Lawson: Affordable birth control affects everyone


Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump observes the crowd’s reaction as he speaks about the differences between him and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Sep. 13 in Clive, Iowa.

Angelica Lawson

It is no secret that health care coverage has been on almost everyone’s mind recently. The defeat of the proposed “Trumpcare” brought a sigh of relief for many people. One concern for women, in particular, was birth control and how the Trump administration’s proposed health care act would affect the cost of these medications.

Affordable birth control was a concern of 1 in 3 female voters, according to a PerryUndem survey. One-third of women surveyed said they could not afford birth control that costs more than $10 a month.

After former President Barack Obama’s health care law was passed, insurance companies began offering free, low-cost or deductible-free birth control. Through the legislation, more women have had access to affordable birth control.

Affordable health care benefits everyone. Before the Affordable Care Act, women could spend an estimated $248 for an intrauterine device, and $255 for oral contraceptives out of pocket annually. After the act passed, women paid $19.84 on average for oral contraceptives and $145.24 for an intrauterin device annually. The act also made it a requirement to cover some preventative measures for women, such as pap tests, cancer screenings, diabetes and pre-natal care.

As of now, the proposed American Health Care Act does not remove the birth control benefits, but that doesn’t mean that they would always be protected. A large portion of women receive their birth control and other health-related screens from public clinics such as Planned Parenthood. The criticism and pressure that Planned Parenthood has recently come under has inhibited access to affordable health care for a large portion of women.

Planned Parenthood provides so much more than abortion services. Because of its community reach, more people have received preventive care and are ultimately taking better care of themselves because they have access to the necessary means.

Everyone benefits from affordable birth control. It puts women in charge of their own reproduction, allows for family planning and helps decrease the amount of unwanted pregnancies. The underlying threat of the removal of such a necessary measure is one that no one can afford.

Speaking out against these policy changes is one way that we can ensure our leaders are hearing it directly from us. Reaching out to our representatives in any way, making sure that they hear us and know our concerns, is vital to the protection of birth control and all it stands for.

Another way to protect birth control access is to organize. Becoming a part of an organization that has aligned itself with these values and wants to demonstrate the importance that this issue holds with so many people is one way to deliver the message.

Keeping health care affordable and making sure that preventative services are available and covered for all is important, but it unfortunately seems that health care specifically created for women is under attack. Making our concerns heard is the first step in letting our representatives know that these are everybody’s concerns, and that they have a duty to fully represent the people who put them in those seats. It does not matter if you are a Republican or Democrat — having affordable health care services is everybody’s concern, and it should be treated as such.