"Hands Off My Birth Control" On Twitter Is How Women Are Fighting Back
The Trump administration announced Friday it was narrowing the scope of an Obama-era mandate requiring employer-provided health insurance policies to include access to free birth control in a move that could impact many women's access to affordable contraception. Under new rules rolled out by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Trump administration expanded exemptions, enabling employers to refuse to cover birth control by citing religious or moral objections. News of the new rules have outraged women and women's rights advocates, many of whom took to Twitter on Friday to demand the Trump administration keep its hands off birth control.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nonprofits, private businesses, and publicly traded companies will now be able cite religious or moral objections to providing contraceptives, which will get them out of offering them at no cost to employees in employer-provided insurance policies. Previously, under the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration required employer-provided health insurance policies to cover at least one form of contraception in each of the 18 categories of birth control identified by the Food and Drug Administration to women at no cost.
Those categories included sterilization surgery, surgical sterilization implants, implantable rods, copper IUDs, IUDs with progestin, the shot or injection, the patch, the ring, diaphragms, sponges, cervical caps, spermicide, female condoms, extended or continuous use oral contraceptives, and emergency contraception such as Plan B, Plan B One-Step, and Ella.
The new rule could jeopardize hundreds of thousands of women's access to no-cost birth control despite claims by Health and Human Services officials that "99.9 percent of women" will not have their access cut.
Here are how several people are telling the Trump administration to keep its #HandsOffMyBC:
1. Birth Control Isn't Just A Woman's Issue, It's A Family Issue
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Communications Manager Gabriel Mann pointed out that the high cost of birth control can also impact couples and families living within a budget.
2. It's About Access To Basic Care
As Twitter user Allison Phipps noted, many women use birth control for medical reasons, such as treating or preventing endometriosis.
3. My Body, My Choice
As a rape victim and from a low income family, if I didn't have an IUD I would've had another baby from that monster. #HandsOffMyBC— momo (@momoxhan) October 6, 2017
Some Twitter users spoke about how their access to birth control had saved them from unimaginable situations.
4. Regulation Priorities
So..the government needs to regulate my uterus to preserve so-called religious liberties, but not firearms to preserve my life?#HandsOffMyBC— Dana Warnke (@DanaWarnke) October 6, 2017
One Twitter user questioned whether to government had its priorities straight.
5. There Will Be Consequences
The ONLY thing that has EVER reduced abortion rates is effective, affordable and easily accessible birth control. #HandsOffMyBC— SeeMoore (@M_llyWeasley) October 6, 2017
Another Twitter user noted that easy access to affordable and effective contraception was a key method for reducing abortion rates.
6. I Take Birth Control To Regulate My Period
As a teenager who was diagnosed with PCOS, I take birth control to regulate my period. NOT to prevent pregnancy. #HandsOffMyBC— vampira ⚰️🥀 (@SaraWichterich) October 6, 2017
For some women, birth control is about more than just protecting against unwanted pregnancies. It's also a means of regulating their periods.
7. Are We Living The Prequel To The Handmaid's Tale?
One Twitter user likened the recent actions of Republican legislators and the Trump administration to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.
8. Women In New York Will Continue To Have Cost-Free Access
Whatever happens at the federal level, women in New York will continue to have cost-free access to reproductive health care. #HandsOffMyBC— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) October 6, 2017
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed to protect women's access to cost-free reproductive health care in his state no matter what happened at the federal level.
9. Hospitalized With Heavy Periods
One incensed Twitter user shared her experience with needing birth control to help regulate her period, which was so heavy she was hospitalized as a preteen.
10. Birth Control Can Cost Up To $1,000
Birth control can cost up to $1,000+ out-of-pocket. Trump’s new rule will hit low-income women & women of color the hardest. #HandsOffMyBC— NARAL (@NARAL) October 6, 2017
NARAL Pro-Choice America tweeted about how high the out-of-pocket cost of birth control can be for low-income women.
11. The Freedom To Live And Plan Our Lives With Dignity
We all deserve to have the freedom to live and plan our lives with dignity. #HandsOffMyBC— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) October 6, 2017
The Human Rights Campaign showed their support for no-cost birth control, noting that "we all deserve to have the freedom to live and plan our lives with dignity" in a tweet published Friday.
12. Is Birth Control A Luxury Item?
Trump administration wants us to pay for their private jets, but thinks birth control is a luxury. #HandsOffMyBC— 🗽DC Debbie 🗽 (@DCdebbie) October 6, 2017
One Twitter user pointed out how ludicrous it seemed that the president and other government officials' travel could be covered by taxpayers but birth control was the problem.
