One of the things I have been really grateful for in the Affordable Care Act is that it allows women free access to birth control. I have utilized this since it became a thing several years ago, which was especially helpful when I was a student and didn’t have much money. Even now, as someone who has a job where I’m lucky enough to have health coverage, it’s nice to be able to feel as if my premiums are going somewhere.
However, this past Thursday, interim House Budget Chair Diane Black confirmed to reporters what many of us already suspected to be true: Once Trump successfully gets rid of the ACA, free birth control access will disappear. Black said: “That is not part of our program.”
Black went on to say that women could just get their birth control “elsewhere.” Not sure where elsewhere is. Rewire summed it up best:
“After a reporter clarified that the birth control benefit applies to insurance, not clinics, Black said that a comparable benefit isn’t on the table, quickly turning again to other facilities as the catchall solution.”
Some states have laws set in place as protections, however, which is a little reassuring–but only if you live in those states. Plus, it’s not that reassuring to know you live in a country that doesn’t value women’s access to birth control as being important enough to cover under health insurance. According to KTLA, New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, and Vermont have laws in place requiring insurers to offer cost-free birth control and medically necessary abortions.
Currently, an estimated 48.5 million woman rely on the preventative services currently protected by law–which means nearly 50 million women would be forced to pay out-of-pocket costs in the event that no substitute is offered–and that’s a lot of money, especially for women who don’t have high paying jobs that would allow them to comfortably cover the cost. It’s ironic, considering safe access to abortions has already been limited–but affordable access to birth control may be too–meaning that women are being left out in the lurch either way.