Do you remember the day after our president’s inaugural address, there was a huge Women’s March to represent women staying strong especially over the next four years? Well, it’s time to shine, ladies, as the fight for basic preventive health care is underway. As of October 4, employers may withhold birth control coverage under “religious or moral objection.”
In other words, if you hate women, you can now rightfully deny them affordable birth control. Once again another example of White Anglo Saxon Protestant men making healthcare decisions for half the population. Surely men in power didn’t think birth control was necessary because men won’t ever need the pill. Um, I hate to break it to ya buddy, but your girlfriend won’t be the only one calling you daddy if she can’t afford birth control.
Currently, according to Human Health Services, 99 percent of women, especially those in childbearing years, have used birth control at least once in their life. I know, it’s impossible to believe the majority of women are trying to take control of their lives and create more opportunities for themselves the same way men do.
As a result of Obama-era healthcare plans, minority women are able to break out of the poverty cycle, which is usually caused by unwanted pregnancies. Unfortunately, low-income women, who need birth control the most, will be most affected because many employers consider coverage too expensive (as if women could afford it any more than employers can).
On an annual basis, the pill can cost up to six hundred dollars a year and IUDs can cost up to ten thousand dollars out of pocket. For many young women on their own or college-aged women, this isn’t pocket change: It’s at least a month’s rent. Employers find a burden in covering the pill, but in reality the burden falls on the women who need it.
Women’s health care is human health care; it benefits everyone. If women cannot afford birth control, the consequence is even more of a financial burden on society and to tax dollars. I suppose men would be more supportive of birth control coverage if women stopped yammering on about how it enhances their quality of life and talked more about how it’s financially beneficial.
Alright, let me stop bashing guys for a second and discuss why birth control coverage can now be withheld under “religious or moral objection.” When Obama rolled out the new law making birth control mandatory many church institutions, who often offer medical care, were furious the government would force them to go against their pro-life conventions.
One Sunday at my Catholic church (yes, being a Catholic feminist is a whole other story on its own) the homily was an entire propaganda scheme to get everyone to sign a petition against the law and fight the government’s moral corruption. My ancient-aged priest, Father Pat, insisted the consequence is women turning down the call of God to be open to life and little miracles (insert sad baby pictures here).
After Sunday mass, as me and my strict Catholic mother were walking to the car, she protested the campaign, suggesting that modern Catholic married couples can’t afford to risk not using birth control and continued by saying every one of her Catholic friends was also under the same impression. My mother, one of eight kids, told me she loved having me and my siblings, but realistically we wouldn’t be able to have the luxuries and accommodations we have if the budget was split between more children.
Often she shares stories of hiding food from her siblings so she could eat until she was full or always being upset her parents couldn’t attend her volleyball games because they had to work so much. My little devout Catholic mother is not the only one to believe this; according to Think Progress, 98 percent of U.S. Catholic women of childbearing age have used contraception at some point while they’ve been sexually active.
Many Catholic families think similarly to my mother, but the argument is clear. Churches have the right to be upset to be forced to do something against their moral belief. As a feminist, the restrictions placed on abortion is infuriating, so I can understand their dilemma, but the reality is that many Catholic women benefit from birth control.
Unfortunately, this is no longer the case and up to twelve thousand women will lose coverage. I understand Republicans are getting back at Democrats by rolling back many Obama-era policies, but women’s health care should not be used as a tool to gain political power.
Women with lives and goals are affected. Birth control is not political or controversial; the benefits outweigh any argument. Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, tweeted thanks to birth control there is a thirty-year low in unintended pregnancies, a historic low in teen births and the lowest rate of abortions since Roe.
Frankly, those results aren’t due to Catholic teachings, it’s due to affordable birth control. I stress this argument because my mother, my friends and I benefit from birth control and I’ve seen so many suffer from not being afforded something so basic as birth control. The Trump Administration has reckoned with something as essential as this it will snowball to hurt maternity benefits and gynecology. This is why ladies (and all men) need to continue the momentum following the Women’s March and show ‘em how nasty women can be.