13. That Friday Feeling
When your Friday feeling is outrage and disgust over Republican's efforts to roll back women's bodily autonomy.
14. Moving Down A Slippery Slope
It's a slippery slope, giving employers rights to deny healthcare.— Alexandra Nugent (@AlexandraNugeWI) October 6, 2017
What if they deny high bp meds/cancer screen bc "beliefs"? #handsoffmyBC
For Twitter user Alexandra Nugent, the Trump administration's new rules seemed to be the beginning of a slippery slope. If employers can deny one health care service, would they soon move to deny others?
15. Women's Rights Are Human Rights
The right to decide what you do with your body should not be limited by how much you earn. women's rights are human rights #handsoffmyBC— Melissa (@MelBellAtl) October 6, 2017
What you do in regards to your body and reproductive health shouldn't depend on how large your paycheck is, one Twitter user argued.
16. Viagra Doesn't Save Lives
Women die every year from Ovarian cancer. PCOS is a precursor to this & treated with birth control. Viagra doesn’t save lives. #HandsOffMyBC— Chloë 🐇 (@chloe_usagi) October 6, 2017
One Twitter user pointed out the importance of birth control for treating things like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which can lead to Ovarian cancer.
17. Everyone Deserves Access
Everyone, no matter where they work or go to school, deserves to access the birth control method that works best for them. #HandsOffMyBC— Megan Evans (@MeganEvansMD) October 6, 2017
Every woman deserves to have access to a birth control method that works for their body and life, one Twitter user argued under the hashtag.
18. I Choose What I Put In My Body
Pills, IUDs and babies: what I put in my body is my choice.#HandsOffMyBC— Septima Maxime (@SeptMaxime) October 6, 2017
As one Twitter user noted, it's women who should get to decide what goes into their bodies, and they shouldn't have to jump through hoops for their health care.
19. Get That Degree
One Twitter user found a special kind of inspiration in the #HandsOffMyBC hashtag.
20. Let Me At 'Em
Where do I sign up to fight every single person who voted to take control of our bodies away from women? #HandsOffMyBC— S. Nicole Jarvis (@nicolejarvis) October 6, 2017
The Trump administration's decision to roll back the Obamacare birth control mandate had some Twitter users angry at those who'd voted for the lawmakers standing behind such policies.
21. Leave Me Alone
Some questioned why one person's religious liberty felt a bit like another person's discrimination.
22. Reducing Access To Birth Control Is A Health Risk
Women, myself included, take BC for lots of reasons. Mine cured my migraines. Taking away BC is a health risk. #handsoffmyBC— Emily Conklin (@emzconk) October 6, 2017
Given the variety of reasons women seek out birth control, reducing access to affordable contraception could very well be seen as putting women's health at risk.
23. Does This Government Care About Women?
it's really hard to look at all these healthcare changes and still be expected to believe that this govt cares about women #HandsOffMyBC— Lauren Montana (@laurenmontanaa) October 6, 2017
All signs point to no.
24. I Feel Like We've Said This Before
Twitter user Sam Sandmire used the hashtag to share a picture of herself advocating for access to free contraception and Planned Parenthood.
25. Who'll Maintain Access To Birth Control
Is FLOTUS on birth control? Is it covered by her insurance?
26. You May Be On To Something There
I'm beginning to think the GOP doesn't really like women.😾— MamaBlue (@Miamiblues) October 6, 2017
Critics of the Trump administration's decision to roll back the Obamacare contraception mandate have characterized the move as discrimination against women.
27. If POTUS Cared About The Constitution...
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi accused President Donald Trump of trampling "on a woman's right to health care."
28. There's A Reason For Chicago's Low Teen Birth Rate
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also criticized the Trump administration's decision to open the door for employers to reduce access to birth control, saying that "rolling back birth control coverage hurts everyone."
29. Why Is This Still Up For Debate?
Birth control is not health care alone. It's the right of women to control their bodies, plan their families, chart their futures. For many women, it is prohibitively expensive to access the best method for them. It is beyond belief that this is still up for debate. #HandsOffMyBC— Jan Schakowsky (@janschakowsky) October 6, 2017
Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky questioned by access to affordable birth control was still an issue up for debate given its significance in women's rights.
In opening the door for more employers to cite religious beliefs as justification for removing contraception coverage from their health insurance policies, the Trump administration could potentially place birth control out of reach for hundreds of thousands of women who may have struggled to afford it prior to the Obamacare mandate.