Magazine article Newsweek

Inside #ThxBirthControl: Why Some Women Fear They May Lose Access to Contraceptives under Trump; under Obamacare, Health Insurance Companies Are Mandated to Provide Free Birth Control to All Women Who Request It. but under Trump, That May Change

Magazine article Newsweek

Inside #ThxBirthControl: Why Some Women Fear They May Lose Access to Contraceptives under Trump; under Obamacare, Health Insurance Companies Are Mandated to Provide Free Birth Control to All Women Who Request It. but under Trump, That May Change

Article excerpt

Byline: Jessica Firger

Each year, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy runs a social media campaign to make people more comfortable talking about birth control. The hashtag: #ThxBirthControl.

But this year, #ThxBirthControl may have much more significance for many women. Health advocates say women should be prepared to possibly lose free access to birth control, along with other health care services, after Donald Trump settles into office in January.

Throughout his campaign, Trump vowed to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's health care law. Under Obamacare, health insurance companies are mandated to provide free contraception to all women who request it. It's unclear whether Trump will change this, though he has said he plans to uphold other provisions of the law, such as making it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

The good news, however, is that some analysts say that even if Trump does eliminate free access to birth control, it could take months, if not years, to enforce. "It is not going to be a snap-your-fingers change," Alina Salganicoff, vice president for women's health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told The New York Times. And even if the birth control mandate disappeared, she added, most insurance plans would continue to cover many contraceptive options. Before Obamacare, 28 states required health insurance companies to cover birth control, according to a 2015 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, and 85 percent of employer-provided plans offered this benefit.

The president-elect has promised to defund Planned Parenthood, which would significantly limit access to contraception. And there is speculation that women's access to contraception will narrow if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, since Trump has said he plans to nominate an anti-abortion candidate for the court's vacant position. On November 13, during an interview on 60 Minutes, Trump told Lesley Stahl that if the law is overturned, it would mean abortion regulation power would go back to the states. This wouldn't make abortion completely illegal, he said. Instead, a woman living in a place where she's unable to get the procedure could simply "go to another state."

Already, women seem worried. Planned Parenthood clinics and other women's health care providers report a surge in patients requesting intrauterine devices. …

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