There is a pattern in women’s health care as of late. More and more, healthcare that affects the half of the population that is WOMEN is becoming increasingly restricted. In government the headlines abound with talk of (and actions toward) limitations on maternity and newborn care and contraception. They seem to be popping up in the news more and more with the current administration, and I find it deeply concerning. The implications of these policies impact far more than just women. Let’s dive further into the contraception problem.
The rising prices of drugs will render many women unable to afford proper contraception without the help of insurance, and now, almost all employer provided insurance is no longer mandated to cover medications that fall under birth control options (thanks executive order rollback). This may sound like a small issue, but if you look at it for a moment you can see that it will snowball out of control. There will be more unplanned pregnancies and many other health issues.
More Than Birth Control
News flash: Many women need hormonal contraception for reasons apart from contraception! It is a fact that many women have extremely disruptive and painful periods. They have hormonal imbalance issues ranging from severe migraines and nausea to excessive bleeding and painful abdominal cramping. Others suffer from diagnoses like endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome. Working and completing day-to-day tasks can be challeenging for these women. Many doctors recommend taking hormonal birth control for these women as it can help ease troublesome symptoms.
Additionally, women who have just given birth are often advised to avoid having another baby right away. Many doctors recommend at least 18 months. This time allows a woman’s body to heal and replenish nutrients lost during pregnancy. Are women in this circumstance really to abstain from having sex with their partner for 18 months? Sex is a healthy part of relationships and expecting people to abstain in order to avoid pregnancy is unrealistic. It could even cause serious damage to families.
Our foster care system is already overburdened. Thousands of abused and neglected children find themselves in a system that is simply failing to meet their needs despite its best efforts. Making contraception more difficult to get will absolutely increase the rate of unplanned pregnancies and unwanted babies. Ultimately it will put even more strain on a system that is already struggling to care for America’s children.
“But what about adoption? So many families want a baby and can’t have one!” Sure! Adoption is a great option, a blessing to both the mother of an unplanned baby and the family that so desperately desires to care for him… but it’s an insanely difficult and expensive process that often falls through. Many families don’t have the support or finances to go through with adoption. Those that do face a long road of paperwork, court dates, and surprise social services visits before they can call the child their own. The process can take years to complete. Many would choose to undergo fertility treatments before facing the perilous, unsure, and often heartbreaking road of adoption. Can we really blame them?
Unplanned babies can be an amazing blessing if you have a fantastic support system. But with the price of childcare being sky high on top of no paid maternity leave, many families struggle to support new additions and find themselves needing social programs to feed their families, help with medical bills and cover some of the costs of childcare. Not everyone can drop junior off at Grandma and Grandpa’s house for free childcare while they’re off at work. Many families are finding that after paying for childcare, they are barely even making a profit off of their hard work. Certainly not enough to cover the costs of living and basic amenities.
Maybe this is just speculation, or simplification, but why does our government seem to be indifferent about the rate of unwanted pregnancies? It seems to me like maybe they want future generations of consumers to generate money for businesses that fund their campaigns. I mean, more babies = more future adults that have to buy things = more money for big businesses = more funding for their agendas = more power to restrict healthcare = more babies, and so continues the cycle.
So why the governmental push in is problematic direction? The way the Trump administration puts it, birth control encourages risky sexual behavior. I call bullshit. When a woman receives contraception her care team almost always offers education about practicing safe sex. Perhaps it’s the media or easy access to pornography that encourages risky sexual behavior. (Let’s be real here, how often do you see someone put on a condom in porn?!)
All taking away contraception does is increase the rate of unplanned pregnancies and decrease education about safe sex practices. While abstinence is the only 100% effective way to not make a baby, it is completely unrealistic to assume that everyone who doesn’t want a baby will simply abstain. More than the discourse that could be had about sex being a normal part of life- Sex is a healthy part of a loving relationship. It also makes babies. Many more of them if women don’t have access to contraception.
As a medical issue, it doesn’t seem wild and out there that a medical provider would be best suited to make recommendations about who should have access to contraception. Without having to fight insurance and government every step of the way.
Restricting access and affordability of contraception creates a domino effect of problems that overall, will burden all American people. Most directly American women and children, but this problem is not limited to them. We as citizens of a democracy always have a choice. Because we have a voice and a vote. Consider women’s healthcare and women’s rights as you educate yourself in your next choices.