President Trump is all about helping women this week — or at least that’s what a Mother's Day statement from the White House kicking off Women's Health Week would have us a believe. Women’s Health Week, which runs from May 14-May 20 this year, is a state-sponsored week to drum up awareness about women’s health issues. The timing is jarring this year, considering it started just a week and a half after the House passed a White House-supported bill that would, if it became law, endanger the health of millions of American women.
"In the past hundred days, Trump touted a health care bill that cuts coverage of maternity care and permits women to be charged significantly higher insurance premiums than men for the same services," Dr. Stacey Leigh Rubin of Physicians for Reproductive Health tells Bustle. "... He chose a Secretary of Health and Human Services who believes that insurance coverage of contraception is unnecessary. He placed anti-abortion zealots in high positions at the Department of Health and Human Services, and picked someone who does not believe birth control 'works' to head the Title X family planning program."
In his statement, President Trump says: “Ensuring affordable, accessible, and quality healthcare is critical to improving women’s health and ensuring that it fits their priorities at any stage of life. In particular, women should have access to quality prenatal, maternal, and newborn care.” And while I guess I should know by now that double speak is the New Normal under the Trump administration, that statement is particularly bold-faced in light of all the ways the American Health Care Act could hurt women.
Under the proposed AHCA, insurance companies wouldn’t be required to cover maternity care, newborn care, mental health services, prescription drugs, preventive services — including contraceptives, well-woman visits, domestic violence counseling, well-baby and well-child visits, breastfeeding support, and vision screening for children — or pediatric services. Being a survivor of domestic abuse or sexual assault could be considered a “pre-existing condition” and insurance companies would again be allowed to charge people with pre-existing conditions more money, which is not allowed under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). There’s a real risk that women who have been victims of violence will not seek out care for fear of insurance premiums going up. Tell me again about how much you care about women, Mr. Trump.
However, just because this is a hypocritical move from our president doesn’t mean that we should throw the women’s health baby out with the pussy-grabbing bathwater. I’m all about celebrating Women’s Health Week, just not with BS statements that are (supposedly) from a man who’s on record bragging about groping women without their consent. So here are nine ways to actually celebrate Women’s Health Week — and maybe throw in a punch for the Resistance while you’re at it.
1Volunteer To Be An Abortion Clinic Escort
Visited Houston Women's Clinic this weekend to help escort patients. This is what they deal with: https://t.co/hhWNtwQLcJ— Austin NOW (@AustinTX_NOW) May 14, 2017
Abortion clinic escorts help women access care that they need, sometimes in incredibly difficult situations. If it’s the kind of work you think you could do, reach out to a clinic in your area and see if they need more escorts. You’ll be helping women access health care in the most direct way possible, short of being a doctor yourself.
2Let Your Senator Know How You Feel About The AHCA
While the House has passed their version of the health care bill, the Senate has not. Now is the time to let your senators know how you feel about the American Health Care Act. Here’s contact info for every senator.
3Bring Coffee To Abortion Clinic Escorts
One of the best parts of being a volunteer escort at an abortion clinic is when angry impotent men call you "baby-killer" for two hours.— Adam K 🌹 (@atom_cable) April 6, 2017
Even if you don’t think you’d be great as an abortion clinic escort yourself, clinic escort Lauren Rankin tells Bustle that something as small as bringing coffee to escorts on a Saturday morning can be really significant. Grab a couple cups from your local coffee shop and go and fortify these frontline fighters in the battle for reproductive rights.
4Donate To Planned Parenthood
Under the AHCA, patients with Medicaid would no longer be able to use their insurance at Planned Parenthood. (That’s what it really means when we hear that Planned Parenthood is going to be “defunded.”) It would be a massive blow and would impede their ability to serve the 2.5 million people who come to them every year. So make a donation. Consider making a recurring donation. Every dollar counts right now as this institution battles for its life.
5Donate To A Smaller Fund
And while Planned Parenthood is awesome, I’d also like to recommend making a donation to smaller fund. Seek out organizations in your area that might not have the backing and support of a massive organization like Planned Parenthood and send your money their way. Search for abortion funds and women’s health clinics and you’ll definitely turn something up.
6Talk To Your Friends About Birth Control
Before the ACA, insurers could charge women more just for being women & they didn’t all have to cover birth control or maternity care.— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) May 16, 2017
One benefit of the Affordable Care Act has been no co-pay birth control. However, since the election last year, there has been a spike in the number of women getting IUDs, due to fear that this administration and the Republican-controlled House and Senate will repeal the ACA and take away that benefit.
So talk to your friends about birth control! Talk about what you use, what they use, and what the options are. There are so many options for birth control these days, so secure yours in case your insurance changes in the next few months.
7Schedule A Well-Woman Visit
A well-woman visit covers everything, from your blood pressure to a gynecological exam to detecting early signs of heart disease. Under the Affordable Care Act, well-women visits are covered because they’re preventive care. That means you shouldn’t have to pay a co-pay or meet your deductible for one visit per year.
So that's how you can actually celebrate Women’s Health Week, because if nothing else, this week is a reminder to keep fighting for our rights.