President Donald Trump’s administration is no longer acting against women subtly; instead he is attacking them blatantly, making sure he puts his hands all over reproductive rights. The Trump administration rolled back the mandate that most companies must provide free contraceptive coverage for their female employees with the Affordable Care Act.
The Obama-era mandate reversal allows employers to deny birth control because of their religious background or moral objections. Because Trump understands neither the woman body, nor the finances of the average American, the decision is obviously not made with the nation’s best interest in mind, especially not the more than 55 million women who have benefited from birth control.
The problems with this decision are nearly endless. Companies should not be permitted to deny women free contraception because of religion. Trump is showing that regulating women’s bodies is more important than separation of church and state. Under the Obama administration, churches and houses of worship were exempt from offering birth control, however this new rule would allow any company to deny it, religious or not.
Even worse is allowing the companies to cite their moral convictions as a reason to have a say in women’s reproductive decisions. According to a New York Times article on Oct. 5, the administration said “Congress has a consistent history of supporting conscience protections for moral convictions alongside protections for religious beliefs.” This decision shows American women that accessible contraceptives are morally wrong, but grabbing women by the pussy is not.
Another major flaw in the roll back is its failure to recognize that when women have more access to birth control the rate of teen pregnancies and abortions go down, according to a 2016 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Since the 1980s nearly 50 percent of U.S. pregnancies were unintended. The past few years have shown a decrease, not because of change in sexual activity, but because contraceptive use has risen. Trump should focus on more resources for women to prevent unintended pregnancy, not take them away.
The rhetoric around the birth control decision makes it seem as though being sexually active is something to be ashamed of. If having sex is something a company can morally object to, why is birth control in question and Viagra is not? At the very least birth control can prevent unintended and teen pregnancies, while Viagra allows a more pleasurable sexual experience. Of course both of them have other health benefits, and unfortunately birth control’s is obviously being ignored.