What the Planned Parenthood Vote Means for Your Access to Birth Control
Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act would also strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding. For women across the country, that means their affordable access to healthcare is in jeopardy—birth control, cancer and STD screenings, and sex education make up the vast majority of the organization's services. And even if you don't get your birth control through Planned Parenthood, note that if the bill passes, it may no longer be free.
Women in particular must worry whether the daily reproductive choices we make for ourselves are at risk. And it's not melodramatic: The upcoming administration has promised a number of things that could completely alter our access to birth control, affordable reproductive care and screenings, and the very ability to take sole ownership over our bodies.
How it will all play out is anyone's guess, but let's be clear that the odds don't look any better than they did immediately after the election. Get mad, but get proactive too. Here's what you need to know.
You'll probably have to start paying for your birth control.
Under the Affordable Care Act, birth control is free—even for those insured under private companies. Repealing Obamacare (as it's widely known) would, in effect, force women to pay out-of-pocket for their birth control again.
While clinics like Planned Parenthood would theoretically offer low-cost options, that's a worry too—the upcoming administration is adamant about defunding the organization, which could spell uncertainty.
So what to do now?
Now might be the time to get an IUD.
Women everywhere agree and are putting out the call.
Get your IUD. If you have light periods, opt for a Paragard, which can last 10-12 years. Get your birth control that will outlast Trump.— grimalkin (@grimalkinrn) November 9, 2016
GET AN IUD TOMORROW— Erin Gloria Ryan (@morninggloria) November 9, 2016
Here's why: An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a more permanent version of birth control—after it's implanted in your uterus (in a very simple in-office procedure), it offers a steady stream of birth control hormones for several years. There's also a nonhormonal version called the Paragard, or copper, which can last up to 10 to 12 years—enough to well outlast an eight-year presidential term. Should you wish to get pregnant, your IUD can be removed at any time.
That's why women everywhere are heeding the call to get one now while it's covered by insurance so that they don't have to worry about paying for or having access to birth control at all during a Trump presidency.
Weigh your options with your doctor, and note that when choosing an IUD, it can be helpful to learn from other women's experiences. (We have a few personal IUD accounts.) Even if you're not sure that an IUD is your best course of action, let this movement inspire you to make a game plan of your own. Inauguration Day is fast approaching.
Don't want an IUD? Here's what else you can do.
For starters, you may want to begin researching how much different methods of birth control cost when they're not under the umbrella of the Affordable Care Act so you can make the most informed decision for your budget and lifestyle. Planned Parenthood's website is a great resource for this: Its birth control hub features an exhaustive list of options, detailing maximum potential cost, effectiveness, directions for use, and pros and cons for each method. If you'd rather opt for the pill, you can use sites like GoodRx and WeRx to locate the cheapest prescriptions in your area.
Also remember that if you're in a relationship and don't need to take hormonal birth control for health reasons, this doesn't have to be just your burden. While we're still waiting for that male birth control injection to be cleared, there are countless other options for your partner to consider. On that note—above all else—remember that you're not alone. Chances are that women in your personal circle and broader community are just as scared and uncertain as you are. Worse yet, they might not even realize what's at stake. Talk it out, spread the word, and let's work through this together.
This post was originally published on November 10, 2016.
If you don't have an ob-gyn, you can get low-cost access to birth control (including an IUD) at your local Planned Parenthood. Visit the organization's free app to find a location near you.