Editorial: Contraception Order Is a Step Backward


Freshman Lindsey Temaat shares her opinion on the current women’s healthcare policy.

Lindsey Temaat, Managing Editor

As a young woman in 2017 I have to say I don’t feel like my rights are fundamentally threatened on any given day. I don’t worry about discrimination in the workplace, although sometimes I’m sure I’ll encounter it. The wage gap between genders is getting smaller and smaller every day. However, there is one women’s rights issue that everyone wants to whisper about but not actually discuss: birth control.

On Oct. 12, 2017 President Donald Trump signed an executive order that allowed any employer to claim a “religious or moral objection to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement for insurance companies to provide FDA-approved contraception at no cost,” according to Politico. The original mandate was put in place by former President Barack Obama in 2012, and exempted houses of worship. However religious groups still filed lawsuits, including the famous Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision of 2014.

Planned Parenthood reported in 2015 that legal access to birth control before age 21 led to more women graduating college.

In 2012, the Green family, who owns Hobby Lobby craft stores and openly run their business based on the Christian faith, sued Kathleen Sebelius, then secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, challenging the contraception requirement. The Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 decision in June 2014 that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 a for-profit business is allowed to deny it’s employees health coverage for contraception. This idea is largely upon which Trump’s executive order is based.

Although it may be legal to deny women the right to birth control coverage, it was once legal to deny women the right to vote. Making birth control hard for young women to afford will negatively affect their education and health. Planned Parenthood reported in 2015 that legal access to birth control before age 21 led to more women graduating college. More women are pursuing careers in medicine, dentistry, and law. Today, women are the primary breadwinners of over 40% of American households with children, because they are able to plan pregnancies with birth control.

Teen pregnancy is at its lowest level in 40 years. The National Survey of Family Growth found that birth control accounts for 86% of the drop in teen pregnancies. By taking away youth access to contraceptives, child poverty rates will increase, and more young women will be forced to drop out of school.

This issue should matter to both men and women. Women save about $1.4 billion dollars on birth control pills as a result of insurance coverage. With Trump’s new healthcare plan insurance companies operating across state lines will be able to avoid ACA regulations, including mandatory maternity care coverage as well as birth control coverage. A traditional vaginal birth can cost over $30,000 without insurance, while a C-section can cost over $50,000. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have $50,000 just laying around.

We are in a time where anyone, no matter where they came from or what they look like, can follow their dreams. People come to America from all over the world just to seek out these freedoms. So why is it that we put the most restricting laws upon our mothers, sisters, and daughters? Stand up for your right to be educated and make your own choices. It’s time we stopped asking for basic healthcare coverage, and started demanding respect from our nation’s administration.