Planned Parenthood's "Fight 4 Birth Control" Campaign Is Standing Up To The White House
In the past few months alone, Republicans in Washington have proposed plans to ban abortion at 20 weeks and at six weeks, plans to make pregnancy a preexisting condition, and plans to end requirements that insurers cover maternity and newborn care. Earlier this month, the Trump administration effectively made it easier for employers to refuse employees' birth control coverage. While the paradox of the government limiting both access to safe abortions and affordable birth control can make the future of reproductive rights seem bleak, there are immediate actions you can take to help protect birth control coverage.
"Since day one, this administration has been attacking women’s health and rights, and now they’re putting decades of progress for women in their crosshairs," Dawn Laguens, executive vice president for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, says in a statement provided to Bustle. "This administration poses the biggest threat to birth control since it became legal more than 50 years ago."
If you're confused about the new birth control guidelines, here's the gist: Under the Obama administration, religious entities were exempt from covering birth control for employees, and nonprofit religious entities could opt out if they still paid for coverage through a third-party insurer. The Supreme Court then granted the same exemption to closely held for-profit corporations. But now, the Trump administration allows any employer with religious or moral objections to refuse birth control coverage, explaining that expanded exemptions are necessary to address every grievance.
Considering the fact that more than half of American women have health insurance through either their or their spouse's employer, millions of women could once again have to pay out of pocket for all forms of birth control. To prevent just that, Planned Parenthood launched a #Fight4BirthControl campaign aimed at encouraging employers to continue offering birth control coverage when the time comes to renew insurance plans in January. But even if you don't own a business, there are ways to get involved.
Share Your Story
Planned Parenthood is calling on everyone to use the #Fight4BirthControl hashtag to tell the world (and President Trump) how birth control has impacted their life and why they want women to have access.
Jennie Wetter, director of public policy at the Population Institute, tells Bustle why she wants to #Fight4BirthControl.
"Access to affordable birth control gives women the ability to control their lives by allowing them to decide if and when to become pregnant," she says, noting that the unintended pregnancy rate is currently the lowest its been in 30 years. Making birth control less affordable, however, will inevitably force the numbers in the other direction.
Wetter adds: "The Trump administration's attacks on birth control will put affordable contraception out of reach for many women, particularly low-income women. We can't allow this administration to turn back the clock on women's rights. It’s time to speak out."
Along with #Fight4BirthControl, you can post #BusinessForBC to pressure companies to keep birth control coverage in their health plans. Few things are easier than posting a quick tweet or Facebook status, right?
Sign The Petition
Planned Parenthood started a petition to tell President Trump: "We Demand Birth Control For All." The online petition reads, "Millions of people rely on birth control in order to live independent, healthy lives and to plan their families. Your attacks on this essential care are unacceptable. Our birth control, our decision. Period."
Contact The Department of Health and Human Services
You can also tell the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that you oppose its new regulations and ask the agency to rescind them.
Organize On Your Campus
As part of the campaign, Planned Parenthood Generation Action student chapters will work to ensure university health plans continue covering birth control. If you're apart of another college women's group, join in and put pressure on your school officials to protect access to women's health care.
Talk To Your Employer
Planned Parenthood put together a handy toolkit to help women talk to their employers and coworkers about the need for birth control coverage. The first step is to ask whether or not your company plans to keep its coverage intact. If your boss or HR department isn't sure or flat out says "no," it's important to understand why so you can address their specific concerns. And Planned Parenthood is available to offer tips if you get stuck or need specific advice.
"The only way to prevent women from going backwards in this country," Laguens says, "is for everyone who believes in women’s equality — from business leaders to artists to activists — to stand in the gap and join this fight. There’s no scenario where our country progresses while leaving half the population behind."