President-elect Donald Trump, with the support of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, has promised that he will repeal the Affordable Care Act in his first 100 days in office. Otherwise known as Obamacare, the health care legislation stipulates that insurance plans sold in the online marketplace must provide free birth control. In response, many women who rely on that birth control are asking health care providers what their options will be if—or rather when—Obamacare is dismantled.
Dr. Anne Davis, an OB/GYN in New York, told CNN that many of her patients have come to her “with tears in their eyes.” With the funding and availability of services women depend on to prevent pregnancy in limbo, many are seeking long-term solutions that will outlast restrictive Trump-era policies. On social media, women were swift to encourage each other to get IUDs. Dr. Davis witnessed a similar reaction, with a large number of her patients calling to ask for IUDs, some of which can be effective for up to 10 years, before their coverage runs out. Without insurance, an IUD can cost between $500 and $900 dollars.
Making matters more dire, Vice President-elect Mike Pence has a notoriously draconian record when it comes to women’s health issues: he’s authored bills that would defund Planned Parenthood and signed a law banning private insurance companies from covering abortions.
In a written statement, Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called birth control “basic health care” for women. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, almost all sexually active women have used some kind of contraceptive in their life, but only seven percent use IUDs—a number that will likely rise if Trump continues to his campaign against safe, affordable birth control.
Of course, no one knows the details of Trump’s ACA-replacement plan, though earlier today Paul Ryan declared that privatizing Medicare will be part of the change. For reference, Trump has never taken a solid stance on abortion or birth control. He used to be pro-choice, but reversed that position during his campaign. Despite his alliance with Pence, he once agreed that birth control pills should be available over the counter. These contradictions are leaving women adrift as they wonder what options they’ll have after Trump is inaugurated on January 20, 2017.
To learn more about available, IUD options, Health and Human Services has provided an overview here.