The impact of listing all the uses of birth control except it’s original use is playing into respectability politics.
Trump and his administration hate women. Whether he is bragging about grabbing women’s genitals, calling for the firing of a Black sports anchor, or heckling his former rival via Twitter, Trump has shown time and again that he views women as less valuable and worthy of respect.
The Trump Administration’s most recent affront against women’s rights came in the form of a rolling back of a federal requirement that employers provide birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. This requirement was a key component of the Affordable Care Act. And as we all know, Trump is obsessed with undoing anything President Obama accomplished. The new rules allow employers exemption for religious beliefs and moral convictions.
This new regulation would cause hundreds of thousands of the 55 million women who have access to birth control without a copay to lose those benefits. This is a direct hit to women’s reproductive rights. 99 percent of women will use birth control in their lifetime. Reproductive Justice — a term coined by Black women — is the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. By limiting access to birth control, family planning becomes a larger obstacle.
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) October 6, 2017
— Dr. Dena Grayson (@DrDenaGrayson) October 7, 2017
Many well-meaning people have decried this new regulation by lauding the many other uses of birth control. It’s true; birth control is used for many different ways must folks don’t know about. Often, young girls are prescribed birth control to regulate their periods. Birth control can also lessen the severity of menstrual cramps and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). As a teenager, I took birth control to calm my cystic acne. All of these uses are important and life changing to the folks who use birth control for that reason. But birth control’s primary use — to prevent unwanted pregnancies is valid, important, and life changing too.
Some people want to have sex without getting pregnant, and that’s perfectly okay. The impact of listing all the uses of birth control except it’s original use is playing into respectability politics. The Trump Administration isn’t attempting to limit access to birth control because they think pimples build character, the purpose is to take away women’s reproductive rights.
As advocates and supporters of women and women’s bodily autonomy, it is paramount to remain firm in the support of a woman’s right to choose. The right to choose when and if to have sex. The right to choose when and if to start and family and with whom. The right to choose whether to use birth control — no matter the reason.