hawkesworth said. "Women should be talking to doctors and healthcare providers to get good information. When the Republican Party has control of the presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives, that means there is no barrier for them to pass a law and get it signed."
She said women need to continue to fight for their rights and prepare for what may lie ahead, adding that “the fear for physical safety, physical integrity, respect, equality, equal treatment, non-discrimination — I think all of those concerns are at the heart of both women and men who believe in social justice."
Victoria Nazarov is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in journalism and media studies. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.