The first month of President Trump's presidency has caused quite a roller coaster of emotions for many Americans.
Photo courtesy of czoborraul -- Getty Images

With the Universal Women’s March and the #MuslimBan, this series of events is only a fraction of what started happening in America merely hours after Donald Trump being sworn in as president. The attack towards women was head-on.

Back in November, the Trump administration hinted that the dismantling of Obamacare was a priority on their list. This jeopardizes access to free birth control.

This health care regulation was put in place by the Obama administration, who believed that contraceptives are a part of preventative care. Preventative care for women is comprised of, but not limited to, well-woman exams, mammograms, pap-smears, maternity care, and contraceptives including birth control pills, IUDs, injectables, the ring, implants, cervical caps, and even sterilization. This mandate gave many women access to health care since it required insurances to fully cover birth-control without any co-pays or other cost sharing requirements. This changed the face of reproductive health care because prior to ACA, many weren’t able to get these benefits through their insurance, or at all.

“If or when the Affordable Care Act is repealed or replaced—and we lose coverage for contraceptives —I definitely feel that this will significantly impact women," states Kailey Voellinger, Funding Coordinator at Austin Women’s Health Center. "Many of our patients are low-income. I imagine we will see a significant drop in patients choosing LARC (Long-Acting Reversible Contraception) devices, and maybe losing birth control all together. Women will choose between feeding their children, and their birth control."

According to the National Business Group on Health, birth control coverage does not make insurance premiums increase, on the contrary--it actually saves money for employers in the long run. The cost of covering maternity and infant care is, in fact, higher than family planning services; therefore, this mandate does not place employers in such a horrible predicament that requires protest. This seems to be an issue of old, white, privileged men refusing to relinquish their unearned power and control women’s bodies in the name of religion.

Contraceptives such as the pill are not only used to family plan...

They are also used for many medical conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. The pill is usually prescribed for individuals who suffer from this disease, and many other conditions such as irregular periods. It is a hormone-imbalanced disease that comes with even more severe symptoms and does not have a cure. A high level of estrogen in birth control is prescribed to help cope with symptoms such as menstrual irregularity, excess hair growth, acne, obesity, and infertility.

“I have been using birth control pills since I was 12 years old," Bianca Diaz tells us. "When I didn’t take birth control, I’d have severe cramps, fatigue, migraines, and nausea. Without the pill I couldn’t menstruate. I’d go up to 6 months without a period. The pill has always been a positive and necessary part of my life. Especially since I was recently diagnosed two years ago with PCOS."

“I am quite sure without my parents' coverage I wouldn’t be able to access my prescribed birth control by my OBGYN," continues Bianca, "and the thought of that is just terrifying. I mean, not having access to something that provides my body with what it needs hormonally to function not only has a physical impact, but a mental one as well. I would not be able to work the 10-hour day shifts I have, exercise, and live my daily life that includes having emotional strength to handle what happens when I sometimes go without my medication. I know in about a year down the line I’ll be in this frustrating predicament of worrying about the pill being covered by whatever insurance I obtain with my work organization, due to these arguments threatening birth control coverage."

If family planning coverage is expunged, the effects will not be felt for insurance holders until 2018.

There would still be birth-control coverage, but with co-pays or co-insurance, and unfortunately, many will not be able to afford it. This is why organizations like Planned Parenthood exist, although the future's not looking too bright for them, either. Also under threat of losing their contraceptive funding, women who were never able to afford insurance, even with Obamacare, will have no choice but to turn to unsafe medical care.

“I am terrified of what will happen to vulnerable, desperate women with no where else to turn if they are deprived of access to contraceptives or safe, legal abortion care," says Kailey. "When abortion is illegal and not medically supervised, women die. I fear for our safety and autonomy--we know that desperate people will go to any length to end a pregnancy when they can't see another way out."

Free birth control, and that includes LARC devices, is vital.

There are many different options when it comes to family planning, so researching and relaying experiences with members of one's community are important when in making this decision. Women’s health should be held to the utmost importance in order for them to prosper and lead full lives that are not narrowed in value to just reproducing. In a way, it is also a method of self-care knowing that the control of one's body is solely within the individual, and no one else.

What is your take?

Let us know in the comments.